China is launching a major cleanup of the north side of Mt. Everest this spring, which will reduce the number of permits available from the Tibetan side by a third, to less than 300, the Associated Press is reporting. As the popularity of the world’s highest peak has exploded, so, too, has the impact and trash on the mountain. A few years ago, noted guide Adrian Ballinger of Alpenglow Expeditions told Outside, “The only good part about the human waste situation above Base Camp is that shit freezes fast at 8,000 meters. Beyond that, it’s an inexcusable embarrassment. If you walk from one tent to another in Camp II or IV, you will step in shit. If you melt snow from the camp areas, you are drinking shit.” The Chinese effort includes the delicate task of removing bodies of climbers who’ve died on the peak.

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