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Gaiety of Spirit – The Sherpas of Everest

Gaiety of Spirit – The Sherpas of Everest

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Gaiety of Spirit is an exploration… of a culture and a people.

Sherpas have earned an extraordinary reputation on mountaineering expeditions. But, the Sherpas are actually an ethnic people who practise the rich traditions and culture of Himalayan Buddhism.

Over the past three decades, Frances Klatzel has helped to create two museums of Sherpa culture – describing their culture, traditions, and symbols.

The Sherpas… Everest… Mountaineering…

Sherpas cultural heritage as an ethnic people is rarely described. Eric Shipton wrote of the Sherpas:

…the temperament and character of the Sherpas… have won them a large place in the hearts of the Western travelers. Their most enduring characteristic is their extraordinary gaiety of spirit

Sherpas are an ethnic people who settled remote valleys in the Himalaya about 500 years ago and practise the rich traditions and culture of Himalayan Buddhism.

Gaiety of Spirit is a story of exploration… of a culture and a people. For years, I lived and worked with Sherpas near Mount Everest, helping to create a museum of Sherpa culture at Tengboche monastery. Sherpa friends gently led me to a richer level of understanding of their culture, traditions, and symbols. It describes the culture of the Sherpas as I experienced it for seven years at the monastery and over the past three decades.


About the Author

Frances Klatzel is at home in the Canadian Rockies and the Himalaya. She initially worked for the Canadian Parks Service, but in 1980 first came to Nepal to trek and see the mountains. Soon, the people and cultures of this diverse land became her reason for staying. Since then, she has spent decades working in Nepal, much of that time in the valleys around Everest.

From 1983-89, she helped create a museum and Sherpa Cultural Centre at Tengboche Monastery near Mount Everest. She worked with the Abbot of Tengboche to document the culture and edited the Abbot’s Stories and Customs of the Sherpas.

Since then, she has done documentation work for a variety of development organizations and fund raising for various worthy causes. During these experiences, she started wondering how to help those left out from conventional assistance.

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