by Work the World

Lots of our students want to trek up to Everest base camp - it is one of the big highlights of a trip to Nepal. Their stories and photos are amazing at this height, so just imagine what it must feel like to reach the upper parts of the mountain........well it's not quite as you would hope.

The colorful flags on top of the mountain Kala Pattar. Behind the prayer flags can be seen Mount Everest and Nuptse. Photo is taken in the Himalayas

Recent reports would have it that it's a view littered with, well litter. And bodies. And abandoned kit. Everest is apparently the biggest rubbish tip in the world because it is too dangerous to trek to the upper limits and attempt to bring the trash and bodies back down.

There have been lots of clean up missions in the past, but now a group of Nepali's are heading out to what is termed "the death zone". The name sounds scary, largely because it is - the team will need to climb up to more than 8,000 metres (26, 246ft) to reach an area that has never before been tackled. At this height there is a third as much oxygen than at sea level and incredibly low temperatures - it is easy to perish. Namgyal Sherpa, leader of the Extreme Everest Expedition 2010, has climbed Everest several times. He told the Guardian that no one had tackled the problem at that height. "This is the first time we are cleaning the death zone. It is very difficult and dangerous".

In 2008 reports suggested 4109 ascents had been made by 2700 individuals and this increases every year. Although people have become far better at bringing their rubbish down with them, largely because the Nepalese government imposed strict rules requiring visitors to keep the peak clean or risk losing a substantial deposit, in the past climbers (quite understandably) felt their drained bodies could not carry all the empty oxygen tanks, gas cannisters, broken tents and trekking poles as well as rubbish back down the mountain. Despite the drop in new litter though, the mountain is messier than ever. Global warming has melted some of the ice and snow, revealing old kit, rubbish and bodies from as far back as Edmund Hillary's time. Temperatures have preserved the bodies, and will continue to do so, so it's important that they are removed from the mountain. "I have seen three corpses lying there for years," Namgyal said.

The team are due to set out this week on their dangerous mission.


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