KATHMANDU: Nepal’s government is considering moving the Mount Everest base camp as global warming and human activity make the current site unsafe, a senior official here said on Friday.
The current base camp, located at an elevation of 5,364 meters on the Khumbu Glacier where more than 1,500 people congregate each climbing season, is made unsafe by the rapidly thinning glacier due to global warming, Surya Prasad Upadhyaya, director of the tourism department of Nepal said.
At an informal meeting of the department, officials discussed moving the base camp of Mount Everest – the world’s highest peak – from its current location, he said.
However, no decision has been made on this so far and the new location has not been identified either, he said.
The matter just came up during an informal discussion at a department meeting and no decision has been made yet, Upadhyaya added.
Several studies conducted from time to time have warned that the glaciers near Everest’s summit are thinning at an alarming rate.
Himalayan glaciers are an important contributor to water resources for millions of people in South Asia.
In February, researchers in Nepal warned that the highest glacier on top of Mount Everest could disappear by the middle of this century as the 2,000-year-old ice sheet on the world’s tallest mountain thins at an alarming rate.
The International Center for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) here had said Everest has been losing significant ice since the late 1990s, citing a latest research report.
The Everest Expedition, the most comprehensive scientific expedition to Everest, conducted groundbreaking research on glaciers and the alpine environment, according to the ICIMOD. A recent paper published in the journal Nature Portfolio reported that the ice on Everest is thinning at an alarming rate.
It is estimated that the ice in the South Cole Glacier at an elevation of 8,020 meters is thinning at a rate of nearly two meters per year, the report said.
In December 2002, China and Nepal announced that the world’s tallest mountain is now 86 centimeters higher after they re-measured Mount Everest at 8,848.86 meters, more than six decades after India’s previous measurement in 1954.
The revised height of Mount Everest put an end to the decades-long dispute between the two neighbors over the height of the world’s tallest mountain straddling their common border.
The exact height of Mount Everest has been disputed since a group of British surveyors in India in 1847 stated the height of Peak XV, as it was initially called, at 8,778 meters.
Mount Everest sits on the border between China and Nepal and mountaineers climb it from both sides.
Mount Everest is known in Nepal as Sagarmatha while in China it is called Mount Qomolangma, the Tibetan name for the world’s highest mountain.