Thus far we’ve read books written by Westerners about adventures in extreme places. Thus far we have questioned these peoples’ motives for climbing - psychoneurosis, “because it’s there,” relative economic security, the desire to push oneself / self-discovery, to change one’s life, or simply because one is very good at climbing, enjoys it, and has found a way to make some money by it (ex. Fischer and Hall). But thus far, we have not seen the truly more rational perspective to climbing in dangerous, high places: economic security. The Sherpas who climb are considered a form of celebrity in their communities, and those who climb higher, faster, with less help, gain more fame. But for them, this is important not for their egos but for their families’ well being. Climbing pays well, and making a name in the climbing world allows a Sherpa to get even better pay, more business. Money can’t buy everything, but it can buy a significantly better life in those countries.
thing I found most interesting about this narrative, though, is not
that Sherpas climb for money and still think it’s very dangerous and
kind of crazy. Jambling climbed because he liked it, because it was the
family business, but primarily, I think, because it was a way to know
his father intimately. Jambling wasn’t just searching for celebrity and a
paycheck - he was seeking knowledge first. I think this is the noblest
of motives we’ve seen yet. I’m also struck by Jambling’s humility in his
telling of the story - he rarely speaks more than in passing of the
tasks he had to accomplish in terms of coordinating Sherpas and porters,
cooking for and taking care of the sahibs, and carrying many heavy
loads back and forth. Although he mentions these hardships, he never
complains about bearing them, understanding climbing as a job and not a
vacation. I look forward to finishing the book and finding out what
Jambling discovered about himself, his father, and the world.