Home INTERNATIONAL NEWS Everest climbers were directed to carry their poop to their camps

Everest climbers were directed to carry their poop to their camps


Everest climbers will now have to clean up their own excrement and bring it back to base camp for disposal, authorities.

“Our mountains have started to stink,” Mingma Sherpa, chairman of the Pasang Lhamu village municipality, told the BBC.

The municipality, which covers a large area of ​​Mount Everest, has introduced new rules as part of a series of measures being implemented.

Due to the extreme temperatures, the droppings left on Mount Everest do not fully decompose.

“We are getting complaints that human stools are visible on rocks and some climbers are falling sick. This is not acceptable and erodes our image,” Mr Mingma adds.

Climbers attempting Mount Everest, the world’s highest peak, and nearby Mount Lhotse will be ordered to buy so-called poo bags at base camp, which will be “checked upon their return”.

During climbing season mountaineers spend most of their time at base camp acclimatising to the altitude, where separate tents are erected as toilets, with barrels underneath collecting the excrement.

But once they begin their treacherous journey things get more difficult.

Most climbers and support staff tend to dig a hole but the higher you go up the mountain, some locations have less snow, so you have to go to the toilet out in the open.

Very few people bring their excrement back in biodegradable bags when climbing Mount Everest’s summit, which can take weeks.

Rubbish remains a huge issue on Everest and other mountains in the region, although there has been an increasing number of clean-up campaigns, including an annual one led by the Nepali Army.

‘Open toilet’

“Waste remains a major issue, especially in higher up camps where you can’t reach,” says Chhiring Sherpa, Chief Executive Officer of the non-government organisation Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee (SPCC).

Although no official figure exists, his organisation estimates that there are around three tonnes of human excrement between camp one at the bottom of Everest and camp four, towards the summit.

“Half of that is believed to be in South Col, also known as camp four,” Mr Chhiring says.

Stephan Keck, an international mountain guide who also organises expeditions to Everest, said South Col has gained a reputation as an “open toilet”.

At 7,906 metres (25,938 feet) high, South Col serves as the base before climbers attempt to reach the Everest and Lhotse summits. Here, the terrain is very windswept.

“There is hardly any ice and snow, so you will see human stools all around,” Mr Keck says.

Authorised by the Pasang Lhamu rural municipality, the SPCC is now procuring about 8,000 poo bags from the US, for an estimated 400 foreign climbers and 800 support staff for the upcoming climbing season that begins in March.

These poo bags contain chemicals and powders that solidify human excrement and make it largely odourless.

On average, a climber is thought to produce 250 grams of excrement per day. They usually spend about two weeks on the higher camps for the summit attempt.

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