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  Mallory and Irvine The Final Chapter:

Karma Paul Sherpa


Among the climbers of the 1924 Third British Expedition to Everest Karma Paul had perhaps one of the least glamorous but most important jobs. He wasn't a climber, he never summited Everest, but as the group's translator his job was vital in communicating with the native Himalayan people and with the group's own Sherpa.

Karma Paul was fluent in Nepali, English and Tibetan and would serve as the translator for all the British expeditions from 1922 to 1938. Aside from his work as interpreter Paul also served as a recruiter and all-around moderator between the expedition and the native people.

Following the death of Sherpa Shamsher Pun from a likely blood clot on the brain, Paul was dispatched to the Rongbuk Monastery to see if the Sherpas, who were suffering low spirits following the death of young Pun, might be blessed by the head Lama there. The Lama agreed and invited the entire expedition to the monastery where he blessed them all and declared that they had been forced back by demons who would not do so again.

Following his career on Everest, Paul trained himself to be a skilled auto mechanic and in the 1950s won a small fortune at the horse races. He retired to Darjeeling.

 

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