Sherpas rebuild Norway paths

Nepalese Sherpas were recruited for their skill at high-altitude work

Photo: Andreas Gruhle / Much of the new trail to Norway’s iconic Pulpit Rock was built by Sherpas.

Photo: Andreas Gruhle /
Much of the new trail to Norway’s iconic Pulpit Rock was built by Sherpas.

The Local

A group of Sherpas have spent several years reconstructing Norway’s crumbling mountain paths after being recruited for their endurance and skill at high-altitude work as well as ability to carry heavy loads.

Sherpas first began working in Norway in 2000 and have built paths and stairways in over 100 different Norwegian locations. Much of their work has been filmed by a documentary team from national broadcaster NRK, who interviewed a number of the Nepalese mountaineers.

Sherpas come from a small area of the Himalayan mountain range near Mount Everest—and traditionally from a specific village—and live their entire lives at high altitude, training from an early age the ability to lift and carry heavy objects on their backs.

“It is important to use the correct technique when lifting something so heavy,” Nima Sherpa told the film crew, who recorded footage of the Sherpas lifting heavy stone slabs as part of the mountain fairway-building process.

It is hoped that the work carried out by the Sherpas will also be of benefit for their native Nepal.

“The film sets out to show the trails seen by the Sherpas in Norway,” filmmaker Jannicke Farstad told NRK. “I’m not sure people realize how much they’ve contributed to the country.

“We also wanted to find out what it means for Nepal that the Sherpas come here to work.”

Farstad told NRK that she had personally witnessed the effects of the Sherpas’ Norwegian wages in Nepal, particularly after the April 2015 earthquake in which over 8,000 lives were lost.

But it is not just the potential for earning a wage several times larger than would be earned at home, according to the Sherpas themselves, who spend between seven months and a year working on the Norwegian paths.

“Money comes and goes. The things we have learnt in Norway will be with us for the rest of our lives. I feel like we are creating history. One day, my grandchildren will be able to come to Norway and see what we have built,” Nima Sherpa told NRK.

This article was originally published on The Local.

It also appeared in the Jan. 22, 2016, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly.

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