Author: Sherry B Ortner
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN/UPC (if available): 0195658957
A powerful and dramatic portrayal of a century of cultural encounters, this book is for climbers and for general readers fascinated by one of the world's most breathtaking regions.
When two Sherpas become the victims of an attempt to scale Mt. Everest, the French members of the expedition simply roll their bodies off the mountain face. One body crashes to a stop near Sherpas on a separate expedition far below. An American climber, observing their stunned silence, interprets what they might be thinking - nobody would dare throw the bodies of dead white climbers off Mt. Everest.
Drawing on years of field research, Ornery presents a compelling account of both the evolving relationship of mutual dependence as well as the cultural conflict between climbers and Sherpas as it is played out in an environment of mortal risk. Gripping accounts of expeditions, often in the climbers' own words - including those of Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay - reveal how the behavior of mountaineers towards Sherpas has ranged from kindness to cruelty, from cultural sensitivity to prejudiced derision. A powerful and dramatic portrayal of a century of cultural encounters, this book is for climbers and for general readers fascinated by one of the world's most breathtaking regions.
COMMENTS / REVIEWS
A stunning book, a probing ethnography of the strange, unequal relationship between the 'Sahibs' and Sherpas, a suggestive social history of the contemporary leisure class, and a powerful, often painful meditation on the cult and culture of high risk mountaineering.
- Stephen Greenblatt, Harvard University.
Weaving anthropology with mountaineering history, there is little about the life of the community that the author does not study and illuminate.
- India Today
Ortner's abiding contribution is to delineate, among other aspects copiously set out in an authoritative work, how the Sherpas shaped Himalayan mountaineering as much as it shaped them.
- The Indian Express.
List of Illustrations
Note of the Reader
CHAPTER 1. Beginning
CHAPTER 2. Sahibs
CHAPTER 3. Sherpas
CHAPTER 4, Monks
CHAPTER 5. Death
CHAPTER 6. Men
CHAPTER 7. Counterculture
CHAPTER 8. Women
CHAPTER 9. Reconfigurations
CHAPTER 10. Epilogues
Appendix A - Tales
Appendix B - Monasteries