Mount Everest throughout the Years
Everest, the tallest mountain in the world is the yearning of millions of people in the world, and it is very fair as well. Sitting at an elevation of 8,848 meters above sea level, Everest really is something worth conquering. Throughout the years the expedition has grown to a larger number; some are for research, some are for adventure, while some want to embark on having a taste of ultimate glory.
All we know is the Everest is the tallest mountain in the world, and we thrive on conquering it someday. But this massive pile of snow is not the same anymore. From climate change to the number of mountaineers, Everest has been affected by several things. Instead of longing for just climbing it, let us know some changes that Everest has gone through in all these years.
Height of Everest
The height of Everest as 8,848 meters/29,028 feet was established by the survey of India between 1952 and 1954, which became widely accepted. Even after the survey, various other survey was conducted. However the methodology used was again called into question, and the figures didn’t get any recognition.
Then an American survey in 1999, concluded the height as 8,850 meters/29,035 feet, plus or minus two meters/6.5 feet, which was accepted by the society and various specialist in the fields of geodesy and cartography.
Another survey in 2005 by Chinese came with a result of 8,844.43 meters/29.017.12 feet, and they referred it as rock height. However, Nepal disputed over the result preferring what was termed the snow height of 29,028 feet. Ultimately, in April 2010 both countries agreed to recognize the validity of both heights.
The whole world is in a vulnerable stage as climate change is getting way too extreme. And, the mountains in the Himalayas has suffered most of all. The snow is melting at a rapid pace due to the long summer and increased temperature. Before, the temperature would barely go above minus degree Celsius, now it even goes up to 25–degree Celsius in summer.
As per the report by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), in the best case scenario, the Himalayan mountain will lose more than one-third of their ice by the end of the century. In a survey of 2014, it was found that one-quarter of Nepal’s glacier got shrunk between 1997 and 2010, forming 1,466 lakes.
Apa Sherpa, who had scaled the Everest 21 times had said, “When I first climbed the Everest in 1989, there was a lot of snow and ice, but now most of it has become rock which causes more rockfalls.”
Habitants in Everest Region
Sherpas are known to be the habitats of the Himalayan region who live up to an elevation of 4,270 meters in Khumbu valley. After the Everest was first scaled successfully in the early 20th century, adventurers from around the world started to pour to climb the peak. Eventually, the whole region got established as a tourist hub.
Living in such an extreme region was hard enough, but with the arrival of people from around the world, it ultimately became the way of income for them, which encouraged the settlement over the time. Such an influx of foreign climbers and a far greater number of trekkers dramatically changed the life of Sherpa. Now, they are engaged in tourism activities by running hotels, lodges, teahouses, guides, and porters. According to the record, an experienced Sherpa can make $4,000 – $5,000 in just two months, which is a lot considering the economic scenario of Nepal.
Sherpas were already the inhabitants of Himalayas, and now with the increased prospect of tourism, the number has increased drastically. In your journey to Everest, you can see as well, most of the region has become a place of settlement.
There were times when Everest was a place of serenity, so full of natural beauty, but time has changed, and now there is crowd everywhere with piles of trashes. It is saddening that people come from different parts of the world and scale the mountain with such an effort, but they aren’t responsible for the trashes they produce.
At present, in a single climbing season can produce more than 12,000 kg of solid human waste. Climbers and their associate’s guides/porters not only leave their footprints but also wastes in spots like Gorakshep and region above 8,000 meters. And now, Everest is stinking on ice with piles of faeces and bags loaded with pooh in the high camps. There are abandoned oxygen bottles, tents, cans, ladders, and wrappers in the Everest region.
This has risen the concern form environmentalists as it has increased the pollution and is also affecting water sources down in the valley. A campaign in 2011 alone brought down the waste and garbage of total of 8.1-ton form mountain and its trekking trails.
Routes to the peak
Mainly two routes are in the general knowledge of public when it comes to climbing the Everest; the southeast ridge of Nepal side and the north ridge of Tibet side and amongst the two, southeast is relatively popular given to its accessibility and less hustle. However, throughout the year, several routes have been found within them as Everest expedition runs throughout the years.
The direct route to Everest is Lukla-Namche Bazaar-Gokyo-Base Camp-Peak. Although the trail after base camp is the same, you can take a different route that lets you explore more. Three Passes and Everest Base Camp is a popular alternate route that follows the course of Bhote Koshi before crossing Renjo La pass and descending into the Gokyo Valley. The next route is from Jiri to Base Camp and the usual route. Similarly, the Gokyo lake route is equally sought-after by climbers.
With its growing popularity, different routes to Everest has been developed, but not all of them are safe to travel on as they possess high risk and are very demanding. The legendary duo of Tenzing Norgay Sherpa and Sir Edmund Hilary scaled the Everest form traditional route, but now the choice is multiple giving you many routes according to your preference.
What can be done?
Now that we havegone through the changes in Everest throughout the years, most of it happens to be environmental and sanitary issues. Obviously, we cannot fight the effects of climate change, but as a trekkers/mountaineer, we can least be responsible for our acts. As a wise man once said “It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen”; your small act can leave a big influence.
Stay on the trail
You must be careful of the trails you are trekking on. It is important of you to be mindful and stay on the trail to avoid any damage to the surrounding environment and leave the area just as you found it. Do not pluck any floras or take/add those strategically placed piles of rocks.
Pack the trash
We take extra care while trekking in the extreme zones because we are well aware of the health hazards that can occur, but can’t we be a bit more cautious of the trashes we produce while taking care of yourself. Remember always to carry in and carry out the trashes, recyclables and food waste and also make sure you are adhering to the principle of Leave No Trace when it comes to human waste.
Not just your own trashes, you can take a leap on being a responsible traveler and pack other trashes on the trails left by others. If your simple act can make the trail clean, then why not?
You will need to keep yourself hydrated throughout the journey as it helps minimize the effects of altitude sickness. Buying water bottles on the way costs you of course, and it also produces unnecessary trash. Instead, you can take a bottle and water-purifying tablet form Kathmandu and keep refilling them on the way. This small act can save your money, and also produce less waste.
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