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Friday, 10 August, 2001, 14:28 GMT 15:28 UK
Is Mount Everest too crowded?
During the spring climbing season 100 climbers and Sherpa guides reached Everest's tallest peak.

Amongst these were the record-breaking trio who became the youngest, the oldest and the first blind man to reach the top.

But since Sir Edmund Hillary's first recorded conquest of the mountain in 1953, over 800 people have conquered the mountain with about 180 fatalities.

Congestion has become a problem - on one day in May nearly 40 people reached the top of the world - another record. And the tons of litter dumped on its slopes have earned its moniker of the "world's highest garbage site."

How can Nepal persuade people to explore another 150 Himalayan peaks it is opening up to boost is flagging tourist industry? Tell us what you think.

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.


Your reaction

I think it is a great thing that the Nepali government has decided to open up 150 other peaks for expedition. For every trekker who wants to conquer Mt Everest simply to return home and tell everyone, there are many who enjoy trekking for the experience, for views and to explore the unexplored. By opening up other peaks, these people now have a chance to experience a huge part of the country, hitherto left ignored.
Shalini Tater, UK


The upper slopes of Everest are lifeless areas of rock and snow

David, Japan
Complaints about rubbish on Everest are foolish romantic notions, with no basis in fact. The upper slopes of Everest are lifeless areas of rock and snow. From a distance they are magnificent but close up they are harsh and completely inhospitable. What difference does rubbish make to this? None. In fact it is the ideal place to dump rubbish - keep it away from land needed by living flora and fauna.
David, Japan

Sagarmatha is the pride of my country and it is in our hands to protect it from pollution. The Government should put a quota on the number of people who are allowed to climb it each year. There should be a checkpoint near the base camp to inspect whether climbers are carrying pollutants such as plastics and cans. It should be made mandatory for climbers to bring back all the goods they take. If people can't respect the mountain then they do not have the right to climb over it.
Raghu Shrestha, Nepal

Most climbers who have scaled Mount Everest are from European nations. Very few have been from the two giants, India and China between which Everest is sandwiched. It is time locals from Nepal, India and China showed some courage and undertook the cleaning efforts for a mountain that has been a major source of spirituality in their cultures.
Uloopi, India


Would the mountain be cleaner if it was in America or Europe?

Amalan Alavandar, India
It is very odd that western climbers who come from regions where their homes and towns are kept clean do not seem to care about Everest and its community. Why? Would the mountain be cleaner if it was in America or Europe?
Amalan Alavandar, India

The Nepalese government should regularise the number of climbers. As there is a lot of environmental pollution it needs to take some strict measures to protect the territory. Mountain climbers also need to understand this issue.
Aniruddh, USA

Require teams to register with the authorities and leave their passports behind. Weigh the supplies being carried by the team. Estimate the return amount and penalize teams at a high rate of say 1000 $/lb of trash left behind. If it is beyond a certain limit, then imprisonment or other punishments can be given. The revenue generated can be used in cleaning operations run by the authorities.
Devesh, USA


The government of Nepal should license an organization especially for maintaining the clean-up of Mt. Everest areas

Nanda Prasad Limbu, Manama City, Bahrain
In my opinion, the government of Nepal should license an establishment or a organization especially for maintaining the clean-up of Mt. Everest areas. I don't think Mt. Everest is crowded. The more climbers coming from abroad the better income for Nepal.
Nanda Prasad Limbu, Manama City, Bahrain

Tourism and especially mountaineering has been the greatest point of interest to boost the economy of Nepal. Mt. Everest has only been the focal point for the climbers because of the uncalculated approach of the Nepalese government till now.
Rajan Kafle, Nepal

It's the highest peak in the world so everybody wants to climb it, that's natural. Put some conditions to climbers like when returning they should bring back some percentage of waste with them. If they fail fine them. Increase the deposit money for climbers. The government can use this money to send special groups for cleaning.
Viji Palaniappan, USA / INDIA


I don't think it is fair to accuse the local populace of being "too commercial"

Suzanne A. Delaney, USA
I don't believe that raising the fee is going to limit the number of climbers; it will simply make it more difficult for serious mountaineers to raise the money and force them to look for even more commercial sponsors, while wealthy, unskilled climbers will be able to buy their way onto the mountain. Limiting the number of permits might be the best idea. I don't think it is fair to accuse the local populace of being "too commercial". The average per-capita income in Nepal is about $165.00, and one can hardly blame people for wanting to make a living.
Suzanne A. Delaney, USA

Nepal can declare Everest as "out of bounds" until multiple independent agencies verify that trash has been cleaned. Tourism in Nepal should be jointly developed with India so that other peaks are explored and climbed. Stiff fines should be imposed for garbage left behind based on a security deposit to be made prior to climbing.
Jayant Mehta, USA


Most professional climbers always clean up after themselves

Robin Appaswamy, Canada
If only teams and solo climbers with merit were allowed on the mountain then perhaps it would receive the respect it deserves. Most professional climbers always clean up after themselves. "Tourists" on the other hand are the source of garbage.
Robin Appaswamy, Canada

I think the number of climbers per year (or season) on Everest should be limited to stop congestion and the permits given via competitive bids. "Everest is for sale", it's about time we accepted it, so why not go all the way. Also pass a law in which expeditions will have to bring back all the garbage they produce. Any group failing to do so would not be allowed permits from then on.
Bikash, Nepal

Nepal should raise the price of tickets for climbing with the highest tag on Everest. The increase in price will naturally bring down the demand.
Siddharth Raina, USA/ India


Everest will always be THE mountain people aspire to

Leuan, Wales
Everest will always be THE mountain people aspire to, not because it's the hardest, but because it's the highest and the one that people the world over recognise. Who wants to come home from a trek to tell their friends "I climbed such and such" and for no-one to have heard about that place? Fine it needs to be cleaned up, but it shouldn't be taken away from climbers who may only ever have one chance of going for it.
Leuan, Wales

A great thing would be for trekking companies to set up "Clean Everest Expeditions". What a great way to contribute to the global community, the environment and to fulfil the adventurous bug within. As Nepal is dependent on tourism as its primary, non-aid income, putting an end to climbing, even temporarily, would only be a detriment to Nepal and Nepalis.
George Bonnin, California

Perhaps a requirement for climbing Mt Everest should be that every climbing team is required to take a number of sherpas whose sole responsibility is to bring down trash generated by the climbing team. These "clean up" sherpas would come hand in hand with the climbing permit required for Mt Everest, and the Nepalese government can enforce it according to their requirements.
A. Rastogi, India

I agree with the idea what Edwin has said about using Sagarmatha and Chomolongma instead of Everest. But how practical is this going to be? How many people are going to recognise that name when Everest is the only symbol of Nepal for people outside in the West.
Suva Shakya, USA

The mountain needs time to recover. Why not put a moratorium on all climbing for the next 10 years and only allowing clean-up crews to go and mop up nearly a century's worth of human-generated rubbish? The Nepalese Government is too money-minded and the local populace unfortunately too commercial for the mountain. It is ironic that the Sherpas who hold the mountain in the highest respect have contributed so much to its downfall. Another thing to do would be to allow the mountain to be called "Sagaramatha" or "Chomolongma" both of which give it a more divine aura as opposed to naming it after yet another colonialist. It is time to respect local names and their environments.
Edwin Odom, USA

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See also:

24 May 01 | South Asia
Nepalese boy claims Everest record
30 Apr 01 | South Asia
Fastest Everest climber killed
01 Apr 01 | South Asia
Everest clean-up mounted
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