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Human Poop is Ruining Mount Everest

Nepal is concerned about the volume of shit sitting on top of the mountain.

Mount Everest base camp. Photo by Flickr user Kyle Taylor.

For every moneyed thrill-seeker who thinks climbing Mount Everest is a novel post-college adventure, there is a mound of human waste sitting on top of the mountain to account for their privilege. According to Reuters, the Nepal Mountaineering Association is apparently really concerned about the ever-growing volume of shit piling up on Mount Everest, caused by the more than 700 people a year who spend two months clamboring up its sides in search of a sense of purpose and a really sick Instagram photo.

There are four camps situated along the route to the top, and around each one there are heaps and heaps of poo hidden beneath the snow. Climbers usually dig holes to do their number twos. Over the years, this method of disposal has acumulated an unhealthy amount of poo, which now sits right under the surface, making the mountain a petri dish of fecally transmitted diseases.

“It is a health hazard and the issue needs to be addressed,” said one sherpa to Reuters.

This poo problem is part of a larger issue regarding trash on the mountain. The Nepalese government’s mountaineering department already enforces rules that require each climber to come down with a bag of garbage weighing at least 18 pounds. It will be more difficult to convince people to carry around a bag of human shit for two months, although some more consious climbers already do so.

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