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Harry and the golden fleece: Catching sheep in the Himalaya
image story

May 13, 2005 18: 23 EST
As promised, here is the story of the Seven Summits team’s livestock reconnaissance mission, from Harry’s latest dispatch:

"Harry, we have to catch sheep!"

“John is interested as well and we head out into the village with a local, but there are no sheep to be found, all are out in the fields. So we hire a car and a driver, an old tractor with a cart behind, and rumble along the bumpy roads until we spot some sheep. The woman working in the fields points to the biggest one and seems to mean it is hers.”

Diving for the prize

“Alex, John and I walk towards her, but the sheep knows what is coming and runs away. We form a triangle and try to catch it, but every time the smart animal finds a way out. Just when she finds a way between me and John, I take a huge dive and can just get one hand in the fleece and it immediately goes down. We got it!”

“We bring her back to the tractor, where the woman let's us know that is not hers and she does not know who it belongs to...Guess it's the sheep’s lucky day! We let her go and she jumped back into the fields, confused. We drove around trying to find some decent sheep. John catches one as well and the negotiating starts while the children flock around us. We bring two big sheep back and find some more smaller ones in the village when we return.”

The lowest of the lowest

“As Buddhists cannot kill anything, but they need meat for their diet, there is a person in the village, sometimes traveling, who kills animals. This makes him the lowest of the lowest in the community and he lives in a tent just outside of town. As western citizens we mostly never see any meat before it hits our plate. All the gruesome details between the fluffy animal in the fields and the lamb chops in the restaurant are normally hidden from our view and minds. I do not eat much meat myself and normally have no interest in seeing animals getting killed, but it is really fascinating to see how a sheep is killed in Tibet.”

!Warning: Do not read any further if you are faint of heart!

“The butcher takes the sheep and turns it on its back. This is not comfortable for the animal of course, but the sheep hardly protests. Then he makes a small slice in the skin of the sheep's belly, not deep and only about 8 cm long. Again the sheep did not seem to notice the sharp knife cutting. But then the butcher enters the sheep with his arm, goes to the heart with a second and does something with the aorta and heart and the sheep seems to simply fall asleep without any movement or noise, likely from lack of blood/oxygen to the brain. Somehow the blood is being captured in the stomach and when the butcher dismembers the sheep within 5 minutes there is no blood at all, everything is amazingly clean.”

Harry and extra guide Nickolay Cherny are leading Lynne Stark, Hanna Noel Richmond, Nate Schneider, and Lorenzo Gariano.

Image courtesy of the Seven Summits team.

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