For Nepali Guides on Mount Everest, Daily Life Is Full of Danger

May 14, 2024

very year, a vast ecosystem of Nepali mountain workers helps hundreds of climbers ascend and then descend Mount Everest. In 2024, approximately 1,500 of these guides, porters, cooks, rope fixers, and expedition operators will support the 414 paying clients on the peak.

Abiral Rai, 33, is one of these unsung heroes. Abiral is not Sherpa—he is from the Thulung Rai ethnic group, one of many found across Nepal’s eastern hills. He grew up in a small village in the Solukhumbu district of eastern Nepal, about a six-day walk south of Everest Base Camp. He began his career at age 18 by portering loads of rice, soda, and other supplies for the commercial trekking industry in the Khumbu Valley, and then ascended through the expedition industry’s labor force until he became a high-altitude mountain guide. In 2019 Abiral completed his certification with the International Federation of Mountain Guides Association (IFMGA). Outside Online