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Mount Everest climbers take litter picking to a whole new level

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March 31, 2017
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Mountaineers are being asked to scale Everest with rubbish bags in their backpacks so they can litter pick on the way.

Rubbish bags have been sent to the base camp to be carried by climbers, guides and porters to higher elevations as expedition organisers take their efforts to tidy up the world’s highest mountain to a whole new level.

Currently helicopters drop off supplies and equipment at the camp located at 21,000 feet, but they usually fly back empty.

But from now on the plan is for the bags, which can contain up to 176lb of rubbish, to be hooked by the choppers at Camp Two and brought back down to base camp.


Hundreds of climbers and their guides are expected to attempt to scale the 29,035ft peak during the spring season.

Climbers generally arrive in April and attempt to reach the summit in May, when weather conditions in Nepal are more favourable. But they leave in their wake a trail of rubbish.

Climbers also say it is urgent to remove items left by previous expeditions at Camp Two, which was set up in 2014 and 2015 when tragedies forced an early end to the climbs.

The 2014 season was cancelled after 16 Nepalese guides were killed in an avalanche, and the following year an earthquake-triggered avalanche swept the base camp, killing 19 people.

Veteran guide Russell Brice said the tents and supplies that were left behind are among the rubbish that need to be removed.

Doing it by helicopter means Sherpa guides do not have to risk carrying heavy loads of rubbish through the treacherous Khumbu Icefall to the base camp.

Mr Brice, one of the leading expedition organisers, said that for rubbish left higher up the mountain he was offering Sherpa guides carrying equipment for their clients to bring back bags filled with rubbish to Camp Two.

They would be paid two US dollars (£1.60) per kilogram (2.2lbs), and would use bags that can hold 5kgs (11 pounds).

If you find yourself in foreign climes this year be sure to tidy up after you, and make sure you have suitable travel insurance.

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