The liminal status of mountains makes them attractive destinations for adventure, and related tourism and recreation activities. Stemming from critiques of Nepal’s growing adventure tourism industry, and recognising the centrality of Sherpas’ roles within it, of interest are the ways Climbing Sherpas experience liminality in mountaineering. Liminality, an anthropological concept introduced by Arnold van Gennep (1960), becomes transformative as Sherpas use encounters with death and periods of uncertainty to take stock of the purpose of their lives. Moreover, analysis of narrative findings reveal that Sherpas assert individual freedom and collective agency in response to the dangers and demands of Nepal’s commercial mountaineering industry, thereby shifting power relations on the mountainside. These findings challenge assumptions of immobile host populations that underlie some of the current understandings within tourism scholarship. Additionally, exploring the liminal landscapes of the mountainside draws attention to critical concerns regarding tourism (and its associated industries) as a mechanism for economic development.