8-14 May 2015 #757

Cleaning instead of climbing

A multinational group of climbers decided that even if they couldn’t climb Everest, they would clean it up
Damien Francois

After a series of avalanches triggered by the earthquake on 25 April swept down Everest Base Camp, killing 19 and leaving hundreds stranded on the mountain: a multinational group of climbers decided that even if they couldn’t climb the mountain, they would clean it up. 

Led by Major R S Jamwal of the Indian Army, the team included 35 Indian army soldiers, Melanie Southworth from Britain, Damien Francois of Belgium, Abeh Pour Ali from Iran and Americans David Breashers and Svati Narula. The group worked for four days to clean up the eastern side of the Khumbu Glacier. A large amount of debris was blown over the glacier to the base of Nuptse by the avalanche blast and would probably have remained there forever.

Photos: Ritesh Goel

“Our team spent four days collecting over 3,000 kg of garbage, which was handed over to the Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee,” said Ritesh Goel who was part of the Indian army expedition. SPCC Chairman, Ang Dorje, thanked the group for their contribution.

Although the Nepal government did not officially close the mountain to climbing after the earthquake, there was no one to make the route up after the icefall. Without this, it was impossible for the expeditions to make their way up the mountain. The international cleanup team was the last to leave Everest Base Camp this week.

Damien Francois

Read also:

Needed: A Marshall Plan, Editorial

With a little help, Stéphane Huët

Langtang is gone, Sahina Shrestha

Bright lights on a dark day, Mark Zimmerman

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