Nepal: Government gets serious about climbers' trash in Sagarmatha NP

In 1963 — just 10 years after the first ascent of Mount Everest by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, a Sherpa guide -– a fellow climber, Dr. Barry Bishop, wrote in National Geographic that parts of the mountain had become “the highest junkyard on the face of the Earth.” Expedition teams were trashing Everest by wantonly disposing of empty oxygen canisters, torn tents and other rubbish at base camp and just a few thousand feet below the summit, Dr. Bishop reported.

Decades later, the world’s tallest peak remains under siege. Dozens of expedition teams attack the summit every year, carrying tons of gear and provisions and enlisting thousands of guides, porters and pack animals. Adding to the pressure on the greater Everest region are growing numbers of tourists who trek for weeks over ancient footpaths to the foot of the mountain, where they gaze up in awe at the roof of the world.

The Nepalese authorities say that the number of visitors to Sagarmatha National Park, where Everest lies, roughly tripled in the last 20 years, to more than 30,000 in 2008.

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