I had the true pleasure of watching a fabulous film last week called “Sherpas, the True Heroes of Mt. Everest”. The film was sponsored by Reel Causes (http://reelcauses.org) in affiliation with the VIFF VanCity Theatre.
“For the first time, a Himalayan expedition is shown not from the perspective of the Western mountaineers, but from the ever-smiling Sherpas who make their adrenaline adventure possible in the first place.” It was Best Film at the Kathmandu International Mountain Film Festival in 2009!
With the opening credits, the familiar sound of Sherpa music and tinkle of yak bells – synonymous with the Himalaya trails, I was immediately transposed back to Nepal with an incredible yearning to once again be amongst the mountains and sherpa people.
The story is extremely well done and gives the viewers the perspective from the hard working Sherpa people accompanying expeditions on to the highest on earth, Mt. Everest. The Sherpa people are a respectful, spiritual, humble people and work tirelessly to ensure that their ‘guests’ feel welcome. They tell their story of the dangers being the first up the treacherous Khumbu Ice Falls, the heavy loads and countless trips up and down to the upper camps. They work long hours and feel the effects of altitude as much as the clients, however they are careful not to show it as this means they may not be hired for future expeditions.
And the ultimate finale of the evening was when the theatre was connected by Skype to Director Hari Thapa, one of the producers, in Kathmandu. Amongst the waves, smiles and hellos the audience was given the opportunity to ask Mr. Thapa anything regarding the making of the film. The question that intrigued me the most was ‘what was the most challenging during the making of the film?’. Mr. Thapa’s answer was getting the buy in from the Sherpa. They were worried that if the clients and the ‘Western World’ were to hear of their hardships they would not be hired in the coming years.
I have such a huge respect for the Sherpa and their way of life and I am so pleased to see them receiving the recognition that they deserve. They truly are heroes as without them, 90% of climbers would never hope to reach their dream of the top.
The showing of this film was a benefit for TRAS – Trans Himalayan Aid Society “Supporting the health and education of children and youth in northern India, Nepal and Tibet since 1962.” http://tras.ca