It’s shaping up to be a pretty historic climbing season for the world’s tallest mountain this year. First off, at 374 permits issued so far, Mount Everest will see more climbers than ever before in history. But the traffic on the mountain isn’t the biggest newsmaker this year. What really has people talking is the efforts being made by the Chinese and Nepalese governments to clean up the mountain.
For years now, news has spread about the amount of rubbish that’s left on Mount Everest. But it’s not just trash that the governments are concerned with—it’s also the disturbingly high number of corpses that have been left on the mountain over the years.
There are more than 200 dead bodies left on the mountain—climbers who have perished while attempting to summit the world’s tallest peak. Many of the bodies have been difficult to recover because they’ve been in deep crevasses or in places on the mountain that have made recovery impossible in the past. However, glacial shifting in recent years have made many of these bodies reachable, and both China and Nepal have committed to recovering more bodies this year.
It’s a touchy subject, as Mount Everest is an area where people with many different religious beliefs concerning the dead converge each year. Many climbers have said that if they die on the mountain, they’d prefer to be left there. But their families often feel different, wanting the remains recovered so they can be properly buried. Others believe that leaving corpses on the mountain is a sign of disrespect to the gods.
It’s definitely an issue that needs to be addressed, as global warming is exposing more and more bodies each year.
Sadly, trash is just as big an issue on Mount Everest. You would think that given how remote the region is it would be from garbage, but that’s not the case. The mountain is littered with abandoned gear from climbers dating back decades.
China has started to put measures in place to tackle the issue. In addition to paying $9,500 for a climbing permit, climbers are also required to pay another $1,500 for a “trash” fee. The additional funding will go toward efforts directly related to cleaning up the mountain.
Nepal is making strides, too. They’ve put together a 12-person team that will be paid to do nothing but remove trash from the mountain. Both Nepal and China have “rules” in place that require climbers to remove a certain amount of trash, but historically those rules haven’t really been enforced. We can guess that we’ll see more enforcement starting this year.