June 6, 2005

                                 GETTING DOWN TO EARTH

L.G. Khambache Sherpa, a cab driver from Brooklyn, has driven by virtually every corner of Manhattan in the nearly
25 years since he emigrated from the Mount Everest region of Nepal.

Last week, he made his way down the length of the island on his hands and knees. Sherpa embarked on the 13-mile
``crawlathon'' to raise money to help house children left orphaned by last December's tsunami as well as to honor
the police officers and firefighters who died in the World Trade Center terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

He began his pilgrimage May 31 at the Broadway Bridge, which connects the Bronx to Manhattan, and continued
down Broadway to The Battery, then back a few blocks to Ground Zero.

``Most expeditions are about the lungs,'' says Sherpa. ``This one is about the heart.''

His lungs, however, didn't get off easy. While climbers wearing oxygen masks were ascending Everest during its
busiest week, this Sherpa wore a different kind of mask, one to keep out the dust and pollen of New York's streets,
which aggravate his asthma.

He protected his wrists and knees with gloves and pads reinforced with cut-up sponges. He carried a white nylon
rope on his belt as a symbol of mountaineering.

Sherpa timed his endeavor to start on the 52nd anniversary of the first ascent of Mount Everest by Sir Edmund
Hillary and Tenzing Norgay. At first glance, the crawlathon seemed a new low in adventure for someone who has
scaled the world's highest mountain. But it's far less absurd compared with what occurred on Everest last year, when
a couple married at the top, adventure aficionados debated who was the first person with one leg to scale the
mountain, and one helicopter landed on the summit while another chopper full of reporters crashed at the Nepali
base camp. (No one was hurt.)

As last week's successful Everest climbers bask in the glory of their achievement, Sherpa promotes crawling not
only as an excellent physical and spiritual exercise but a self-effacing one.

``Crawling is humble,'' he says.

Caption: L.G. KHAMBACHE SHERPA of Brooklyn, at far left, prays on the Broadway Bridge last Tuesday as he
begins his mission to crawl the length of Manhattan to raise money for tsunami victims. Khambache has been
promoting crawling as a physical and mental exercise through his nonprofit website, www.sherpamission .org.
Donations can be made via the website. Sherpa had been planning his ``crawlathon'' for two years. At left, Misha
Firsten, 4, of New York City watches intently as Sherpa progresses along his route, which took him to Battery Park
and then back to Ground Zero.

L.G. KHAMBACHE SHERPA makes his way through pedestrian traffic at a cross street on Broadway near 100th
Street Wednesday during his fundraising crawl along the length of Manhattan last week.

AFTER SHERPA finished crawling more than two miles last Wednesday, Kitty Sherpa, above left, performs reiki
therapy to rejuvenate his wrists and arms, which had been fatigued by four days of crawling. Besides tsunami relief,
Sherpa's crawl also honored the police and firefighters killed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. At left, the crawling Sherpa
makes his way through a park on Broadway near 100th Street.