Everest base camp is melting

Nepal relocates Everest base camp from melting Khumbu glacier, the BBC reported.

Research shows that the Khumbu Glacier is rapidly thinning as a result of the changing climate. “We’re seeing increasing rock falls and movement of meltwater on the surface of the glaciers that could be dangerous,” Scott Watson, a researcher at the University of Leeds who studies glaciers, told the BBC

The current location of the base camp is being destabilized by the melting of the ice and is no longer safe. Climbers say cracks appear in the ground overnight, and guides say they expect more avalanches and icefalls at the current location in the future. The new base camp will be about 200 to 400 meters lower – and in a place where there is no ice all year round.

However, climate change is not the only contributing factor: the sheer number of people moving through the base camp is contributing to its destabilization. “For example, we found that people urinate about 4,000 liters every day in the base camp,” Khimlal Gautam, a member of the committee that recommended the move, told the BBC† “And the sheer amount of fuels like kerosene and gas that we burn there for cooking and heating will certainly have an impact on the glacial ice.”

Conditions on Everest generally deteriorate rapidly, not just in base camp. Other glaciers melt and lose ice in a few years that took hundreds of years to develop. It makes the climb more dangerous. The melting also reveals the frozen, dead bodies of past climbers and piles of rubbish.

Nepal’s tourism department has yet to discuss plans for the move with local stakeholders, including local communities that may be affected by the shift. But if all goes according to plan, the base camp could move in 2024.

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