Shame on me for ever thinking I’ve been tough and rugged. I’ve been schooled by a culture of men that are half my weight and height, who posses tenfold my power.
Porters are mostly made up of Nepalese decent, and are typically in a separate caste than the Sherpa. Porters make a living of roughly $750 USD a year carrying everything from raw meat to refrigerators on their backs, up the worlds tallest mountains. They get paid by the kilo, and therefore load up their baskets to maximum capacity. Porters typically weigh 100 lbs, and carry loads as heavy as 220 pounds. They carry these supplies from 10,000ft, sometimes all they way to 18,000ft, over the course of six days, walking 10hrs a day.
Occasionally porters will have the opportunity to carry a load back down the mountain, but often times only have the chance to make a living carrying supplies one way on their missions. Each night they sleep huddled around small fires burning in freezing temperatures. The only personal supplies they bring with them are the clothes on their backs. They don’t have the dirtiest, or the gnarliest jobs on the planet, but they are one of the toughest cultures I’ve ever interacted with.
While we were there, one porter fell off the trail and died. We watched as a helicopter carried his body to Kathmandu from Namche.