Portable Toilets on Mt. Everest Prove Humans are Slobs

mt everestWhen I think of Mount Everest, I think of serene vistas, clean, white snow, and air so crisp you could crack it. Turns out, it's not exactly as pristine as I'd imagined. The world's tallest mountain is covered in poop, human poop, and environmentalists have had enough. Eco Nepal is calling for the installation of port-a-potties on the mountain because they're sick and tired of climbers leaving their biznaz all over the place thinking it will just decompose.

Because guess what: It won't. In those frigid temps, a pile of poop could sit there for years and years. For example, since 2008, waste-management collectors have cleared over 880 pounds of human feces from Mount Everest.


Along with their heavy load of shit bricks, they also scooped up four dead bodies and 14 tons of trash. Is anyone else picturing our greatest peak as some sort of nasty pile of garbage? If I used emoticons, I'd enter a "sad face" here.

Eco Nepal proposes adding port-a-potties to the South Base Camp as one of the first steps to curbing the crappy situation, but obviously, they face opposition. Some say that the potties will never stay up, that the ice melts and moves and they'll just spill over. My argument would be that it'd start to look more like a gross state fair than one of the world's greatest wonders, but I don't know what's better: An eyesore line of Johns, or a mountain littered with poo. Toughie.

Climbers are supposed to carry toilet cans with them, but clearly not everyone is following the rules -- the "leave no trace" motto has been forgotten by a few too many. This story sort of reminds me of Bill Bryson's book A Walk in the Woods, where he tries to walk the entire Appalachian trail. In it he describes the poor condition of the once-revered path and paints a realistic picture of what hiker's might find if they choose to follow the route from Georgia to Maine. Along with great views and beautiful foliage, there's a lot of trash, and lots of crowds, and too many places to spend money on needless knickknacks. I'd use a second "sad face" emoticon here.

I hope Mount Everest protectors and advocates are able to solve this shitty situation they have going on. I'd hate for Bill to have to write about what it's really like on Everest because I prefer the flawless mountain image I have in my mind to the reality that is 880 pounds of poo. Also: Let's make sure this guy isn't allowed anywhere near Nepal.

Are you surprised by Mount Everest's trash and excrement issue?


Photo via Rupert Taylor-Price/Flickr

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