Don’t Trust the Sherpa Completely

In the middle of the Cascade Range in Oregon there is a group of mountains called The Three Sisters. Each one can be climbed, but the level of difficulty is different. The South Sister is supposed to be a fairly easy climb, the Middle Sister is a bit harder and the North Sister is a technical climb, meaning you will need mountain climbing equipment to make it to the top safely.

My husband met a man who took groups up the Middle Sister and he wanted to go again as he had climbed it when he was a teenager. We met the man and he told us what we would need to prepare for the climb. He said, “You won’t need an ice ax or crampons, just good boots. So okay, we were in. 

Several of us went including my back-packing buddy, Ann. It took several hours, but most of us were able to make it to the top. A few couldn’t quite make it up because they began to have problems with the altitude. They would be picked up on the way down.woman-1209866_1280 

The view from the top of the mountain was magnificent. Looking north, we could see several mountains in the Cascades including a few in Washington. Looking south we had a different panoramic view extending into California. We could see hundreds of miles in any direction. It was spectacular to say the least. We stayed up there for a while, then decided to descend.

There was another man in the group who was also a leader. He was going to take everyone down the mountain as the man we talked to wanted to glissade down one of the glaciers. My husband wanted to try it, and why Ann and I followed, I will never know. So off our Sherpa went. He took out his ice axe and went down. My husband followed without an ice axe and told us to be careful as there was a crevasse down at the bottom. Ann and I held hands as we slid down the glacier on our bottoms. My husband waited at the bottom to keep us from going into the crevasse.  Slowly, ever so slowly, we went down. Then we carefully walked across the glacier and got on the main path that led down the mountain.

adventure alpine climb cold

Photo by Pixabay on

To say that Ann and I were angry is an understatement. We felt that it wasn’t safe to go down the glacier without an ice ax and crampons would have been very helpful as we traversed the glacier. Should I have done more research before I went and not have totally relied on my Sherpa’s advice? Probably, yes. 

The leader that talked to us was right, of course. To go up and down the mountain normally you would not need extra equipment. To do anything else, it would have been wise to have it. That experience taught me not to trust my Sherpa completely. I learned that whatever situation I am in, I must take responsibility for myself and do my own research and decide what will be needed for whatever undertaking I intend to proceed with. Then, and only then, can I make an informed decision and be prepared for wherever I am going and whatever I am doing.hiking-1582295_1280 photo by cssharker courtesy of pixabay

It is unwise to follow blindly and trust anyone completely. Humans are fallible and anyone can give us wrong or incomplete information. We each need to be responsible for ourselves and not trust our Sherpa completely. After all, you never know when you will be in a situation where you need an ice axe or crampons (or anything else for that matter)!

30 thoughts on “Don’t Trust the Sherpa Completely

  1. It’s so critical to have the correct guide and someone you can trust. When booking a climb overseas, you never know what the guide is going to be like and all we can do is read reviews prior to booking – still a gamble.

    You didn’t mention the height of the Three Sisters. We also have the Three Sisters in NSW, Australia.

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  2. Ah this explains my fondness for you … I loved traveling through Oregon and met some wonderful, like minded folk who have a passion for the outdoors! Beautiful pics and a lesson that one can transfer to many of life’s moments. 🌸😊


  3. I understand completely! A few years ago my husband and I went on a horseback trip up the Fuego volcano in Guatemala. Yes, the one that erupted a few weeks ago.We walked on the lava flow and were told it was safe if we stepped where they said. Our tennis shoes’ soles melted a bit, but we truly were protected by the Hand of God!   I don’t believe that there was any forewarning of this latest eruption. “The horse is prepared against the day of battle: but safety is of the Lord.”Prov. 21:31

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  4. Reminds me of Kerala… All wanted to go on a boat ride on the lake. I listened to the advice, was almost coerced and opted out. A doctor too opted out, he gets sick, he said. I would probably had heart failure. Took myself off to lunch and had a seafood meal. That was All from the lake I was going to touch. Yes, I was a chicken but a live chicken.😋😋😋

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  5. I couldn’t agree more Valerie. I think it applies to everything. I’m thinking of the medical profession in particular. Raw and painful experience has taught me you must do your own research and make your own decisions.

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