Please curb your climber
With each climbing season bringing in around 700 climbers a year, Mount Everest’s staging areas are starting to look more and more like the day after a rowdy music festival. Trash is accumulating alongside feces and urine thanks to the number of people trying to scale the world’s tallest mountain.
The four base camps that help people prepare for their climbs are, with one exception, very difficult to reach and cut off from other infrastructure. As such, people generally poop camping-style, burying their waste in small holes. In small numbers, this would be fine, but since the climbers have been routinely concentrating at these sites for the last 60 years, things are starting to become too concentrated. The one exception is the lowest camp, only 17,380 feet up, which is accessible by truck so that barrels of poo can be driven out and disposed of.
Aside from the ick-factor, the decreasing hygiene poses a risk for disease, a concern that is magnified by the inaccessible locations in question. To help get things under control, some measures have been put in place.
Each climber must post a $4000 deposit, which can only be returned if they return from the mountain with 18 pounds of trash, which is the estimate of how much the average climber takes up with them. And further along the lines of “leave only footprints,” some climbers have elected to carry disposable toilet bags as well. No word on hiking-grade pooper scoopers though.
Source: Too much human faeces on Mount Everest, says Nepal by Associated Press, The Gaurdian