Nepal | July 03, 2020

Holy stink! Piles of pooh litter Mt Everest

Rajan Pokhrel
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Bags full of human waste, tents and garbage left behind by climbers above Camp II on Mt Everest. Photo courtesy: David Liaño

Kathmandu, May 24

Mt Everest is stinking on ice, as climbers have left piles of faeces and bags loaded with pooh in the high camps this season, according to mountaineers who recently returned from scaling the mountain.

Taking advantage of the government’s failure to monitor human activities on higher reaches of the mountain, Mt Everest climbers have left behind rubbish and human waste in the high camps, Mexican climber David Liaño Gonzalez told THT after returning from the summit of Mt Everest today.

“Everywhere from Camp II to Camp IV, you can see garbage,” David, who holds the world record for a double ascent of Mt Everest from Nepal and Tibet, recalled. Besides being a repelling sight, it is adversely affecting the mountain, he added.

Climbers have also abandoned oxygen bottles, tents, ladders, cans and wrappers in the higher camps this season, he said. “The expeditions have left garbage from Camp II to South Col after removing their company logos from tents,” Gonzalez, who scaled Mt Everest for the seventh time in association with Deepika Padukone’s The Live Love Laugh Foundation this season, added.

“Liaison officers failed to show up at the base camp to monitor mountaineers’ activities,” the climber said, adding that LOs, climbers and expedition operating agencies were responsible for the piling of garbage on the mountain. Other climbers corroborated Gonzalez’s claim.

“Human waste, which contaminates glaciers, is a big problem up on the mountain,” renowned climbing guide Ang Tshering Lama said after returning from the Everest summit. According to him, it was hard to find space to pitch tents from Camp II to South Col, as piles of faeces and scattered poop bags littered the world’s highest mountain.

Ang Dorjee Sherpa, chairman, Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee, said SPCC could only take care of garbage up to Camp II. “There is a huge challenge to manage garbage above Camp II,” he said, adding, “It’s increasing rapidly every season.” According to him, climbers and trekkers along with their porters, cooks and support staff produce around 5,500kg of waste a year at the base camp.

Though the government has long failed to implement its 2014 mountaineering rule, which states that each member of an expedition must bring back at least eight kilos of garbage, apart from their own trash from Mt Everest, Mt Lhotse and Mt Nuptse expeditions, many commercial expeditions end up leaving trash everywhere on the mountains, Dinesh Bhattarai, director, Department of Tourism, admitted.

Everest garbage

Garbage left behind by climbers at South Col on Mt Everest. Photo courtesy: Pasang Rinzee Sherpa

“All stakeholders must act together to keep mountains clean, as the government alone can’t do anything in the Mt Everest region,” he added.

Nearly 500 climbers made successful ascent on Mt Everest this season, while over 1,000 persons, including climbing guides, porters and kitchen staff spent over two months in the Everest region above the base camp, according to DoT.


A version of this article appears in print on May 25, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.


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