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A Sardar or Sirdar is a Sherpa mountain guide who manages all the other Sherpas in a climbing expedition or trekking group. The Sirdar is typically the most experienced guide and can usually speak English fluently. The Sirdar's responsibilities include:
- assigning responsibilities to the other guides
- hiring and paying local porters
- purchasing local food during the trek/expedition
- making the final decision regarding route choices
- handling other trip logistics such as dealing with government officials or police.
The normal progression to Sirdar usually involves starting as a porter, working their way up to being a kitchen assistant, on to an assistant guide and then finally to Sirdar. Sirdars do not normally carry loads but will do so on occasion such as carrying the pack of a client who is having difficulties from altitude sickness.