The Dirty Truth: Everest’s Growing Human Waste Crisis

(Last Updated On: )

Mount Everest, Earth’s highest peak, faces a unique environmental challenge: human waste left by climbers. To combat this, the Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee has introduced special poo bags to help climbers carry their waste back to base camp. This initiative aims to preserve the pristine conditions of the mountain and promote responsible climbing practices for the future. Intrigued?

The Highest Peak

shutterstock 354041861 1

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Vixit

Mount Everest stands at an epic 8,849m and is found in the Himalayas in Nepal. Being the highest mountain on the planet makes it appealing to serious climbers. All these visitors have one thing in common – what they leave behind.

Nature’s Tourist Attraction

shutterstock 232064431 1

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Yongyut Kumsri

Approximately 800 people reach the summit each year. Unfortunately, every single one needs to poop.

No Easy Feat

shutterstock 171375845 1

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Meiqianbao

While around 40,000 people hike to Everest’s base camp each year, only around 2% of them reach the top, which shows that this is a serious undertaking. Taking one of the 18 routes to the top requires a permit and a professional guide or sherpa.

A Marathon, Not a Sprint

shutterstock 184288412

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Yongyut Kumsri

The trek to the base camp takes around 19 days, and the rest of the journey to the summit can be expected to take around 40 days. 

Human Nature

shutterstock 1573462525 1

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Tara Shankar Snai

That means a lot of strength, planning, and poop. According to the BBC, each climber will deposit around 250g a day, meaning a whopping total of 8,000kg a year.

Where Does It All Go?

shutterstock 1412991320 1

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Slepitssskaya

Unsurprisingly, there isn’t any plumbing on Everest. Beyond the base camp, one generally digs a hole. However, some parts of the mountain are more rock than snow, meaning there is nowhere to dig. This means seeing “deposits” in plain view on the mountainside isn’t uncommon. And those 8,000kg certainly add up!

Time for Action

shutterstock 176969939

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Olga Danylenko

The municipality of Pasang Llhamu contains most of Everest, and its officials know the problem. They note that the extreme temperatures on Everest prevent the waste from degrading, meaning it needs to be proactively dealt with. 

Not Just Everest

shutterstock 208309351 1

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Virrage Images

The nature of the issue means that it affects not only Everest but other peaks, too. There are 14 peaks in the world over 8,000m; those with regular visitors are all familiar with this sticky issue. 

A Plan of Prevention

shutterstock 1276205200

Image Credit: Shutterstock / fizkes

Thankfully, the fact that this problem has been seen elsewhere means there is already a solution ready to go. The NGO Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee (SPCC) is obtaining 8,000 poo bags from the US.

Not Just a Bag

shutterstock 1698565150

Image Credit: Shutterstock / foras05

These bags aren’t like the ones you might take when you walk the dog; they are specially designed for these conditions. They contain chemicals and powders to combat the odor and solidify the contents so they can be returned to base camp with minimal inconvenience. 

Bring It Back

shutterstock 2439465799

Image Credit: Shutterstock / branislavpudar

The plan is to give each climber two bags for their trip, each to be used 5-6 times, according to the SPCC and While perhaps not the most pleasant thought, carrying your waste and returning it to the base camp will make a huge difference.

A Growing Problem

shutterstock 1909533559

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Dmitry Molchanov

With the growing popularity of activities like climbing, hiking, and “conquering” nature, it’s almost guaranteed that Everest will see an increase in the number of visitors each year, meaning this problem will only worsen if it is not handled now.

A Government Plan

shutterstock 753230

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Jason Maehl

Nepal’s government has already implemented several restrictions to ensure climbers’ safety and protect their mountains. The “poop” plan will work alongside these measures, such as the requirement to use a licensed trekking guide.

Sherpas Are Essential

shutterstock 696261436

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Vixit

No one climbs Everest without the help of a Sherpa. One Sherpa, Kami Rita of Nepal, holds the record – reaching the summit an impressive 29 times.

A Magical Location

shutterstock 383149141

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Vixit

Everest offers stunning views and a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but the backdrop of Nepal shouldn’t be overlooked. Nepal has National Parks, 8 cultural world heritage sites, year-round festivals, and incredible cuisine.

More to See

shutterstock 2150066949

Image Credit: Shutterstock / saiko3p

If you are lucky enough to visit Nepal, consider visiting Pokhara, a city at 900m with some beautiful cultural sights. Alternatively, Chitwan National Park offers the chance to see some rare and protected wildlife.

Mountains Galore

shutterstock 1214822170 1

Image Credit: Shutterstock / jpanv

Nepal boasts 8 of the world’s 14 “eight-thousanders” (mountains over 8,000m), meaning Everest isn’t the only place to get a climbing fix. 

Everest’s History

shutterstock 360405197

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Olga Danylenko

You can hardly miss the tallest peak in the world, but how do you confirm that it is, in fact, the tallest? Mathematician Radhanath Sikdar calculated Everest’s height in 1852, but it was named after Sir George Everest, who gave it the catchy moniker “Peak 15”, according to


shutterstock 644176402 1 1

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Olga Danylenko

In 1856, Everest was measured at 8,840m. So, where do the other 8m come from?! Due to the continuous shift of tectonic plates, Everest grows around 44mm a year.

A Promising Future

shutterstock 330144503 1

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Yongyut Kumsri

Thanks to the efforts of various charities and government bodies, we can expect Mount Everest to become a cleaner and safer place. Perhaps it’s time to start training to conquer one of nature’s most exciting challenges!

Unveiling the 21 Places Single Women Should Avoid at All Costs

shutterstock 2346225623 1

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Carles Iturbe

Traveling solo as a woman? It’s an adventure with its own set of challenges. From street safety to discrimination, some spots are riskier than others. We’ve used the Women’s Danger Index and other resources to craft a guide that helps you choose your destinations wisely. Unveiling the 21 Places Single Women Should Avoid at All Costs

Ghost Roads of America: 12 Haunted Highways with Tales of Terror and Creepy Rest Stops

shutterstock 144997492 1 1

Image Credit: Shutterstock / donvictorio

Discover chilling tales from the America’s spookiest roads complete with ghostly figures and eerie phenomena in this thrilling guide to paranormal hotspots—perfect for adventure seekers and ghost enthusiasts. Ready for a supernatural road trip? Ghost Roads of America: 12 Haunted Highways with Tales of Terror and Creepy Rest Stops

18 High-Crime Cities in the US You Should Avoid

pexels adrian newell 14177239 1

Image Credit: Pexels / Adrian Newell

American cities dazzle with culture and history, yet rising crime rates demand cautious exploration. This guide ensures you stay informed and safe. 18 High-Crime Cities in the US You Should Avoid

20 Things That Americans Tolerate That Canadians Would Never Accept

shutterstock 2270504427 1

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Nicoleta Ionescu

Canadians often find American customs ranging from amusing to astonishing. From the quirky to the confounding, let’s explore the U.S. through a Canadian lens—maple syrup and poutine in hand. Get ready for a journey that’s both odd and insightful, seen from the Great White North. 20 Things That Americans Tolerate That Canadians Would Never Accept

22 of America’s Most Charming Towns

shutterstock 284980904 1

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Nejdet Duzen

Hit the road and discover America’s coziest towns, real-life versions of those quaint settings from your favorite novels. Explore charming streets where every storefront tells a story and locals greet everyone with a hello. Ready to dive into the charm? 22 of America’s Most Charming Towns

The post The Dirty Truth: Everest’s Growing Human Waste Crisis republished on Passing Thru with permission from The Green Voyage.

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Meiqianbao .

Tips for Trip Success

Book Your Flight
Find an inexpensive flight by using Kayak, a favorite of ours because it regularly returns less expensive flight options from a variety of airlines.

Book Your Hotel or Special Accommodation
We are big fans of We like their review system and photos. If we want to see more reviews and additional booking options, we go to Expedia.

You Need Travel Insurance!
Good travel insurance means having total peace of mind. Travel insurance protects you when your medical insurance often will not and better than what you get from your credit card. It will provide comprehensive coverage should you need medical treatment or return to the United States, compensation for trip interruption, baggage loss, and other situations.Find the Perfect Insurance Plan for Your Tripimage 9133145 14418597

PassingThru is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

To view PassingThru’s privacy policy, click here.

+ posts

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.