Ethnicity and Climbing
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Because of their long involvement in climbing, the name 'Sherpa' has become almost a brand in Himalayan climbing and trekking expeditions. Sherpa is not a job, it is one of many ethnicities in Nepal. 

Because of their association with mountaineering, Non-Sherpa South Asians, Rais, Tamangs, Gurungs, Newars, or any of the other numerous South Asian ethnic groups have a tough time breaking through the Sherpa monopoly on the mountaineering and trekking business. Some climbers go so far as to pretend to be Sherpas to get work in the mountains.

For non-Sherpas, upward mobility in the climbing industry is extremely difficult. High level positions are often reserved for Sherpas. Trekking and climbing companies try to appeal to foreign trekkers and climbers assumption of the natural association of Sherpas and climbing. Sherpas are thought to give institutions legitimacy and provide an "authentic" experience for clients. There are many talented South Asian climbers who, given the opportunity to climb in the big mountains, regularly prove themselves talented climbers.

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