Hey sherpa! It’s been really rad hangin’ with you and the other porters these past couple of months. I know we haven’t talked much, what with the language barrier and me always listening to my AirPods during important base camp meetings, but I wanted to give you some feedback in order to improve everyone’s experience.
So listen up, here’s what you—a humble, highly-skilled Nepalese sherpa—can learn from me—a rich, inexperienced Western thrill-seeker—about climbing this mountain.
I heard some rumors that the locals were a bit jealous that me and the other Westerners paid $100K to cross this adventure off our bucket lists. Not true. After the exchange rate, it was closer to $125K. If you’re going to talk about us behind our back, please get the facts straight.
You raised some concerns that a lot of us have zero climbing experience which might put your lives at risk. Just so you know, I watched a bunch of climbing videos as well as half of the Jake Gyllenhaal movie Everest on my tablet during the flight over here, so there’s nothing to worry about.
Lift with Your Legs
I notice you bend with your back when you carry all my stuff. Do you know how expensive my Patagonia gear and that portable pizza oven I needed to bring was? Please, always lift with your lower body.
Embrace them. Nothing says bad karma like a sherpa who doesn’t appreciate a good prank. Everybody but you laughed when I thought it would be funny to randomly scream “Avalanche!” every so often. I was just trying to keep things light. It wouldn’t kill you to have some fun.
You need to communicate more clearly about what you want us to do with all the waste. I know we leave a lot of garbage behind, but it’s all essential stuff like our skids of Dr. Pepper and Costco-sized bags of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos that our bodies require as fuel. We thought tossing it off the mountain was the right thing to do but, by the look you gave me, maybe it wasn’t?
I know you were bummed that a few members of your team got buried this afternoon while traversing the Khumbu Icefall, after my earlier prank included an airhorn that caused a real avalanche, but there’s no reason to be pouty. We eventually dug everyone out safely, so try to turn that frown upside down. Nobody appreciates a buzz kill.
I know you think it’s unfair that the Western guides get paid $50K while local guides only make $2-5K per season, but look on the bright side: that’s still ten times what the average person in your village makes. Imagine all the prayer wheels you could buy! A few more thank-yous would go a long way. Spoiler alert: us rich folk love praise.
You know how hard it is to write this letter right now while you’re carrying me on your back through the Death Zone, when you keep tripping over things? Every time I get into a flow, you knock into the side of the mountain or lose your footing. I told you I have altitude sickness, so please be more mindful. But most importantly, enjoy the moment because I can see the summit!
I heard it would get busy up here, but that traffic jam was ridiculous. There are so many annoying tourists up here! Perhaps in the future, we can work out some kind of VIP express lane that gets wealthier people up faster? I’ve got a newly monogrammed flag burning a hole in my knapsack that needs to be planted ASAP, and that cue almost killed my vibe.
Remember what I was saying about the importance of pranks? Well, I don’t exactly have altitude sickness like I said I did. I just wanted to spend more time taking in the spectacular scenery while perched on your back like a proud eagle, and the view from up here is much more epic.
Whoa, there’s only a few more steps before I reach the peak, I can’t believe I did it! And it was way easier than everyone said it would be. I’m king of this stupid mountain!
Quick, hand me a Dr. Pepper.