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China to Limit Number of Climbers on Everest

© Garry Robertson

According to a report by the Associated Press in Beijing, China plans to reduce the number of climbers attempting Everest (8848m) - or Mount Qomolangma as it is known in Tibetan - from the north by one-third this year to enable a cleanup operation to take place on the world's highest peak.

Everest, Nuptse and Lhotse  © Garry Robertson
Everest, Nuptse and Lhotse
G. Robertson, Nov 2017
© Garry Robertson

An estimated 60,000 climbers, guides and tourists access the Everest region each year, with hundreds making attempts on both sides of the mountain, from the north (Tibet) and south (Nepal). In order to minimise impact on the mountain during the cleanup, the number of climbers permitted to ascend from the north will be limited to less than 300, and the season will be restricted to spring. Work will involve recycling litter left behind on the mountain and sorting abandoned equipment such as oxygen bottles, stoves and tents.

On the Nepalese side, where the mountain is known as Sagarmatha, expedition organisers are attempting to combat the litter situation by encouraging climbers to gather their waste in bin bags provided for removal by helicopter. Cleanup programmes have been run by Nepalese Sherpas for many years, but are now organised by the Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee (SPCC). Sherpas remain involved in collecting the rubbish.

According to The Guardian, the bodies of deceased climbers lying at above 8,000m will also be recovered as part of the Chinese operation.

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21 Jan, 2019

'An estimated 60,000 climbers and guides access the north side of the mountain from China each year'

Is that figure correct? It would mean that at some point there must be several thousand people at the base camp?

Or is it a figure for people that use the road to the base camp and turn straight back round again ?

21 Jan, 2019

Interesting/good to read that "The cleanup efforts will include the recovery of the bodies of climbers who died at more than 8,000 meters (26,246 feet) up the mountain...".   At the weekend I listened to the Rock And Ice `My Epic Podcast' that covered guide Chris Warner's experience on the North side in 2003 (when he was hit on the head by a discarded oxygen bottle). He starts by explaining that "From high camp, summit day involves climbing technical cliff bands (three steps) and, I regret to say, stepping over eight frozen bodies". So good those bodies will be recovered.

21 Jan, 2019

The Guardian article says "Every year, about 60,000 climbers, guides, and tourists visit the region of Everest the 8,850-metre (29,035ft) peak between Nepal and Tibet, with hundreds attempting the climb from both sides" - that looks like a total of 60,000 in the region, not even necessarily in base camp. And "hundreds" above base camp

21 Jan, 2019

The original AP report (https://apnews.com/2d83497bda9743eaaedbfaa37842fca0) says: "Each year, about 60,000 climbers and guides visit the Chinese north side of the mountain, which China refers to by its Tibetan name, Mount Qomolangma."

The Guardian has updated its initial report since this morning with more facts and figures, and the 60,000 relating to the region does seem far more likely - I'll amend.

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