Summer slump today: Sherpas are superior because of their physique

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Summer slump today: Sherpas are superior because of their physique
Summer slump today: Sherpas are superior because of their physique

Sherpas are superior because of their physique

Nepalese porters are so perfectly adapted to their environmental and working conditions in the Himalayas that they can beat even trained European mountaineers with similarly heavy luggage by far. This was the result of a study by researchers led by Alberto Minetti from the University of Milan with five Sherpas and five European mountaineers.

Even science has a summer slump. More and more results then flood the media, which otherwise hardly find their way into reporting. With the series "Summer slump today" we would like to present a selection to you. On comparative hikes at 3490 and 5050 meters above sea level with 25, 45 and 65 kilograms of luggage respectively, the Nepalese mastered the 22 percent incline more than twice as much quickly. At the same time, they had to exert about 40 percent less effort. However, both groups struggled on the highest sections of the test trails.

Medical examinations and resilience tests on the local porters showed that their cardiovascular system had adapted better to the differences in altitude. This gave them about 30 percent more power. In addition, the Nepalese had a comparatively large chest cavity for their small size and thus a higher lung volume. They also had less body fat than their European counterparts.

In addition, the special carrying technique of the porters, who attach their luggage to their forehead with a strap over their shoulders, can make the task easier. However, since the European test persons did not achieve any improvements when trying to wear these so-called dokos, the scientists suspect that the trick lies in a simultaneous change in trunk posture and the avoidance of unnecessary upper body movements.

However, the scientists also attribute the better performance to the fact that Nepalese porters generally begin to transport heavy luggage at the age of 12 and their bodies adapt to the loads and hypoxia in large loads at an early age Accustomed to heights.

The Sherpas are a Tibetan tribe who migrated to the Nepalese Khumbu region over the past 500 years. Many men and women of this tribe work as porters and thus support climbers and adventurers in the ascent of the Himalayan region. Despite difficult terrain, steep gradients and extreme heights, they are able to carry luggage that is usually around 80 to 90 percent of their own body weight. Some Sherpas even carry loads that weigh twice as much as themselves.

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