Friday, August 3, 2012

Sherpa is a misnomer in the Triathlon World. "GSG-Fun Fact Friday."

Sherpa is a misnomer in the Triathlon World!!!   “GSG--Fun Fact Friday.”

In the “tri” world, we often use the word “sherpa” colloquially, to denote a person or a group of people, who in some shape or form, physically help out the person participating in a triathlon, prior to and after the event. Those helping the triathlete, usually carry their bags, gear, bike, and related equipment to the race, hold onto some articles during the race and help them schlep the exhausted triathlete’s stuff back to their vehicle or accommodation after the grueling race.  That’s what “sherpas” do when we watch them carrying mountain climber’s gear when they scale Mt. Everest in those National Geographic or Discovery Channel movies, right?  
(Above:Ironman Coeur d'Alene, Idaho----Katie, Erica, Liz and me, Shiggy!!)

(Above: The 4 Ironman-to-be triathletes, along with Patti Paul our wonderful "sherpa.") 
(When we did Ironman Coeur d’Alene in 2010, my roommates (Katie Kelly, Liz Bell and Erica Coady) were so incredibly lucky to have Patti Paul as our wonderful, so called “sherpa.”) 

Today I was speaking with my friend Heather Krug at an LA Triathlon Club’s “1st Thursday.” First Thursday (FT) is a monthly get together for triathletes, old and new, to chat, hang out, exchange war stories, win prizes, flirt, wear non-spandex clothes and possibly get a date!!!!

Heather was telling me that at the end of the year (December 20th) she was going to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro (19,000 plus feet.)  Heather, along with her friend, and co-climber Robyn, were telling me some incredible details about their upcoming climb.   They hired a very experienced guide (he climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro 14 times,) and will also have a personal chef, and a couple of porters.  
I asked Heather if she had any “sherpas” going with her to take the 7 days worth of climbing and camping equipment up and down the mountain. Heather told me that they were called “porters” and that the word “sherpa,” that has become synonymous for people who carry gear and such up mountains, is actually a misnomer, because “Sherpa” with a capital “S” is, an ethnic group. I did some research and to reaffirm what she said, Wikipedia states that Sherpa is “an ethnic group from the most mountainous region of Nepal, high in the Himalayas.” (Sherpa is Tibetan for eastern  people.  Shar = east + pa = people.)

So, today's takeaway is that Sherpa = Ethnic group!!!

YAY!!! I loooooove learning new things. 

So that’s an interesting fact for “GSG---Fun Fact Friday!!!” 
p.s. I’m still looking for a “sherpa” to help me with my stuff for the 2013 Ironman Lake Tahoe.  Please apply for the desirable position:

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