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Asia, Nepal, Mount Everest, South Col Clean-Up

Mount Everest, South Col Clean-up. A pre-monsoon cleanup effort by 15 Sherpas, headed by Sonam Gyaltsen and organized by the Nepal Mountaineering Association and the Nepalese government, carried away 1800 kilos of rubbish discarded by hundreds of mountaineers from the South Col and lower camps. The trash, which was brought to Kathmandu by helicopter, included oxygen cylinders, food cans, tent poles, broken ladders and plastic bags, plus a piece of an Italian Air Force helicopter that crash-landed between Camps I and II in 1973. They estimated that at least 15,000 kilos of trash remain to be taken off of the Nepalese side of the mountain. (No one is known to have calculated the amount of rubbish that is strewn about the Base Camp area and up and down the mountainside in Tibet.)

The Sherpa team also removed from near Camp II and cremated below Base Camp the sever- al-years-old body of an unidentified man which they found in a sleeping bag wrapped in plastic. The president of the mountaineering association said “Our cleaning campaign next year will concentrate on removing other bodies.”

Elizabeth Hawley