Sign up FAST! Login

Climate Change Affects Mount Everest

Stashed in: New Yorker, Climbing, Weather!

To save this post, select a stash from drop-down menu or type in a new one:

Climbers had warily eyed the serac that collapsed on April 18 for years. In fact, a major expedition outfitter canceled its climbing season in 2012 because of it—a decision vividly reconstructed by Jon Krakauer in The New Yorker last week:

For many years, the most lucrative commercial guiding operation on Mt. Everest has been a company called Himalayan Experience, or Himex, which is owned by a New Zealand mountaineer named Russell Brice. In the spring of 2012, more than a month into the climbing season, he became increasingly worried about a bulge of glacial ice three hundred yards wide that was frozen tenuously to Everest’s West Shoulder, hanging like a massive sword of Damocles directly over the main route up the Nepal side of the mountain.

Ice frequently falls from this hanging glacier on the West Shoulder, and traversing the Icefall has always been treacherous. "Ice doctors" who install ladders and ropes in the area have long adjusted and readjusted the infrastructure in response to the collapses, big and small, that occur there on a daily basis. But experts believe these dangers are multiplying as average temperatures rise. In Krakauer's words, "the pronounced warming of the Himalayan climate in recent years has made the Icefall more unstable than ever, and there is still no way to predict when a serac is going to topple over."

So when you couple this with the other story about how dangerous it is for the Sherpas I start to get a feeling about how interconnected everything truly is.

You May Also Like: