As the mountaineering community prepares to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the conquest of Mount Everest, there is growing concern about temperatures rising, glaciers and snow melting, and weather getting harsh and unpredictable on the world’s tallest mountain.
Since the 8,849-meter (29,032-foot) mountain peak was first scaled by New Zealander Edmund Hillary and his Sherpa guide Tenzing Norgay in 1953, thousands of climbers have reached the peak and hundreds of lost their lives.
The deteriorating conditions on Everest are raising concerns for the mountaineering community and the people whose livelihoods depend on the flow of visitors, AP reported.
The Sherpa community, who grew up on the foothills of the snow-covered mountain they worship as the mother of the world, is the most startled.
The effects of climate change and global warming have been severe in the high Himalayan area, said Ang Tshering, a prominent Sherpa who has been campaigning for years to save the Himalayan peaks and surrounding areas from the effects of global warming.
“The rising temperature of the Himalayan area is more than the global average, so the snow and ice is melting fast and the mountain is turning black, the glaciers are melting and lakes are drying up.”
Other Sherpas also said they have seen the changes in the Khumbu Glacier at the foot of Everest, near the base camp.
Recent research found that Mount Everest’s glaciers have lost 2,000 years of ice in just the past 30 years.
Researchers found that the highest glacier on the mountain, the South Col Glacier, has lost more than 54 meters (177 feet) of thickness in the past 25 years.
Nepal’s government and mountaineering community plan to celebrate Everest Day on May 29 with a parade around Kathmandu and a ceremony honoring the climbers and veteran Sherpa guides.