The Nepalese mountaineers have unique skills in building paths on steep terrain – skills that are now being put to use in Norway more than ever before, , reports broadcaster NRK.
Sherpas have worked on seven different paths in the Sogn og Fjordane country alone this summer, including paths on the Hornelen and Kneipen mountains and in the Erdalen valley.
“I think we have laid 200-300 footpaths over the course of the ten years. That's around 200-300 kilometres in paths,” Geirr Vetti, who is in charge of the Sherpa team, told NRK.
Vetti was responsible for hiring the Sherpas originally. Then a team of four, the footpath builders now number 38 in total.
“I think it has been a positive development, but finding money for paths is not an easy business. We've had five good years, so I'm looking forward to seeing how it will be in future,” he said.
Many of Norway's mountainous regions are becoming more popular for tourists and Norwegians alike, leading to increased wear and tear on paths, writes NRK.
“There has been a large increase in visitors in many parts of the national park. More visitors and poorer footpaths can cause a lot of damage to terrain,” Maria Knagenhjelm, an administrator at Jostedalsbreen National Park, told the broadcaster.
Jostedalsbreen has used Sherpas to build paths on several occasions in recent years.
“I have worked out that Sherpas have put down 4.5 kilometres of paths in the national park. The paths guide traffic and protect the natural areas,” she said.
This can be beneficial for tourists and well as nature, Vetti said.
“A lot of people are hiking now, and places where people walk must be marked out to protect nature. The result is more people walking on good paths, and that can do a lot for tourism, at the same time as protecting nature,” he told NRK.