Nepal is preparing to move Everest base camp as global warming and human activity make it unsafe, the BBC reports.
The camp, used by up to 1,500 people during the spring climbing season, is located on the fast-melting Khumbu Glacier.
A new location is to be found at a lower altitude where there is no ice all year round, an official told the BBC.Researchers say meltwater is destabilizing the glacier and climbers say more are appearing at base camp cracks.
“We are now preparing for resettlement and will soon begin consultations with all stakeholders,” Taranath Adhikari, director general of Nepal’s tourism department, told the BBC. The camp is currently at an altitude of 5,364 meters. The new camp will be 200m to 400m lower, Adhikari said.
A new location is to be found at a lower altitude
The plans follow the recommendations of a committee formed by the Nepalese government to facilitate and monitor climbing in the Everest region. The Khumbu Glacier, like many other Himalayan glaciers, is melting rapidly as a result of global warming, scientists have found.
A study by Leeds University researchers in 2018 showed that the segment near the base camp is shrinking at a rate of 1m per year. The glacier loses 9.5 million cubic meters of water per year.
Climbers and Nepali authorities say a stream right in the middle of the base camp has been steadily expanding. They also say that cracks and crevices on the surface of the glacier appear more frequently than before.
Most climbers still climb Everest from the Nepalese side
Also, loud noises can often be heard, caused by the movement of ice or falling rocks.
A senior member of the committee that recommended the base camp move, Khimlal Gautam, said the presence of so many people in the base camp contributed to the problem.
“For example, we found that people urinate around 4,000 liters in the base camp every day,” he said, writes Mediafax.
“And the massive amount of fuels like kerosene and gas that we burn there for cooking and heating will certainly impact the ice glacier.”
Most climbers still climb Everest from the Nepalese side, but the number starting from China is increasing.