Mount Everest’s Highest Camp Horrific Garbage Revealed: Sherpa Shocked by Dirty Secrets

KATHMANDU, Nepal – In a challenging endeavor, a team of Sherpas and soldiers supported by the Nepal government embarked on a mission to clean up the highest camp on Mount Everest, the world’s tallest mountain. The team, led by Ang Babu Sherpa, successfully removed 11 tons (24,000 pounds) of garbage, including four dead bodies and a skeleton during the recent climbing season.

According to Ang Babu Sherpa, there could be as much as 40-50 tons (88,000-110,000 pounds) of trash still present at South Col, the final camp before climbers attempt to reach the summit. The discarded items consist of old tents, food packaging, gas cartridges, oxygen bottles, tent packs, and climbing ropes, all frozen at the high altitude of 8,000 meters (26,400 feet).

Over the decades since Everest’s first conquest in 1953, the mountain has accumulated significant amounts of waste from climbers. While recent regulations have made it mandatory for climbers to bring back their garbage or forfeit their deposits, there remains a substantial historical backlog of refuse from earlier expeditions.

The challenging weather conditions at South Col posed a significant obstacle for the cleanup efforts. With oxygen levels at just one-third of normal, extreme winds, sudden blizzards, and plummeting temperatures, the team had to navigate treacherous conditions. Digging out the frozen garbage embedded in ice blocks proved to be a laborious and time-consuming task.

Despite the challenges, the team’s dedication and perseverance were evident as they worked tirelessly to clear the mountainside. The bodies recovered were transported to Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital in Kathmandu for identification, facilitating closure for families and loved ones.

Waste collected during the expedition was carefully sorted for recycling, with decomposable items sent to surrounding villages and the rest transported to Kathmandu for proper disposal. A facility managed by Agni Ventures oversaw the recycling process, handling the variety of waste materials retrieved from Everest’s slopes.

“The oldest waste we received was from 1957, battery cells for torch lights,” shared Sushil Khadga of the recycling agency, emphasizing the historical accumulation of debris on the mountain. Climbers’ focus on self-preservation at high altitudes was noted as a contributing factor to the unintentional littering on Everest.

The cleanup operation serves as a vital initiative to preserve the natural beauty and sanctity of Everest, highlighting the importance of responsible mountaineering practices and environmental stewardship. As efforts continue to address the environmental impact of climbing activities on Everest, the ongoing commitment to conservation remains essential for the sustainability of this iconic mountain.