SI Vault
Edited by Jack McCallum
November 29, 1993
Zeke and Lamb
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November 29, 1993


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Much has happened to Mount Everest in the 40 years since Sir Edmund Hillary and his Sherpa guide, Tenzing Norgay, first scaled it, almost all of it bad. Climbing the 29,028-foot peak has become commonplace—more than half of the 500 people to reach the top have done it in the last five years—and so, sadly, has littering. Environmentalists estimate that 50 tons of rubbish are scattered across Everest, some of it predictable (tents, oxygen bottles), some of it unpredictable (baseball bats, Frisbees), some of it downright macabre (dozens of corpses, preserved by the cold).

"The problem of too much rubbish and too many people is quite substantial," Hillary told The Washington Post. But Sir Edmund has a plan: "At a minimum, everything should be put in a single pile, rather than spread around carelessly, and the bodies could be buried underneath it."

[This article contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]

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