Every year, some 1,200 people make a mad dash for the summit of Mount Everest during the climbing season that begins in May – taking on the arduous, often congested route to the world’s highest peak that most will not complete and some will not survive.
Working against them: temperatures far below zero, altitude sickness with effects that range from disorientation to death, and the ever-present threat of frostbite. More than 200 corpses of ill-fated climbers line the mountain’s slopes, a constant reminder of those climbers’ fatal missteps.
So it should probably come as no surprise if people traipsing up a mountain with its own death zone don’t give too much thought to one particular question: What should we do with all this poop?
In the roughly two months that it takes to climb Mount Everest, the average alpinist will have produced nearly 60 pounds of excrement. This season, porters who work on Mount Everest carried down 14 tons of human waste from base camp and other locations. It’s…