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Supervisor Elham AbolFateh
Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

110,000 Pounds of Trash Accumulated at Everest's Peak


Sun 07 Jul 2024 | 09:40 PM
Israa Farhan

Mount Everest, the world's tallest peak, faces a mounting environmental crisis at its summit, with an estimated 110,000 pounds of accumulated waste from decades of climbing expeditions.

According to reports from the "New York Post," Sherpa resident Ang Babu Sherpa led a recent effort to clear the garbage and retrieve frozen bodies near Everest's summit, funded by the Nepalese government.

During this year's climbing season, the team managed to remove 24,000 pounds of waste along with four bodies and skeletal remains.

Ang Babu Sherpa highlighted that between 88,000 to 110,000 pounds of garbage still litter South Col, the final camp before climbers attempt to summit Everest.

The discarded debris primarily consists of old tents, food containers, gas canisters, oxygen bottles, tent packs, and climbing ropes, layered and frozen at an altitude of 26,400 feet, posing significant challenges for cleanup efforts.

Since Everest was first conquered in 1953, thousands of climbers have attempted the ascent, leaving behind more than just footprints.

In recent years, stricter government regulations mandating climbers to bring back their trash or forfeit their deposits, coupled with increased environmental awareness among climbers, have significantly reduced the remaining waste.

However, decades of mountaineering expeditions have left a substantial ecological footprint.

Ang Babu noted that most of the garbage originated from old exploration missions.

His Sherpa team focused on clearing waste and retrieving bodies from higher elevations, while soldiers worked at lower levels and base camp for weeks during the popular spring climbing season when weather conditions are more favorable.

The weather proved to be a formidable challenge for their efforts at South Col, where oxygen levels are a third of normal, and swift wind shifts can swiftly turn into blizzard conditions, plummeting temperatures.

"We had to wait for good weather when the sun melts the ice cover, but waiting for long periods in such conditions is simply impossible," Ang Babu remarked. "It's hard to stay for long with significantly reduced oxygen levels."

The cleanup efforts at Everest's highest camps highlight ongoing environmental concerns amid the allure of conquering the world's tallest peak, underscoring the need for sustainable practices and heightened environmental stewardship in one of the world's most challenging and fragile ecosystems.