March 3, 2015

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

Human Waste Plagues Everest Climbers

Nepal official warns of disease

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.

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The 40-pound Google Trekker camera reached 62 mph on the zip line.     Photo: Google

Google Photographs Amazon Rainforest

Sends camera down zip line

Google’s quest to photograph the entire world took the company to the Amazon for a zip-lining adventure. The company recently sent one of its Street View cameras down a wire through the rainforest to catch 360-degree photos, according to the BBC.

The 40-pound Trekker camera, usually worn by a hiker with a backpack, has 15 lenses that take snapshots every 2.5 seconds. It traveled as fast as 62 mph on the zip line and captured more than 300 miles of rivers, lakes, and streams and 20 miles of trails, according to a statement from the Amazonas Sustainable Foundation (FAS). Google released the images on its Maps application.

The BBC reports that Google began photographing the Amazon in 2010 by putting 12 Trekkers on boats and sailing them up the Rio Aripuana and Rio Madera, two of the Amazon River’s main tributaries. The project is the result of a collaboration between Google and FAS.

Google spokesperson Laurian Clemence told the BBC that the goal is to give people the opportunity to see a place they may not get the chance to visit in person. “Most people won’t go to a rainforest in their lifetimes,” Clemence said. “We also hope environmentalists will use it as a tool to go and see what’s there.”

“The rest of Brazil and the world need to know the value of the forest and those who live in it,” Virgilio Viana, superintendent general of FAS, said in the statement.

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Alan Arnette's Lhotse attempt will raise awareness and funds for Banner Alzheimer's Institute.     Photo: alanarnette.com

Everest Reporter Arnette to Climb Lhotse

Sets sights on all 8,000-meter peaks

Blogger Alan Arnette has officially announced that he will climb Lhotse this spring and will become the second American to climb all 14 of the world’s 8,000-meter peaks to raise awareness about Alzheimer’s and money for research.

The renowned Everest chronicler, 58, has already summited Manaslu, K2, and Everest, and will have to climb 11 more peaks between now and 2020 to achieve his goal. Arnette lost his mother to Alzheimer’s. So far, he has raised $250,000 for the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund through his mission, Project 8000. His goal is to raise $1 million.

Arnette will head to Nepal to summit Lhotse, Everest’s 27,940-foot neighbor, Adventure Journal reported. Lhotse and Everest share much of the same route before bifurcating into two separate summits.

Thirty-four people have climbed all 14 8,000-meter peaks. Ed Viesturs, the only American to accomplish the feat, did it on private climbs and without supplemental oxygen.

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According to PeopleForBikes, 34 percent of Americans over age 3 rode a bike at least once in the past year.     Photo: Robert Thomson/Flickr

PeopleForBikes Releases Benchmark Report

Reveals key trends in bicycling participation

PeopleForBikes, an advocacy group dedicated to making bicycle riding easier, safer, and more accessible, on Monday released the results of a two-month study designed to determine participation levels among commuter and recreational cyclists across the country. Filling out a 10-minute online survey, 16,193 respondents answered various questions describing how many days in the past 12 months they “rode a bicycle of any type outside for any reason.” The research is meant to reflect the bike-riding habits of Americans ages three and up.

Amid the ongoing resentment between drivers and riders across the country, an issue Outside wrote about in February, the study seeks to make the case that most Americans would like their hometowns to be more bike friendly.

While the report states that 54 percent of Americans believe bicycling is convenient, and 53 percent would like to would like to ride more often, large portions of the population say that infrastructural problems where they live make it difficult or unsafe. Fifty-two percent of respondents said they worry about being hit by a motor vehicle when riding in their neighborhood, and only 31 percent overall said they are satisfied with the number of bike lanes and paths that are available where they live.

In addition to arguing that more Americans would ride a bike if the infrastructure in their towns were improved, PeopleForBikes has released research linking cycling accommodations like bike paths to economic growth. Citing stories from Memphis, San Francisco, and Portland, the organization asserts that public health, real estate values, and retail sales all go up when a neighborhood is easy to navigate on two wheels.

“Throughout the report, and many of the blog posts here, we’ve included statistics and infographics showing that these aren’t isolated anomalies,” reads a statement on the PeopleForBikes website. “The fact that high-quality bike lanes help the economy is part of the new economic reality for American cities.”

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