Because of global warming and human activities, Nepal is preparing to relocate its Everest base camp.
The camp, which can accommodate up to 1,500 people during the spring climbing season, is located on the Khumbu glacier, which is progressively diminishing.
An official informed the media that a fresh location has been discovered at a lower elevation, where there is no year-round ice.
Meltwater destabilizes the glacier, according to researchers, and climbers report that crevasses are developing more often at base camp as they sleep.
“We are currently planning for the move,” Taranath Adhikari, director general of Nepal’s tourist agency, told the media. “We will shortly begin engagement with all stakeholders.”
“It’s essentially about responding to the changes we’re witnessing at base camp, and it’s become critical for the mountaineering industry’s long-term viability.”
The camp is now located at a height of 5,364 meters. According to Mr Adhikari, the new one will be 200m to 400m lower.
The plans are based on the suggestions of a Nepalese government committee established to facilitate and oversee climbing in the Everest area.
Scientists have discovered that the Khumbu glacier, like many others in the Himalayas, is quickly melting and shrinking as a result of global warming.
According to a study conducted by Leeds University researchers in 2018, the portion near base camp was thinning at a pace of 1 meter every year.
The majority of the glacier is covered in rocky debris, but there are patches of exposed ice, known as ice cliffs, and it is the melting of the ice cliffs that causes the glacier to become unstable, according to one of the researchers, Scott Watson.
“When ice cliffs melt like that, the boulders and rocks on top of the ice cliffs slide and collapse, and the melting generates water bodies,” he explained.
“As a result, we’re seeing more rock falls and melt-water movement on the glacier’s surface, which may be dangerous.”
The glacier was losing 9.5 million cubic meters of water every year, according to Mr Watson.
A stream in the midst of the base camp, according to mountaineers and Nepali officials, has been rapidly spreading. They also claim that crevasses and fissures on the glacier’s surface are becoming more common than previously.
“We are surprised to see crevasses form overnight at locations where we sleep,” said Nepali army Col Kishor Adhikari, who was living at base camp while heading a clean-up program during the spring climbing season, which runs from March to the end of May.