Earlier this week, Apa Sherpa reached the summit of Mount Everest for a record-breaking 21st time. Known as the "Super Sherpa", Apa made his ascent with the Eco Everest Expedition, a team with a "leave no trace" outdoor ethic that is dedicated to cleaning up Everest. Since 2008, the group has brought down over 12 tons of garbage for disposal and four human bodies for burial.
The Eco Everest Expedition team leaves Base Camp with the standard technical climbing gear, clothes for various weather conditions, and various eco-friendly hiking gear. These green supplies let them cook using alternative energy sources, purify their water supply without boiling it and pack out their waste. Some of their most essential items include:
- Parabolic solar cooker. These solar cookers are shaped like a mini satellite dish and use a reflective metal to concentrate sunlight into a small cooking area. The intensity of the sunlight heats up the cooking surface and lets you warm water for coffee and cook simple foods that heat quickly. The sun is your only fuel source so you have to cook your hot meals during the day. They require no other fuel source so they are very green and very easy to pack. Solar cookers range in price from $US25 up to $US300. You can save some money by building your own.
- Solar lighting. Gone are the days of lugging around a Coleman propane lantern for light. LED technology and solar power has made it possible to pack a small light that derives it energy form the sun. Hikers can choose from traditional lanterns, pocketable flashlights and even solar-powered LEDs that are built into the brim of a baseball hat. These flashlights are relatively inexpensive and can be bought for under $US50.
- Ultraviolet light pen for water purification. These pocket-sized pens use ultraviolet light to rid water of harmful bacteria, virus and protozoa like Giardia. One popular brand, the Steri-pen, can purify 16 ounces of water in less than a minute. Best of all, the UV pen does not require you carry around a pump and filter and it does not leave a bad aftertaste like a chemical method of sterilisation.
- CMC (Clean Mountain Can). Made by Geo Toilet systems, the Clean Mountain Can is the toilet of choice for hikers that don't want to leave a trail of paper flowers. The small polyethylene canister is designed to take a beating and not spill its contents. It is a very packable 1.1kg and is good for 10-14 uses before it needs to be emptied and cleaned. A single Clean Mountain Can will set you back a cool $US69.
- Restop bags. If you find yourself in an extreme environment and really have to go pee, you will be happy to have a Restop bag in your pack. The disposable urine bag contains absorbent material, deodorants and enzymes that process up to 560 grams of urine at a time. They are designed to be used by men and women (don't ask for a demonstration) and have a much-needed one way valve to prevent spillage. Each bag will cost you about $US2-$3.