Popular mountain guide Sherpa offers five key suggestions to make environment-friendly expeditions


June 5, 2021


Popular mountain guide Sherpa offers five key suggestions to make environment-friendly expeditions

Mountaineer Tshiring Jangbu Sherpa. (Photo: Facebook/Tshiring Jangbu Sherpa)

KATHMANDU: Tshiring Jangbu Sherpa is an internationally recognized mountain guide of Nepal. He was the Sherpa leader in the first measurement of Mt. Everest by Nepal. He has been to the summits of eight-thousanders for 14 times and 13 times without the use of supplementary oxygen.

In the second week of April, Sherpa journeyed to Mt. Makalu, however, this time not for scaling the mountain but for a cleanup campaign named ‘Mountain Cleaning Campaign 2021’, a project of Nepal Army (NA).

Among the six mountains specified for the NA cleaning drive, Tshiring was deployed for Mt. Makalu (8463 meter), the fifth tallest peak in the world that lies in Sankhuwasabha district. “We started our journey on April 14. Reached at Nun area, the walking point for Mt. Makalu and arrived in Kathmandu on 29 May after collecting 6,607 kilograms of garbage,” said Tshiring. ”We handed over 1,725 kilograms of biodegradable garbage to the local government,” he shared.

Tshiring was one of the 34 members of the Makalu cleanup campaign which included 10 NA personnel and 10 Sherpa supporters. The team collected garbage from the base camp, Camp I, II and III, Tshiring said.

“A function was organized at NA Headquarters on the occasion of World Environment Day to hand over the non-biodegradable garbage collected from mountains to a recycling organization. I am so happy to be a part of this historic mountain cleanup campaign,” Tshiring shared. His contribution was also recognized.

Having been a part of the mountain cleaning campaign and also as a resident of the mountain region, Tshiring has shared some ideas to clean mountains and ensure sustainability of mountaineering activities.

The first is running a cleanup campaign annually. “Cleaning campaign is necessary for mountains. Mountains are the natural magnet to lure foreigners to Nepal. They are also part of good revenues. Nepal must not misuse this treasure. We must not let mountains be the dumping zone. We must preserve, promote and protect their natural standing, for this, annual cleaning campaign is a great idea,” Tshiring said.

The second is promoting low and next to none garbage from every expedition. “Every expedition carries a huge amount of garbage. This must be stopped. The government must introduce strict rules to do so. Proper monitoring mechanism to track the garbage on all mountains should be in place,” according to Tshiring. Huge fines must be levied on those who violated the rules and the fines collected can be utilized for cleaning campaign, he suggested.

Promoting use of green energy instead of kerosene and other fossil fuels is imperative. He was of the view that the government should collaborate with green energy companies to ensure better option for green fuels at mountaineering activities.

Off-season cleaning to lower peaks of around 6000 meters as mountains taller than eight thousand meters cannot be cleaned in times other than in the spring season. However, smaller mountains ranging around 6,000 meters can be cleaned in off-season time, he argued. There are hundreds of Sherpa and other human resources in the mountains to do so. This will give job to the experienced but jobless ones in this field as well as Nepal will earn its fame for the mountain cleanup drive, he observed.

He also suggested empowering local communities with technical skills and rewards as there are hundreds of thousands of mountain experts both on academic and practical fronts. “The local mountain communities are more familiar with these mountains. Their expertise generated after generations of mountain knowledge must be utilized,” Tshiring stated.

He also stressed the need for training the local people and they should be provided with knowledge on mountain cleanup. In order to encourage locals for mountain cleanup drive, the government is expected to give them moral and monetary reward to the concerned community.