Nepalese army retrieves four bodies, 11 tonnes of trash from Mt Everest

One of the peaks in the Himalayas

KATHMANDU, June 11: Nepalese soldiers have retrieved four bodies and a skeleton from Mount Everest and the neighbouring peaks of Lhotse and Nuptse during a cleaning operation, reported German news agency (dpa). 

The recruits have collected 11 tonnes of rubbish since April.

At 8,849 metres, Mount Everest is the highest mountain in the world and has also gained the sad notoriety of being the world’s highest rubbish dump.

Tonnes of broken tents and clothing, food packaging, cookers, empty water bottles, beer cans and oxygen bottles lie there, left behind by thousands of adventurers. 

There is also a lot of human waste – and dozens of corpses, some of which mountaineers even use as trail markers.

When people die on the mountain, they are often left behind. This is because recovering a frozen corpse is difficult and expensive – it costs between €30,000-€60,000 (US$32,000-US$64,500), according to US mountaineer and blogger Alan Arnette. 

In most cases, a team of six to 10 experienced Sherpas with oxygen cylinders is deployed and a helicopter flies the body off the mountain. However, some families also leave their deceased loved ones there because they loved the mountain so much.