The fact that humans get the opportunity to experience some of nature’s greatest wonders, such as the view from the peak of Mt. Everest, is a wonderful thing. But there is a drawback, especially in the case of mountain climbing, to the many expeditions that take place each year: garbage.
Thousands have climbed Everest since Sir Edmund Hillary first reached the peak in 1953, and every time an expedition is held, waste is left behind. Simply put, climbing the tallest peak in the world is dangerous, and attempting to clean up after yourself only adds to the danger. Thus, literally tons of discarded equipment, empty bottles and canisters, and even human bodies are left on the mountain each year.
Apa Sherpa, a 51-year-old Nepali climber, is out to change that: he will lead the latest in a series of expeditions with the goal of bringing garbage back down from Everest in an attempt to clean the peak. This “Super Sherpa” will take a team of 58 people high up Mt. Everest and attempt to bring down 11,000 pounds of trash.
Not only will this help clean Everest, but the team will be rewarded through the privately-funded “Cash for Trash” program, which offers 100 rupees ($1.40) for each kilogram (2.2 lbs.) of waste. If the team reaches their goal of removing 11,000 pounds of trash, they stand to earn $7,000.
Additionally, Apa wants to set an example for future climbers and show how eco-friendly expeditions can be held. “We will not use fossil fuel. We will cook using solar-enabled cookers and drink sterilised water instead of boiling it,” Apa said.
“If my ascent would promote the cause and help protect the mountain, I am always ready to climb,” he added.