Nepal is preparing to move its Everest base camp because it’s actually melting away.
As reported by the BBC, the location of Everest base camp needs to be moved as global warming and human activity are making it unsafe.
The camp itself is used by up to 1,500 people in the spring climbing season.
It’s currently situated on the rapidly thinning Khumbu glacier, at an altitude of 5,364 metres. The plan is to move base camp somewhere a little more safe – a new site at a lower altitude, where there is no year-round ice. The new one will be 200-400 metres lower.
The decision to move Everest base camp actually follows recommendations of a committee formed by Nepal’s government to facilitate and monitor mountaineering in the region, BBC explained.
While climate change is one big factor, it’s not the only reason the Everest base camp is no longer safe. 1,500 people is a lot of foot traffic. But…
“For instance, we found that people urinate around 4,000 litres at the base camp every day,” Khimlal Gautam, a member of the committee that recommended the move, told the BBC.
When you gotta go, you gotta go. But it isn’t just that, Gautam explained.
“And the massive amount of fuels like kerosene and gas we burn there for cooking and warming will definitely have impacts on the glacier’s ice,” they added.
The BBC report goes on to explain that a 2018 study by researchers from Leeds University showed that the segment close to base camp was thinning at a rate of 1 metre per year. Researchers told the BBC melt-water destabilises the glacier, and climbers say crevasses are increasingly appearing at base camp while they sleep.
“We see increased rock falls and movement of melt-water on the surface of the glaciers that can be hazardous,” the BBC quotes Scott Watson, a researcher at the University of Leeds, as saying. The glacier is losing 9.5 million cubic metres of water per year.
According to the report, the Everest base camp move may happen by 2024.