Everest base camp to shift location after 70 years due to climate change

The camp resembles a pop-up city and climbers will typically spend up to two months in their tents to acclimatise before attempting to scale Mount Everest, the world’s highest mountain, which stands at 8,849 meters above sea level.

Like many Himalayan glaciers, global warming is causing the Khumbu glacier to melt at an alarming rate. One study in 2018 by researchers from Leeds University found the section of the glacier close to the Nepal Everest Base Camp was thinning at approximately one meter, while a stream running through the settlement was widening at an alarming rate.

Even if global efforts to restrict global warming by 2100 are limited to 1.5°C then it is predicted that one-third of the Himalayan glaciers will melt, according to a further 2019 report involving over 350 researchers at the International Center for Integrated Mountain Development in Nepal, a regional organization in the Himalayas.

The Nepali government noted that human activity at the camp is also worsening ice melt. In particular, climbers urinating while staying at base camp or using fuels like kerosene and gas for cooking and heating is contributing to the thinning of the glacier.

“We are now preparing for the relocation and we will soon begin consultation with all stakeholders,” Taranath Adhikari, director general of Nepal’s tourism department, told the BBC.

“It is basically about adapting to the changes we are seeing at the base camp and it has become essential for the sustainability of the mountaineering business itself.”

The move is expected to increase the summit time from Nepal’s Everest Base Camp, which is currently around one week, and could encourage climbers to make the ascent from the less popular Chinese side of the mountain.

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