Everest Has Become a Huge Mess

Literally and figuratively...
By Ruth Brown,  Newser Staff
Posted May 19, 2013 4:51 PM CDT
Everest is Too Crowded, Polluted: Can it Be Fixed?
Members of the Chinese Mount Everest expedition team climb up to measure the height of the mountain.   (AP Photo/Xinhua, Suolang Luobu)

This month marks the 50th anniversary of the first American to scale Mount Everest. Back in 1963, it was a feat only a handful of skilled adventurers accomplished. Today, hundreds of often inexperienced, ill-prepared thrill-seekers attempt the ascent every year. Most now survive, but as a result, the mountain has become polluted with the garbage and excrement they leave behind—not to mention the dead bodies of those who don't return—and so crowded that when Mark Jenkins reached the summit last May, "it was so crowded I couldn’t find a place to stand," he writes for National Geographic.

So can it be repaired? Local guides say yes: if the government issues fewer mountain passes, requires Sherpas and climbers to have certification and experience, limits the size of expedition parties, cleans up the dead bodies, and issues penalties for leaving garbage and waste. But others are skeptical, as the Nepalese government is notoriously corrupt and dysfunctional. "More government intervention would only encourage more corruption," says one guide. "Everest operators must come together to self-regulate the situation." Click for the full piece. (More Nepal stories.)

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