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Keeping Mountains Clean Just Takes Commitment

Keeping Mountains Clean Is Not Hard, It Just Takes Commitment

The mountains that we guide on are some of the most spectacular and beautiful mountains on the planet. The inherent beauty of all of these mountains is something that, as recreators and explorers, we need to protect. We are committed to practicing leave no trace principles to the best of our ability on all of our expeditions and is committed to creating 0 waste on our North Side Everest Expeditions.

When it comes to managing trash high on 8,000m peaks, it starts with a commitment to create no further waste. On all of our expeditions, we bring down all of the tents, trash, and waste from our high camps to be brought off of the mountain. This means having experienced, strong high altitude workers to help carry down hundreds of pounds of equipment from the higher camps. Once it’s back in base camp, this means having the thousands of pounds of trash and human waste brought completely off of the mountain. This means not cutting corners and actually practicing leave no trace principles.


Alpenglow team carrying down trash and gear back down to base camp

The focus on managing waste has improved drastically over the last decade, on both the North and the South sides of Everest, but the advancements in waste management are far greater on the North Side. Today, as the benefits of climbing from the Chinese side become more clear (a safer climbing route and less crowding), China is aggressively acting to manage their side of the mountain. I believe this management is desperately needed, and while each of China’s actions may not be perfect, they are moving in the right direction. These increased regulations create a cleaner, more sustainable environment on the North Side.

There are government officials in both Advanced Base Camp and Base Camp ensuring that waste is being managed in both camps. There are regulations around the removal of human waste, restrictions on the use of diesel generators for power, and fee’s that are paid by every operator on the mountain to help pay to keep the mountain clean. There are no regulations like this on the south side of Everest.

We are committed to doing our utmost to keep the mountains we climb on clean. We’re committed ethically and financially, and we only climb from the North Side of Everest so that we can climb from the cleaner side of the mountain.