Sherpas Navigate Big Apple Canyons
As tourism fades, expat Nepalese guides turn to driving NYC cabs
By Colleen Barry,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 3, 2007 10:49 AM CST
Veteran Sherpa Apa, 46, right, and Lhakpa display the victory symbol upon their arrival back from scaling the 29,035-foot Mount Everest summit on May 16, in Katmandu, Nepal, Wednesday, May 23, 2007. Apa,...   (Associated Press)
camera-icon View 3 more images

(Newser) – When a 10-year civil war drove tourists and climbers out of Nepal, the Sherpas who catered to them also left in droves, and many wound up in New York driving cabs. The taxis offer not only a livelihood but also fewer risks. "I stopped extreme climbing for my own safety," says Tsering Norbu Sherpa, a descendant of Tensing Norgay. ABC News goes along for the ride.

Cab driving is far more lucrative job than mountain guiding. "Even if tens of thousands of people climbed those peaks every year, it wouldn't generate the kind of money that Sherpas can make here," says an Outside magazine reporter who spent nearly a year with the Sherpas. One of the worst things, according to Tsering? People having sex in cabs: "It shows such disrespect."