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What is a Sherpa Step?

Sherpa Step
Photo Credits: Briana Gallo

Ever thought about trekking in high altitudes? Worried about losing your breath? There is a technique that can help you not only explore majestic heights but can help you enjoy them every step of the way. It’s called the Sherpa Step.

The Sherpas, native Nepalese mountain people who are known for their physical prowess at extreme altitudes, hike up steep hills in a distinctive style called the Sherpa step. It is a particularly useful technique for saving energy when carrying heavy loads up inclines where there is little oxygen in the air. The Sherpa step is also used to help trekkers acclimate to the altitude, preventing altitude sickness.

Trekking in the Himalayas requires participants to cover long distances as well as negotiate long ascents and descents. The Sherpa step will quickly become your friend! How does it work?

When you find yourself tired and really short of breath, it’s time to slow things down a bit. Take smaller steps, breathe as you walk, and slow down. Each step should take about 3 seconds. It feels awkward at first, but trust me, it helps! 

Our treks are led by incredible guides. Tshering, a native Sherpa from the Khumbu Valley in Nepal, has not only accompanied us on many treks but is also an incredible friend and a part of our Nepalese family. As we get higher in altitude, Tshering will pace the group by teaching the Sherpa step.  

“Without Tshering, I would not have made it to 17,000 feet (EBC). He saw me struggling with the climb and the altitude on the first day in the mountains and took the time to teach me the “Sherpa walk,” which allows your body to regulate breathing and heart rate much more efficiently,” says Tomasz EBC 2018.

Once you master this way of walking, you will be able to climb for many hours a day. 

Join us! Driftwood Adventure Treks will be going to the Gokyo Lakes, Everest Base Camp, Mustang Region, and Annapurna Base Camp in 2024 to 2025.

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