What is a Sherpa?
a member of a Himalayan people living on the borders of Nepal and Tibet, renowned for their skill in mountaineering.
Last year, when the attention of the world was focused on a fight between Sherpas and some Western mountaineers, you would hardly have known four Sherpas died on Everest in separate incidents. Likewise, the year before: three more Sherpa fatalities.
A prayer flag is a colorful rectangular cloth, often found strung along mountain ridges and peaks high in the Himalayas. They are used to bless the surrounding countryside and for other purposes. Prayer flags are believed to have originated with Bon. In Bon, shamanistic Bonpo used primary-colored plain flags in Tibet. Traditional prayer flags include woodblock-printed text and images.
Even at elevations of 14,000 feet above sea level or higher, where the atmosphere contains much less oxygen than at sea level, most Tibetans do not overproduce red blood cells and do not develop lung or brain complications. The researchers found evidence that this might be related to at least 10 genes, two of which are specific genes strongly associated with hemoglobin, a molecule that transports oxygen in the blood.