As global warming and human activity are making it unsafe, Nepal is preparing to move its Everest Base Camp. Situated on the rapidly thinning Khumbu glacier, the Everest Base camp is used by up to 1500 people in the spring season.
The Nepalese government is planning to find a site at a lower altitude where there is no year-round ice. Due to melt water destabilising the glacier, climbers say crevasses are appearing at the base camp while they sleep.
As reported by BBC, Taranath Adhikari, director general of Nepal’s tourism department said, “We are now preparing for the relocation and we will soon begin consultation with all stakeholders.”
“It is basically about adapting to the changes we are seeing at the base camp and it has become essential for the sustainability of the mountaineering business itself,” he added.
Mr. Adhikari said that the current camp sits at an altitude 5,364m while the new camp will be 200 to 400 metres lower. The plans are afoot after a committee formed by Nepal’s government to facilitate and monitor mountaineering in the Everest region made the recommendation.
Scientists have discovered that the Khumbu glacier is rapidly melting and thinning due to global warming. In 2018, researchers from Leeds University found that the glacier was losing 9.5 million cubic metres of water. The researchers also found that the area close to base camp was thinning at a rate of 1m per year.
Mountaineers and authorities at the base camp have found that a stream flowing through the base camp has been expanding every year.
“We surprisingly see crevasses appearing overnight at places where we sleep,” said Col Kishor Adhikari of the Nepali army to the BBC.
Tshering Tenzing Sherpa, Everest base camp manager with the Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee (SPCC), completely agreed saying that, “loud noises could also frequently be heard caused by the ice moving or rocks falling.”
Nepali officials claim that the move to the new base camp may only happen by 2024. “We have assessed the technical and environmental aspects of the base camp, but before we relocate it we will have to discuss this with local communities, considering other aspects like their culture,” said Mr Adhikari adding that the move will only happen after discussions with every stakeholder.