Published: May 2003
Learn More
In Learn More the National Geographic magazine team shares some of its best sources and other information to expand your knowledge of our featured subjects. Special thanks to the Research Division.
By Christy Ullrich and Abby Tipton, National Geographic Staff

Did You Know?

In many cultures people share common names, but Sherpas have exceptionally similar names. That's because many are named after the day of the week on which they are born. So if you're a Sherpa born on a Sunday you might be called Nima, while Monday would be Dawa, Tuesday Mingma, Wednesday Lhakpa, Thursday Phurba, Friday Pasang, and Saturday Pemba.

The name of the first female Sherpa to summit Mount Everest, Pasang Lhamu, translates as Friday goddess, since Pasang's weekday name means Friday, and Lhamu breaks down to Lha, or god, and mu, the female ending.

Related Links

American Himalayan Foundation
Learn more about this nonprofit organization that provides vital education, health care, cultural, and environmental preservation services in the Himalayan region.

The Sherpas
This site contains a wealth of information on Sherpa history, religion, and culture as well as links to articles and organizations of interest to those studying Sherpa society.

Nepal News
Want to keep track of recent developments in the peace negotiations between the Nepalese government and the Maoist rebels? This online news service posts the latest news from Nepal.

Tengboche Monastery
Learn about the Sherpas' religious life through information posted on this site by the Tengboche Monastery Development Project.

Trekking Nepal
Read a first-person account of a 16-day trek through Nepal.


James K. Fisher. Sherpas: Reflections on Change in Himalayan Nepal. University of California Press, 1990.

Harding, Luke. "At the Top of the World," The Observer, May 12, 2002.

Keiser, Anne, and Cynthia Russ Ramsey. Sir Edmund Hillary & The People of Everest. Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2002.

Linter, Bertil. "Nepal's Maoists Prepare for Final Offensive," Asia Pacific Media Service, October 2002.

Ortner, Sherry B. Life and Death on Mt. Everest. Princeton University Press, 1999.

Ortner, Sherry B. Sherpas Through Their Rituals. Cambridge University Press, 1978.

Stevens, Stanley F. Claiming the High Ground. University of California Press, 1993.

NGS Resources

St. Jacques, Jacqueline. "School Days on Mt. Everest," National Geographic Explorer! (March 2003), 4-8.

"Everest 1963: How We Climbed Everest," (2000)

Carrier, Jim. "Gatekeepers of the Himalaya," National Geographic (December 1992), 70-89.

Payne, Melvin M. "American and Geographic Flags Top Everest," National Geographic (August 1963), 157.

Hillary, Sir Edmund. "We Build a School for Sherpa Children," National Geographic (October 1962), 548-551.