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Tough Outdoor Jobs

Every backpacker dreams of a glory job in the outdoors. Here's what it takes to make the grade for 8 of the toughest ones out there.


Job description Scamper up and down Mt. Everest like a squirrel on its home oak. Sherpas come from Nepal’s Khumbu region, and their name has become synonymous with Everest fixers. Western climbing teams hire them to build basecamp (some have stone-hut kitchens and latrines) and organize the schlepping of nearly 8,000 pounds of gear. Then they accompany clients to the summit while carrying extra oxygen bottles. Sherpas routinely cover 10 times the distance (while ferrying loads) as their clients. The pay? $7 per day plus bonuses for gear ferries, summiting, and retrieving oxygen bottles.

Entrance exam
­+ Live at 13,000 feet
­+ Fix ladders and ropes while
employer “acclimatizes.”
­+ Run dozens of loads
to high camps.
­+ Summit K2, the world’s most dangerous peak, descend, then climb it again to rescue two climbers, as Pemba Sherpa did in 2008.             

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