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Mount Everest: The base camp is melting away

Nepal has to move the much-used Mount Everest base camp because of a melting glacier. The move is expected to take place by 2024.

Mount Everest is the highest mountain on earth with a height of over 8848 meters.

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At an altitude of 5364 meters is the southern Mount Everest base camp. Annually it is visited by more than 30 000 people. Now the camp is to be moved to a new location, as reported by the British broadcaster BBC. The reason: The Khumbu Glacier is melting and melting away.

The new location is said to be 200 to 400 meters lower, where there is no year-round ice. Researchers have reported that the meltwater is destabilizing the glacier. Climbers also told the BBC that crevasses were increasingly appearing at base camp while they slept.

Unsurprisingly, climate change is to blame for the melting of the glaciers in this case as well. The Khumbu Glacier is far from the only glacier in the Himalayas that is melting.

At the foot of the highest mountain in the world, a small tent city is set up every year for the mountaineers.

At the foot of the highest mountain in the world, a small tent city is set up every year for the mountaineers.

Eibner / Michael Gruber / Imago

Khumbu Glacier loses 9.5 million cubic meters of water annually

A study led by the University of Leeds concludes that the Himalayan glaciers have lost ice ten times faster in the last few decades than the glaciers gained during the last major expansion 400 to 700 years ago. This period was known as the Little Ice Age.

The Khumbu Glacier alone is said to be losing 9.5 million cubic meters of water annually. The section near the base camp is therefore shrinking at a rate of one meter per year, according to the University of Leeds.

But it’s not just climate change that’s causing the glacier to melt away. A person in charge of the move told the BBC that, for example, it was found that people at the base camp were urinating around 4,000 liters a day. Then there is the large amount of fuels such as kerosene and gas that are burned on site for cooking and heating.

According to statements by the Nepalese officials, the move should take place by 2024. The biggest disadvantage for the climbers is that a lower camp will increase the ascent from base camp to the next stage destination.

A permit from the Chinese government is required to visit Mount Everest North Base Camp.

A permit from the Chinese government is required to visit Mount Everest North Base Camp.

Jigme Dorje/AP/Keystone

Since its first ascent in 1953, Mount Everest has been climbed 10,657 times, from both the Nepalese and Tibetan sides of the mountain. According to official records, 311 people have died so far.

Mountaineering is considered the most important tourism activity in Nepal and is therefore an essential source of income and employment in the country, which is home to eight of the fourteen highest mountains in the world.

Since the corona pandemic, however, the Himalayan state has been more dependent than ever on new sources of income. One of them has been for quite some time the paragliding flight from the roof of the world.

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