How to Climb Mount Everest Responsibly

By Ivan PetrenkoMay 5, 2024 12:30 PMNews
Red green and yellow banner
Red green and yellow banner. Source: unsplash

Rising to 29,032 feet on the border between Nepal and Tibet, Mount Everest, known as Sagarmatha to the Sherpa people, has long held a mystical allure for climbers and hikers. In 2024, the mountain will see new rules aiming to protect the Himalayas’ Sherpa communities and guide trekkers towards making a more positive impact. This year, climbers and trekkers are facing new regulations, introduced to improve safety, support local communities, and tackle the growing waste problem on Everest.

New Regulations at Everest Base Camp

Trekkers visiting Everest Base Camp can still do so with a day trip from Gorak Shep, but staying overnight has become more challenging due to new rules banning commercial enterprises at the camp. The rules also require climbers to carry their waste down the mountain, among other measures. However, most trekkers aiming for Base Camp or nearby viewpoints like Kala Patthar will only be affected when visiting the mountaineers' tent village, situated at 17,598 feet beside the Khumbu Glacier.

Climbing to the Summit

Climbing Everest is more demanding than trekking to Base Camp, requiring extensive preparation, support from a mountaineering agency, and costs over £80,000. Expedition teams guide climbers through new rules, including using a feces bag provided by the Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee. The summit attracts around 600 climbers annually, but responsible climbers should ensure their guides and porters are fairly compensated and insured.

Supporting Local Communities

Since April 2023, trekkers in Sagarmatha National Park must hire a licensed Nepali guide, providing employment for Himalayan communities. Hiring local porters and staying in village teahouses also supports the Sherpa people. Trekkers should ensure guides are paid at least $21 per day and porters $18 per day. Responsible international operators like Intrepid and Exodus employ local guides and train future mountain workers.

Protecting the Environment

Climate change is affecting the Himalayas, and trekkers can minimize their impact by taking a bus to Lukla instead of flying and staying in lodges that use solar power or water generators. They should also avoid single-use plastics and bring a reusable water bottle.

Reducing Overtourism and Following Etiquette

Trekkers can spread tourism benefits by staying in smaller villages and exploring quieter routes like the Gokyo Lakes or Three Passes Trek. Respecting local customs, donating responsibly, and following established trails also contribute to responsible trekking.

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