Mountaineering expedition organizers in Nepal are sending huge trash bags with climbers up Mount Everest during the spring climbing season to collect trash that then can be winched by helicopters back to the base camp, the AP reports. Dambar Parajuli of the Expedition Operators Association of Nepal said Wednesday that bags have already been sent to the base camp to be carried by climbers, guides, and porters to higher elevations. Each bag can hold up to 176 pounds of trash and can be hooked to helicopters at Camp 2 to be flown back to the base camp. The helicopters generally fly back empty after dropping off supplies and equipment at the camp located at 21,000 feet.
Hundreds of climbers and their guides are expected to attempt to scale the 29,035-foot peak during the spring season. They leave behind a lot of garbage. Climbers also say it is urgent to remove the trash left by previous expeditions at Camp 2, which was set up in 2014 and 2015 when tragedies forced an early end to the climbs. The 2014 season was canceled after 16 Nepalese guides were killed in an avalanche, and the following year an earthquake-triggered avalanche swept the base camp killing 19 people. Veteran guide Russell Brice said the tents and supplies that were left behind have to be removed. Doing it by helicopter means Sherpa guides do not have to risk carrying heavy loads of trash through the treacherous Khumbu Icefall to the base camp. (Read more Mount Everest stories.)