Nepal debates shifting of Everest base camp to safer site

Nepal debates shifting of Everest base camp to safer site

KATHMANDU: Nepal is debating the relocation of the Everest base camp due to increasing human activity and global warming threat that is making it unsafe. But officials said that no decision has been made so far.

Tourism Department Director Surya Prasad Upadhyaya said that the issue of relocation of Everest base camp is under discussion but no decision has taken so far.

“There was some buzz about it but no decision has been taken and it is under consideration,” Upadhyay told IANS.

According to some media reports, due to the looming threat of climate change and increasing human behaviour, the government of Nepal is planning to relocate the Everest base camp from 200 to 400 metres lower than the present one. The current base camp is located 5,400 metres where every year over 1,500 people gather and live in temporary makeshift camps for weeks during the spring climbing seasons. The base camp was first established and recognised in 1950.

According to the BBC, a new site is to be found at a lower altitude, where there is no year-round ice asd researchers say melt-water destabilises the glacier, and climbers say crevasses are increasingly appearing at base camp while they sleep.

“We are now preparing for the relocation and we will soon begin consultation with all stakeholders,” Nepal Tourism Department’s Director General Taranath Adhikari 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 current base camp is in Khumbu region where one active glacier is located. The Khumbu glacier, like many other glaciers in the Himalayas, is rapidly melting and thinning in the wake of global warming, scientists have found. The Khumbu Icefall stretches from 5,500 to 5,800 metres and lies just above the Everest base camp, where hundreds of climbers set temporary tents annually during the spring climbing season. The first challenge for every climber is to tackle the deadly Icefall.

To date, the Khumbu Icefall is considered one of the most dangerous climbing spots in the world. Nepal Mountaineering Association President Santa Bir Lama told IANS that there is no plan to relocate the Everest base camp as reported by media. Sometimes when ice falls happens, the people in the base camp shift in secured places which is natural but shifting the base camp entirely is not possible, he said.

” Where do we create the new base camp after relocating the present one Already climbers, posters and their support staff do shift their makeshift camp if ice fall happens. There can be minor shifts during the heavy icefall but it is not true that the entire base camp will be shifted. It is not possible too,” said Lama.


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