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Mount Everest Is Melting

Global Brief

Mount Everest Is Melting

Climbing Mount Everest and standing at the highest point on Earth has long been the pinnacle of human achievement and spirit. However, the trail to the top of the world is being affected by global warming. While glaciers worldwide are melting, ice loss across the Himalayas has been especially rapid due to a rise in temperatures, threatening to disrupt waterways that feed the Indian subcontinent and endangering living conditions for hundreds of millions of people.

At Everest, the Khumbu Glacier and its ice falls serve as the primary route to the top by way of the Everest Base Camp, as well as a source of drinking water for climbers. Growing channels of water are destabilizing the glacier, exposing ice cliffs and creating ponds. In addition, the heat and activity from the hundreds of people living and working at Everest Base Camp are contributing to the decay of the glacier each year.

This glacial destabilization caused the deaths of three sherpas last April as they laid out a path for climbers. The government of Nepal is considering moving the base camp to a spot lower down the mountain, which would make the climb tougher and more dangerous. Changes at Mount Everest also threaten Nepal’s $2.4 billion tourism industry and millions of jobs.

Photo credit: DanielPrudek from Getty Images/Canva Pro

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