Trekkers — Isn’t it time to take your own poop back down?

Everest is in the midst of a feces crisis with decades worth of shit and more accumulating. It is contaminating the water and sickening people. Now, this crisis is spreading to peaks in Uttarakhand and Himachal.


Isn’t it time to take your own poop back down?


Things don’t biodegrade that readily on high altitudes or in the cold of snowy mountains. There are lots of dos and don’ts for depositing solid human waste outdoors, but what about in high altitude mountains?

In recent times we have seen a sharp increase in the number of trekkers. One of the things we as trekkers do not give too much of a thought during planning our treks is where and how do we relieve ourselves when nature calls. Something we should start thinking about. On the mountains we could be at extreme altitudes or in sub zero temperatures. In these moments, when nature makes it call, with our body protected by elaborate trekking gear and with the wind screaming in our faces — we look at the fastest and quickest way to let go the pressure building within.


On the mountains we could be at extreme altitudes or in sub zero temperatures. In these moments, when nature makes it call, with our body protected by elaborate trekking gear and with the wind screaming in our faces — we look at the fastest and quickest way to let go the pressure building within.


The human waste could find itself in a pit dug for the group or it could be anywhere around the campsite.


Human feces around the campsite is an immediate cause of concern aesthetically and from an health perspective. That said, depositing the waste by digging a pit in the snow is just postponing the problem. As the poop will emerge fresh at the bottom of the glacier or mountain in a few months/years. Not only spoiling the aesthetics of the place but also contaminating water sources.


While trekking in lower altitudes (Like in the western ghats), pooping into a pit dug 6 to 8 inches deep and atleast 200 feet from water, camp and trails is good.

While trekking in lower altitudes, pooping into a pit dug 6 to 8 inches deep and atleast 200 feet from water, camp and trails is good.
In the year 2016, the Hampta Pass Trek became the favourite of many trekkers who without fail deposited their crap right on top. The situation on top became really disgusting. The only relief was to keep looking up and think to yourself what beautiful mountains! Good aesthetics is very important for trekkers and mountaineers, ruining the aesthetics of the mountains with human filth is very sad and I hope the authorities put in proactive measures to prevent it.


The best way to preserve high altitude, snow covered mountains, is to bring your poop back down!

The best way to preserve high altitude, snow covered mountains, is to bring your poop back down! I know this is really difficult, especially for multi day treks or climbing expeditions. If you or your company does this, we would love to know more about you. Do write to us at jai@sherpafeet.com.

Beautiful morning in the mountains
Beautiful morning in the mountains

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