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23 April 2015

Sherpa’s best buddy

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My Everest expedition it’s not only hiking and climbing but also discovering new places and meeting new people.

During my expedition to Everest I met a lot local and tourists, some old friends that I met on my previous trips, incredibly friendly Sherpas in each lodge, but also animals. Big shaggy sort of cows… The most popular animal in the Himalayas are Yaks.

Yak is like a big cow but with thick fur. They also have more red blood cells and much bigger lungs and that is why they can adapt to the rough climate easier, especially in the mountains where the altitude is very high. They are Sherpas’ best friends and the main messengers of the provisions and climbers’ equipment. They respond to their owners commands like our dogs at home – they are well trained and they can walk long distances. Yaks can carry up to hundred kilograms of cargo over precarious trails and snow-filled passes, and that is why long yak caravans are a common sight in the Himalayas. They also curry my stuff.

As I said yaks in Nepal are an indispensable part of the daily life. Sherpas use yaks’ milk, they make blankets from the fur, etc. but what you may not know is the fact that they also use yaks’ dung. It’s actually a very important material in the high mountains.

Here’s why: yaks’ dung is collected by local people and then used it to start the fire. But first it must be dry – so they stick the fresh dung all over the place – on the stone wall, bigger flat stones, etc. always facing the Sun so it can get dried properly. Since there are no trees in this area, dry dungs are the only source of natural combustible.

 

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