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It’s not exactly a secret that humans haven’t left Everest in pristine condition. However, the extent of garbage lying around at least one base camp is still an astonishing enough sight to have gone viral in recent weeks.
An Everest guide known as Tenzi Sherpa called it “the dirtiest base camp I have ever seen,” scanning the area covered with trash from a constant flow of hikers. “We can see tents, empty oxygen bottles, steel bowls, spoons, sanitation pads, paper… I feel so sad every time cause I have seen many times doing expedition groups [that] companies cut their logos [out] and leave all the tents for the rest.”
It just goes to show that efforts to keep the trails clean are largely made in vain, from expecting the common courtesy of people packing up their own trash to attempts to enact official policies and even organized clean ups. Many sources say about 800 people attempt to summit Everest each year. According to the Himalayan Database, records have been kept for more than 10,800 expeditions along Nepal’s most significant peaks between 1905 and spring 2022 (Everest was summited for the first time in 1953). According to a 2020 study by researchers at the University of Washington, the rate of Everest first-time climbers is increasing while the rate of deaths per attempt is hovering steadily around 1 percent. The study found that between 1990 and 2005, approximately 2,200 people attempted to climb Everest for the first time. From 2006 to 2019 that number jumped up to over 3,600.
The point is, there have been a lot of people passing through camps like this and they have left a lot behind in the process. Records show that traffic is only going to keep getting heavier in the future.