Tenzing Norkay has been on more Everest expeditions than any other man, and also he probably “deserved,” if everyone did, to with the top.

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The best-known citizen of the Indian hill city of Darjeeling, Tenzing Norkay, is in residence now, despite unseasonably, for the year climbing in the Himalayas has actually begun and also most that his Sherpa colleagues are off help Westerners up the peaks. His existence reflects the readjust that has actually taken location in his affairs because May 29th of last year, once he and also Edmund Hillary stand on the summit of mountain Everest. That feat earn Tenzing a rest from his career together a climber, which had actually been arduous, and also plunged him right into a new career, entailing contracts, publicity, and politics, i beg your pardon is a good deal more lucrative but which puts him under an additional kind the strain. Not only is he, like countless famous men, unschooled in the ways of publicity but he transaction haltingly with English, that lingua franca. Just keeping track of his very own life, therefore, demands tough concentration. Tenzing complains the he has lost twenty-four pounds due to the fact that climbing Everest, and he says—though he most likely doesn’t mean it—that if he had actually foreseen the results, he would never have actually made the climb. His troubles space compounded through an aspect of jealousy in Darjeeling—he is come some level a prophet without honor in his own country—and through a windy disagreement, which he is well mindful of, regarding whether that is a an excellent man or only an may be servant. “I assumed if ns climbed Everest entirety world an extremely good,” he stated recently. “I never thought prefer this.”

Tenzing is at everyone’s disposal. He has actually fixed up a small museum in his Darjeeling flat, exhibiting his gear, trophies, and also photographs, and he stands duty over there from ten in the morning come four-thirty in the afternoon. That is a handsome man, sunburned and also well groomed, with white teeth and a familiar smile, and he commonly wears Western apparel of the Alpine sort—perhaps a shining silk scarf, a gray sweater, knee-length breeches, structure stockings, and also thick-soled oxfords. These fit him splendidly. Redolent v charm, Tenzing listens intently come questions placed to him, in every the accents that English, by tourists who involved look end his display, and also answers as finest he can, frequently laughing in embarrassment. He charges no admission fee, yet has a collection box for much less fortunate Sherpa climbers, and he appears to look at on the ordeal together a duty to the Sherpas and to India as a whole. The other day, I, who have actually been bothering him, too, remarked top top the good number of civilization he receives. “If ns don’t,” that answered, “they say i am as well big.” and he scratched his head and laughed nervously.

Tenzing’s increase to fame brought about some difficult feelings in between India and also Nepal end the concern of his nationality. On his trip to England through the Everest party, that took along passports of both countries, however now the is quite well resolved that the is Indian by choice and long residence, Nepalese by birth, and Sherpa—Tibetan, that is—by stock. Odd as it may seem, this mixture is common, for the Sherpas long earlier migrated from the high Tibetan wastes come Nepal, and in this century numerous of them have moved on come Darjeeling, looking for work; once Tenzing Norkay, or Tenzing Norkay Sherpa, concerned Darjeeling in 1933, he to be treading a well-worn path. This is the means he has determined to order his name—he now has company cards—but a europe anthropologist that knows Tibetan says that “Tenzin Norgya” would be a better phonetic rendering, and also that precise transliteration would certainly be “bsTan-aDzin Nor-rGyas,” the funding letters representing the stresses. The Sherpas don’t usage surnames together we recognize them. Both “Tenzing,” which way “thought holder” or “thought grasper,” and also “Norkay,” which method “increasing wealth,” are offered names, and “Sherpa,” which means “man indigenous the East,” is a caste or clan name.

Darjeeling, the Sherpas, and Mount Everest comprise a triangle that has framed Tenzing’s life. Darjeeling is a town of twenty-five thousand people, seven thousand feet over sea level, ~ above a steep slope in the southern Himalayas. From the level below, its buildings look like strips of record pasted ~ above a screen. For decades, world have pertained to Darjeeling by a tiny mountain train, with tiny red cars and a tiny environment-friendly locomotive, that chugs in and also out that the bottom of town, however now one can also make the expedition by auto, corkscrewing increase a steep road in between terraces the the tea bushes that, before Tenzing, do Darjeeling famous. The primary streets space level, running throughout the face of the slope, and these room intersected through steep, zigzagging lanes and by steps. Tenzing’s level is in a pink stucco house on the highest of the level streets, formerly Auckland Road and now Gandhi Road, and also on clean days it has a fine view of snowy peaks come the northwest, including Kanchenjunga, the world’s third highest. To check out Everest, one must go to a lookout dubbed Tiger Hill, thirteen miles to the southeast.

In the old, imperial days, the British provided Darjeeling together a refuge indigenous the heat of Calcutta, three hundred miles away, their main Indian port and the capital of Bengal Province. The Bengal federal government came up because that the warm months, and also so walk the wives and also children of businessmen. Hotels and also villas were built and filled, and natives converged ~ above the town to offer as cooks, waiters, grooms, porters, guides, or merchants, follow to their talents. Being hardy rather than urbane, the Sherpas, both men and also women, attracted outdoor jobs. Sherpa ladies porters room seen on the roadways today, transferring baskets shaped like big inverted hat or pyramids on your backs, and until Tenzing ended up being famous, his wife, a short, solid woman that was born in Darjeeling the Sherpa parents, was often one of them.

Aside indigenous tea, the resort company was previously Darjeeling’s key industry, even throughout the war, because that then British and American policemans came ~ above leave and also did the things, choose hiking in the hills, that Darjeeling was collection up for. However now things room different. The Bengal government, which, that course, is Indian, walk not relocate up because that the summer. Few of the hotels and also many of the villas room closed. Together tourists together Darjeeling draws are apt to it is in Indians, who keep couple of servants and do small hiking, or Americans, most of whom stop by because that a day or two, frequently on their means around the world, come look at the peaks and to picture Tenzing. There room still fairly a few British world in Darjeeling, consisting of a number of tea planters, however their life is not what it used to be, either. They space beset through inflation—prices are about three times what they were in the thirties—and by job troubles. I have been told that employees in the tea gardens have actually beaten up numerous planters, with tiny or no punishment from the police.

To Westerners, Darjeeling is a basic place, yet to the Sherpas that is a good city. Sherpa boys operation off come it as various other boys run off come sea; Tenzing go this himself. The Sherpas’ home country is in the northeastern corner of Nepal, just below the Tibetan border. The southern edge of the Tibetan plateau is fenced by peaks, including Everest, and then the ground falls sharply toward the levels of eastern India; most of Nepal lies on the higher reaches of this slope. The Sherpa nation is sparsely settled, and the biggest village, referred to as Namche Bazar, which reportedly means huge Sky Market, is composed of a few rows of little stone houses. The Sherpas acquire along by raising yaks, which thrive on your blizzardy pastures and the slim air, and also by growing potatoes; in one spot, they know it is time to begin planting as soon as a frozen waterfall thaws. One more resident the the Sherpa nation is the Abominable Snowman, or yeti—a creature who is said to walk prefer a man and also to leave substantial tracks. Many Sherpas think that the Snowman is supernatural and also that the sight of him will certainly kill a man, yet others insurance claim to have recorded a glimpse the him with no ill effects. Tenzing has actually not come across the Snowman. “With my eye I never seen,” that says. “Only footprint, an extremely much big, one foot long.” Some people maintain that the Snowman is a range of bear or ape, and that, favor the huge panda, he will be tracked under sooner or later. A brother expedition, backed by the London Daily Mail, is now in the Sherpa country trying to settle the mystery.

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There is a strong tendency among Sherpas to leaving their complicated homeland. One escape is to turn trader, operation yak caravans end the high passes right into Tibet, and ultimately resolve down there, and another is, that course, to go to Darjeeling, i m sorry is about a twenty days’ walk native Namche Bazar. Once the men arrive, they are apt to be obtained up in the Tibetan way, through long, braided hair and huge earrings, however they quickly dispose the these. The women, however, normally cling to the Tibetan style—coiled braids, plain, dark dresses, and woollen aprons through narrow stripes in many colors. The clothes vary in detail, relying on the latest fashion in Lhasa, the funding of Tibet, but to the untrained eye they are all alike.