Beyond Thin Air

Mount Everest Getting pretty frigid out, eh? Maybe not so bad if you’re from one of the coldest, highest, most dangerous places to climb on Earth. Four years ago I met–completely by accident—a Sherpa from the Himalayas in SoHo, who was once a high-altitude mountaineer, now working as a N.Y.C. cab driver. Anything’s possible in New York, I thought, right? Then I discovered he wasn’t just any Sherpa but a relative of Tenzing Norgay, the famed conqueror—with Sir Edmund Hillary—of Mount Everest, in 1953. Tsering Norbu Sherpa and I became friends, and soon I found out that some 2,500 of his fellow Sherpas from the Himalayas have fled the war-torn region to live in N.YC., Queens to be precise. Beginning in 2003, I began reporting a story to explain this exodus-in-progress from the world’s highest place to the asphalt canyons of New York. The result, “Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor, Your Hale, Hearty, Tough-As-Nails, Acclimatized-at-Birth Mountain People…”, was just published in the November, 2007 issue of Outside Magazine (on newsstands now). In PDF form here, or online. In the same issue, I’ve got a review of STEEP, arguably the most ambitious big-mountain skiing movie ever made, and the tale of a man who decided to take incredibly rash measures to save himself from drowning.



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