Sherpas are an ethnic group that comprises of nomadic tribes from some of the most remote regions in the Eastern Himalayas, their name literally means "eastern people". Tenzing Norgay (a Sherpa) and Edmund Hillary were the two people first known to have have reached the summit of Mt Everest.
Every year inexperienced western climbers use Sherpas as guides and people who carry their loads up steep mountains. I have unfortunately witnessed many wannabe climbers with more money than sense using these hardy hill people to carry absolute nonsense up mountains.
Around spring when the snow starts to thaw and the climbing season is about to begin, the Sherpas are the first people to rapidly cross a particularly treacherous area around Khumbhu icefall putting up gear and making a safe path to make the lives of inexperienced climbers easier.
They make about $25 a day for something that is not less than a death wish for many, I have witnessed first hand how much these people do for very little money and at a great personal risk. This year the climbing season began with an avalanche that killed 13 of these brave wonderful people. No group take as much risk as them, they go back and forth multiple times so their clients have an easier climb and they carry the heaviest burden of them all.
Over the years I have come in contact with the sheer generosity and courage that makes these people so special and was extremely distressed to hear this and to be honest I have no patience for rich idiots climbing mountains for thrills while others take a massive risk to fuel their pseudo adventure. Seriously dude when one needs team of twenty people to carry your gear, extra oxygen and sometimes carry oneself up and down the mountain, its not mountaineering its tourism.
Mountains are sacred and command great respect in people who live there, its not something that we treat lightly. You can read more about the contributions Sherpas makes and about the tragedy here and here.