The death toll for climbers taking on Mount Everest this season has been particularly high, as we’ve written about previously, and the drama surrounding the highest peak on the planet has come to an all-time high. The Nepalese Government issued a record number of climbing permits for the season, overcrowding became an unavoidable issue, the level of mountaineering proficiency of many climbers has been questioned, and black market sellers providing faulty oxygen tanks to climbers has become all too common. Eleven people have died this season climbing or descending from the mountain, making headlines worldwide.
And then there’s the clean-up. Climbers are supposed to bring their trash back down with them but many leave it behind due to the unnecessary weight it carries and also because people just suck. The Nepalese Government’s recent expedition to clean up the mountain returned eleven tonnes of rubbish and four dead bodies. Everest has become infamous for the literal trail of bodies that leads to the peak, as retrieval of climbers who don’t make it can be often impossible. Some bodies have become so well known that they’re used as path markers (seriously, be careful googling that stuff).
Climbers have previously lamented the mess, from used oxygen tanks to old tents to food wrappers and, of course, human sh*t. Some of the rubbish was flown to Kathmandu and handed over to recyclers in a ceremony on Wednesday, according to Al Jazeera. There is still a lot of rubbish to be retrieved that will only be discovered once temperatures rise and snow melts. The excrement is a particular problem because it has begun to poison the drinking water sources of the Nepalese people. There’s even a handy Adam Ruins Everything segment on the issue.
The Nepalese Government has been criticized for the number of permits sold this year, with no limitations or testing required for fitness or climbing capabilities. The country has been struggling a lot since the 2015 earthquake and this is one of its primary sources of income. They had previously rejected demands to limit the number of permits, but officials told the AFP that they may now have to look into minimum requirements for climbers to prevent further deaths and trash.
You, dear readers, can help curb this problem by just not climbing Everest!
Header Image Source: Getty Images.