Clean Mount Everest

Bodies and tons of garbage removed from summits

11.06.2024 15:35

In a clean-up operation, Nepalese soldiers have retrieved four bodies and a skeleton from Mount Everest and neighboring peaks. Helpers have also collected eleven tons of garbage since April. At 8849 meters, Mount Everest is the highest mountain and also the highest garbage dump in the world.

Tons of broken tents and clothing, food packaging, stoves, empty water bottles, beer cans and oxygen bottles lie there, left behind by thousands of adventurers over decades. There are also many human excrements - and dozens of corpses, some of which mountaineers even use as trail markers.

Bodies often remain on the mountain
When people die on the mountain, they are often left there. This is because recovering a frozen body is difficult and expensive - it costs 30,000 to 60,000 euros, as US mountaineer and blogger Alan Arnette says. In most cases, a team of six to ten experienced Sherpas with oxygen tanks is sent out, and a helicopter finally flies the body off the mountain. However, some families also leave their deceased loved ones there because they loved the mountain so much.

Money for help with the clean-up
The Nepalese army has been carrying out clean-up operations in the Himalayas on a regular basis since 2019. According to its own information, it has collected almost 120 tons of garbage from various mountains, as well as 14 bodies and several skeletons. There are also certain rewards for people who bring garbage down from the mountain. Sherpa mountain guides, for example, receive 130 dollars (around 120 euros) for an empty oxygen cylinder. This can then be reused.

Tourists have to pay a deposit
Nowadays, expedition organization companies also have to ask tourists to pay a deposit of 4000 dollars (around 3700 euros), which is retained if they are caught leaving garbage on the mountain. However, this is a manageable amount in view of the costs of an average Everest ascent and descent: these usually amount to 50,000 to 100,000 euros per person. The package deals include amounts for equipment, oxygen bottles, tents, domestic flights, food and a local Sherpa team.

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