Climate change making Everest more dangerous: Sherpa

May 25, 2010 by Sophia Tamot
Nepalese climber Apa Sherpa poses near the Hillary Step while pushing for the summit of Mount Everest on May 22. Climate change is making Mount Everest more dangerous to climb, Sherpa said in Kathmandu Tuesday after breaking his own record by making a 20th ascent of the world's highest peak.

Climate change is making Mount Everest more dangerous to climb, a Nepalese Sherpa said in Kathmandu Tuesday after breaking his own record by making a 20th ascent of the world's highest peak.

Apa Sherpa, who dedicated his latest climb to the impact of global warming on the , said he was disturbed by the visible changes on the mountain caused by rising temperatures.

"The snow along the slopes had melted, exposing the bare rocks underneath, which made it very difficult for us to walk up the slope as there was no snow to dig our crampons into," he told AFP on Tuesday.

"This has made the trail very dangerous for all climbers."

Apa, 50, has been nicknamed the "super Sherpa" for the apparent ease with which he climbs Everest, but he was visibly exhausted as he spoke to journalists in the Nepalese capital three days after reaching the summit.

He led an expedition aimed at raising awareness of the impact of in the Himalayas and clearing up the tonnes of rubbish left on the mountain by previous expeditions.

The team brought down 4.8 tonnes of rubbish from the mountain, some of which will be displayed at a festival to be held next month in the Everest region to highlight the problems of global warming.

Around 250 people scaled Mount Everest from the south side this year, Nepal's mountaineering department said Tuesday, as heavy snow brought the brief climbing season to an early close.

They said the weather on Everest had deteriorated since snow began falling on Sunday, ending a climbing season that has set a record for the youngest person ever to reach the top as well as the highest number of summits.

"We have come to the end of the Everest season," mountaineering department official Tilak Pandey told AFP by telephone from Everest Base Camp on the south side of the mountain, which straddles Nepal and China.

"The spring season can often go on until the end of May, but the weather has got worse since Sunday. As far as we know, there are no more teams left to climb this season."

Mountaineering blogs reported a rush for the summit over the weekend as expedition leaders tried to ensure as many climbers as possible made it to the top before the weather closed in.

An estimated 200 people reached the summit on Saturday, the busiest day, when 13-year-old American Jordan Romero became the youngest person ever to climb Everest, tackling the mountain from the quieter north side.

Around 2,900 people have scaled since Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay became the first people to conquer the 8,848-metre (29,028-foot) eak in 1953.

Most climbers make their attempt in late April and May, when a small window between spring and the summer monsoon offers the best conditions for the ascent, although it is also possible to do so in early autumn.

Pandey said 2010 had been a successful season on Everest, with no serious casualties, although two people had to be airlifted off the mountain on Tuesday, one with altitude sickness and another with a minor injury.

"The summit rate this year was very encouraging. Most of those who applied for a permit, or around 250 climbers, were able to make it to the top," he said.

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2.6 / 5 (7) May 25, 2010
Yep, Sherpas are the top experts on climate change, or maybe, second to Eskimos.
5 / 5 (2) May 25, 2010
Any chance of a tourist road to the summit?
3.4 / 5 (5) May 25, 2010
maybe one of the commie propagandists that comment on physorg can explain to the nice sherpa the difference between climate and weather.
3.5 / 5 (4) May 26, 2010
@RJB26 - there is no confusion here. Your comment appears racist. Sherpas are sharpies, my good man. He understands fully the impact that climate change is having on the snow cover near the peak during climbing season, making climbing more difficult. He also points out that the climbing season is over because the weather no longer permits safe mountain climbing at those altitudes this time of year. He perceives a clear distinction between climate change and weather. Were he to read your comment, he might justifiably point out that your reading comprehension skills are beneath his.
1 / 5 (1) May 26, 2010
hmmm and heres a commie propagandist right on cue, replete with the commie propagandist battle cry: RAAAAACCCCCCIIIIISSSSSSST! this a poorly written article. take this quote for example.

"The spring season can often go on until the end of May, but the weather has got worse since Sunday."

so the season can "OFTEN GO" to the end of may. we are suppose to believe global warming is the reason why the season which can "often go" to the end of may ended a week early this year.

and what is the reason the season closed early?

"heavy snow brought the brief climbing season to an early close."

now riddle me this commie propagandist, is heavy snow fall climate or weather?

my reading comprehension is just fine "my good man"
maybe you should think twice before defending such an obviously poorly written and contradictory article. either heavy snowfall closed the season or melting snow in which crampons cannot find purchase closed the season. you and the author cant have it both ways.
3 / 5 (2) May 29, 2010
Troll is obvious troll.
Lemme think, he's climbed it 20 times, and you've been there how many times? Somehow, I think he'd have a better idea about the local conditions... As far as it being AGW, it doesn't really matter, snow melt from altitude is reducing, agriculture will suffer.

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