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The logistical demands of the Everest expeditions in the first half of the twenty-first century were tremendous, in which, the transportation of gear and food were critical. This required the involvement of indigenous porters, without whom a history of climbing the Everest and other early Himalayan mountaineering would be incomplete.

The adventure of the expeditions drew in many climbers, and thus, the engagement of hundreds of porters into the mountains; each with their subjective idea of the mountains, creating an interactive arena where materials, skills and goals were shared.

Through the Mount Everest collection of the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), this talk recounts the contribution of the porters in the mountaineering expeditions, and explores the possibilities of how a history of their participation can be drawn out through such archival materials. It uncovers the complexities of the expedition, and the lives and trajectories of the expedition porters, for whom the mountains became a place of labour.

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