The shadow of Mount Everest over the western Himalayas in Nepal
© Kent Karvey/KH Films, Inc./Tandem Stills + Motio
Summiting sustainably. Everest's shadow on the Himalayas
In honor of International Mountain Day, breathe as much of that sweet, crisp mountain air as you can. See the shadow stretching past the Himalayas' craggy skyline? It's cast by Mount Everest, the tallest peak of them all, rising to 29,032 feet above sea level.
Everest is the ideal peak to pair with 2021's Mountain Day theme of sustainable tourism, albeit for regrettable reasons. As the literal top mountaineering destination on Earth, it hosts around 800 climbers each season—and also many seasons' worth of trash, discarded gear, and other waste. When Nepal launched a program to remove a staggering 10 tons of garbage in 2019, they found 3 tons in just the first two weeks.
The case of Everest is a standout reminder that wherever in the wilderness we go, it's our responsibility to leave no trace—or as eco-conscious climbers say: 'What goes up must come down.' Let's do our part to keep our beautiful mountains clean, no matter how tall, and maybe someday Everest will cast its shadow over a land free of trash.