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Mount Everest Base Camp Has Been Forced To Move Due To Climate Change

Urine and poop are also a growing concern for the base camp.

author

Tom Hale

Senior Journalist

clockJun 17 2022, 11:42 UTC
Climbers' tents lay along the Mount Everest base camp on the Khumbu glacier.
Climbers' tents lay along the Mount Everest base camp on the Khumbu glacier. Image credit: Slepitssskaya/Shutterstock.com

Racked by climate change and melting glaciers, the base camp of Mount Everest in Nepal has been forced to move further down the mountain.

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Taranath Adhikari, director general of Nepal's tourism department, told the BBC that they are in the process of moving the South Base Camp, which currently sits at an altitude of 5,364 meters (17,598 feet), to a location that’s 200 to 400 meters (656 to 1312 feet) lower.

The reason for the change, they say, is that the area is becoming too dangerous due to climate change disturbing the glacier that houses the base camp. 

The basecamp is placed on the Khumbu glacier, which is becoming increasingly destabilized by warming temperatures. Not only is the thawing glacier causing cracks to appear around the base camp, but climbers are also becoming increasingly threatened by falling rock and debris  

"We are now preparing for the relocation and we will soon begin consultation with all stakeholders," said Adhikari, speaking to the BBC.

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"It is basically about adapting to the changes we are seeing at the base camp and it has become essential for the sustainability of the mountaineering business itself."

Human activity beyond climate change is also taking its toll on the mountain. Along with being subjected to climbers burning fuels like kerosene, the area has also come littered with considerable amounts of human poop and pee. One estimate suggested that people generate 4,000 liters of urine at the base camp each day.

Mount Everest, standing proud at 8,848 meters (29,031 feet), has become progressively more affected by climate change in recent years. One study in 2018 revealed that the minimum ice temperature of the Khumbu Glacier was only −3.3°C (26°F), a worryingly warm temperature that indicates the glacier is desperately vulnerable to heat. 

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Earlier this year, another study found that Everest's highest glacier, the South Col Glacie, shed 2,000 years' worth of ice in 30 years and has lost half its mass since the 1990s – and the worst could be yet to come. 

"Climate predictions for the Himalaya suggest continued warming and continued glacier mass loss, and even the top of the Everest is impacted by anthropogenic source warming," said Mariusz Potocki, a climate scientist from the University of Maine who conducted the 2022 study.

The situation has become so severe that there have even been reports of long-lost human bodies emerging out of the melting ice caps.


Natureclimate
  • climate change,

  • climate,

  • mount everest

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