Snow capped Everest turning into rocky mountain
The glacier cover in mountain regions worldwide has decreased significantly in recent years as a result of warming trends, according to a latest report conducted by the International Center for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD),
Khumbu Glacier, a popular climbing route to Everest, has retreated over 5 km since the time Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay set out to conquer the world's highest peak in 1953.
Meanwhile, with the rapid retreat of snow in the mountains, garbage dumped years ago can be seen on the surface - creating problems for tourism.
Climbers aspiring to scale the 8848-meter high Mount Everest will now have yet another challenge to contend with: the rocky surface. For the snow cover has melted rapidly at many point on Everest and bare rock that used be under snow are now distinctly visible .
"Climbing is becoming more dangerous, and I think we will start to see more injuries and even fatalities because of the difficult terrain," said Dawa Steven Sherpa, team leader of Eco-Everest Expedition 2008, who successfully ascended Everest for the second time this May.
According to him, there was only 50 meters of rock to climb on the famous Hillary Step last year. This year, there was about 150 meters of rock. "Wearing crampons (metal shoes made for climbing in snow and ice) and standing on the bare rock at over 8,600 meters was a very scary experience," said Sherpa. "At one point I slipped and if I hadn’t been clipped in I would have fallen 2,000 meters to Camp Two.
Dawa and his team experienced a rock fall when they were on Mt.Lhotse, in the Everest area. The rocks were the size of footballs and a Spanish climber who was hit broke his leg. According to Sherpas who accompanied the expedition, they had never seen or heard of anything like this on Lhotse.
Sushmita Maskey, member of the Inclusive Womens Team that climbed Everest this monsoon had a similar experience. "While climbing Everest this time, I felt I was climbing a rocky mountain rather than the snow capped one it used
to be." Maskey had climbed Everest up to 8,800 meters in 2005.
"We had to walk for about 50 percent of the way on rock from South Col (at camp 4) to the summit," Maskey added. While going to Camp 1
(5,900 meters) from Base Camp (5,350 meters) rapid melting was visible in the Khumbu Icefall.
The glaciers are melting, and melting at a faster pace, leading to nvironmental concerns.
Sandeep Chamling Rai, climate change officer at World Wildlife Fund, said since the mid-1970s the average air temperature in Nepal has risen by one degree Celsius, with high elevation areas like Namche Bazaar warming the most.