Sherpas set out to clear Everest of garbage – and corpses

By | April 20, 2010

http://himalman.files.wordpress.com/2009/05/everest-fatal-atr.jpgA team of 20 Sherpa mountaineers plans to remove bodies of climbers who died in Mount Everest’s “death zone,” a treacherous stretch that has claimed some 300 lives since 1953.

The team also aims to remove tonnes of garbage left behind on the slopes under a Nepalese government program to clean up the popular tourist destination.

The 20 Sherpas plan to begin the expedition May 1 and set up camp at the South Col, 8,000 metres above sea level, team leader Namgyal said. Just above the South Col is the “death zone” area known as the toughest stretch for climbers because of low oxygen levels and rough terrain.

The team said it plans to remove at least five bodies from a narrow trail between South Col and the summit, but has not identified them. In the past bodies have generally been removed only from lower elevations, because dangerous conditions have made removing bodies from the “death zone” nearly impossible.

The team also plans to remove some 3,000 kilograms of garbage from the zone.

“We will carry empty sacks and fill them with empty oxygen bottles, food wrappings, old tents and ropes from the area,” Namgyal said.

Garbage discarded on the mountain was a major environmental problem until the Nepalese government imposed strict rules about 15 years ago requiring visitors to return all of their gear and rubbish or risk losing a deposit.

It is unclear how much trash is left on the mountain, but several clean-up expeditions have brought down tons of garbage.

Namgyal, who like most Sherpa uses only one name, has climbed the 8,850-meter peak — the world’s highest — seven times. One of the expedition’s members, Long Dorje, has made the trip 14 times. All of the team members have visited the summit at least once.

Sherpas were mostly yak herders and traders living in the Himalayas until Nepal opened its borders to tourists in 1950. Their stamina and knowledge of the mountains makes them expert guides and porters.

via Sherpas set out to clear Everest of garbage – and corpses – The Globe and Mail.

One thought on “Sherpas set out to clear Everest of garbage – and corpses

  1. Linda J LeBlanc

    To learn more about the Sherpas of the Mt. Everest region, read Beyond the Summit by Linda LeBlanc. Sherpas are the true heroes of Everest. Without their assistance, very few would reach the summit. Details of Sherpa culture and religion are interwoven in a tale of romance and high adventure. The story has something for everyone: a love affair between an American journalist and Sherpa guide, conflict between generations as the modern world challenges centuries of tradition, an expedition from the porter’s point of view.

    Below are selections from reviews. To read the complete ones and excerpts go to http://www.beyondthesummit-novel.com

    Beyond the Summit, is the rare gem that shows us the triumphs and challenges of a major climb from the porter’s point of view. The love of two people from diverse cultures is the fiery centerpiece of a novel that leads its readers through harshly beautiful and highly dangerous territory to the roof of the world. Malcolm Campbell, book reviewer

    Conflict and dialog keep this gripping story of destiny, romance and adventure moving from the first page to the last paragraph. LeBlanc has a genius for bonding her readers and her characters. I found I was empathizing in turn with each character as they faced their own personal crisis or trauma.
    Richard Blake for Readers Views.

    A gripping, gut-twisting expedition through the eyes of a porter reveals the heart and soul of Sherpas living in the shadows of Everest. EverestNews.com

    A hard-hitting blend of adventure and romance which deserves a spot in any serious fiction collection. Midwest Book Review

    LeBlanc is equally adept at describing complex, elusive emotions and the beautiful, terrifying aspect of the Himalayan Mountains. Boulder Daily Camera

    LeBlanc’s vivid description of the Himalayas and the climbing culture makes this a powerful read. Rocky Mt News Pick of the Week

    A rich adventure into the heart of the Himalayan Kingdom. Fantastic story-telling from one who has been there. USABookNews.com

    This is the book to read before you embark on your pilgrimage to Nepal. The author knows and loves the people and the country, and makes you feel the cold thin air, the hard rocks of the mountains, the tough life of the Sherpa guides, and you learn to love them too. This is a higly literate, but also very readable book. Highly recommended.”
    – John (college professor)

    Memorable characters and harrowing encounters with the mountains keep the action moving with a vibrant balance of vivid description and dialog. Literary Cafe Host, Healdsburg, CA

    This superbly-crafted novel will land you in a world of unimaginable beauty, adventure, and romance. The love story will keep you awake at night with its vibrant tension and deep rich longing. Wick Downing, author of nine novels

    Such vividly depicted images of the Everest region and the Sherpa people are the perfect scenario for the romance and adventure feats narrated. It’s a page-turner, so engrossing you end up wanting to visit Nepal! Not just novel, but perfect for those seeking to get acquainted with the culture of this country.
    By Claudia Fournier (América, Bs. As., Argentina)

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