Everest North Side Goes Green

The thin air on Everest North Side will be a little cleaner next season. Eco-friendly, golf-like buggies driven by locals will be the only tourist transportation allowed into Base Camp.  “It will help reduce pollution in the area and raise the income of locals,” said one official.

Unlike in the Khumbu valley in Nepal, a new paved road leads all the way to Everest’s North Side BC. While most expeditions avoid that allegedly inhospitable place, and once acclimatized, settle down at advanced base camp at 6,200m, tourists flock to the end of the tarmac to enjoy the views of Rongbuk monastery and the north face of Chomolungma in the background.

The number of visitors and the vehicles carrying them have increased dramatically in the last few years, jeopardizing the fragile environment. More than 100,000 people, including 40,000 mountaineers and hikers, visited the North Side Base Camp and surrounding areas in 2017, according to the Xinhua News Agency.

“Some 2.26 tons of human feces, one ton of mountaineering trash and 5.24 tons of household waste have been removed from the world’s highest peak since April,” Tingri authorities state. “A further 8 tons of trash were removed between 5,200 meters and 6,500 meters above sea level.”

As for the electric buggies, the main concern now is how to place the charging posts to minimize their visual impact, and keeping the batteries away from water and other disruptive sources.