ant to go to the Everest Base Camp? Well, you’d better be committed to going all the way up.
The base camp on China’s side of Everest has been officially closed to those without climbing permits as officials attempt to deal with the massive waste problem at the site.
While the base camp on Nepal’s side of the mountain requires an eight-day-long trek to reach, the one in Tibet can be reached by car, making it into a less daunting tourist destination. In fact, back in 2014, 59,000 people visited the camp. The following year, that number decreased to 40,000. Data for visitors hasn’t been made available since.
However, officials are now looking to get that number all the way down to just 300 — the number of climbing permits they plan on handing out each year.
This new policy is aimed at decreasing the amount of waste at the site. According to China’s official Xinhua news agency, three major clean-ups were carried out last spring at an altitude of 5,200 meters, resulting in the collection of eight tonnes of household waste, human feces, and mountaineering trash.
And garbage isn’t all that tourists leave behind. Back in 2016, a number of travelers were blacklisted from the base camp for covering the site with graffiti — predominantly in the form of their names.
Regular tourists will still be able to visit the zone but won’t be able to pass beyond the Rongpo Monastery at nearly 5,000 meters above sea level. The base camp sits about 200 meters farther up.