Human Waste Plagues Everest Climbers

Nepal official warns of disease

Mar 3, 2015
Outside Magazine

The chief of Nepal's mountaineering association said human waste has been "piling up" for years at camps where there are no toilets.    ilkerender/Flickr

The president of Nepal’s mountaineering association said Tuesday that human waste is an increasing problem on Mount Everest, according to the AP. Ang Tshering said the large amounts of human waste left on the mountain need to be disposed of correctly to fight pollution and prevent disease transmission.

Everest Base Camp has toilet tents that feed into drums that can be carried down and disposed of when full, but the four higher camps do not; most mountaineers dig holes in the snow and leave waste behind. The cumulative impact of more than 60 years of climbing on the world’s highest mountain includes a pile-up of human fecal matter, according to Tshering.

Officials say they will closely monitor waste on the mountain, though no plan is in currently in place to tackle the problem. Last year, the Nepalese government began requiring climbers to carry down 18 pounds of trash, another perennial problem on the mountain.