Healing the Human Impact on Everest

Climbers on Mount Everest take away life-changing memories, remarkable images and adventurous friends from every corner of the Earth. They also leave behind human waste, which is not currently disposed of in a safe, clean, or sustainable manner. Last year, more than 26,000 pounds of untreated human waste accumulated from climbers and their support members at Mount Everest Base Camp. The environmental impact this practice has on the fragile environment of Mount Everest and the health risks to the local population is massive.

In order to preserve this mountain’s majestic beauty, action is required to implement a long-term sustainable solution that ensures the safe disposal of this increasing environmental and human health hazard. We believe our project is the answer.

Launched in 2010, Mount Everest Biogas Project has conceived, designed and tested an innovative solution, which will bring a wide range of environmental and economic benefits.

  • Eliminate annual dumping of 26,000 lbs. of solid human waste at the teahouse village of Gorak Shep
  • Lessen risk of water contamination by fecal coli form
  • Reduce reliance on burning wood or yak dung for heating and resultant health risks
  • Curtail deforestation of limited wood resources in the Khumbu valley
  • Create local jobs during the construction and operations of the project
  • Convert waste into a renewable natural gas fuel (methane) that will be made available to the local community for cooking and lighting

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NEWS UPDATE: MEBP has been Selected as One  of  the Projects Showcased for the 2017 UIAA Mountain Protection Award.

Each year, the UIAA –  International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation selects projects to showcase for the Mountain Protection Award (MPA). Each project that is selected as a candidate for the MPA, is awarded a grant to continue the pursuit of environmental stewardship and education in mountainous regions of the world, with the ultimate goal of rewarding sustainable practices in highly sensitive and remote ecosystems that are affected by mountain tourism.

We are very excited to announce that the MEBP was selected as a candidate for this years MPA. Of the 22 candidates selected, a winner will be announced at the UIAA General Assembly in Shiraz, Iran on Saturday the 21st of October. We are very humbled and honored to be considered along with so many outstanding projects.

Video Overview

Lakpa Rita Sherpa is a world renowned climber and mountain guide. He grew up near the Khumbu Valley and has found the time to make 17 trips to the summit of Everest. In this video Lakpa explains about the waste issues around Everest Base Camp, the effects they are having on the people who live there, and the solution we are working to implement.

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The Problem

Mount Everest serves as the ultimate challenge and lifelong goal for hundreds of expedition climbers each year. With decades of continued use and exploration, Everest Base Camp and the upper camps have become scarred by human impact. Human waste dumped in Gorak Shep has ballooned to 26,000 pounds annually, causing environmental degradation and posing severe risks to clean water sources.

High altitude and extremely cold temperatures at Everest Base Camp make natural decomposition processes impossible. This results in the accumulation of decades’ worth of harmful fecal matter accruing at an increasingly exponential rate, just as Mount Everest’s popularity for expedition opportunities escalates.

To maintain the region’s immaculate natural environment and to protect the watershed system the Sherpa people rely on for safe drinking water, a sustainable and reliable solution is required immediately.

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Our Solution

Mount Everest Biogas Project has designed a new, 100% sustainable solution to address this increasingly detrimental problem: a first-of-its-kind solar-powered human waste biogas system. When constructed, the project will be the world’s highest altitude anaerobic digester with a unique twist: it will be the only biogas digester installed at extreme altitude fueled solely by human waste.

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To bring this essential waste-management solution to life and to sustain the region’s climbing tourism industry for years to come, Mount Everest Biogas Project is seeking donations from individuals, corporate sponsorship, major equipment donations or grant investments.

Donations to this project will keep the drinking water clean for the families who live in the Khumbu Valley and will provide the tea shop owners of Gorak Shep with methane, a renewable natural gas. It will also serve as an investment to the sustainability of Everest Base Camp by helping to restore and preserve this unique and spectacular region of the world.

To donate, or to learn more about how your donation can help the people of the Khumbu Valley in Nepal, please click the link below. 


Current Progress

Due to the extreme environment at Gorak Shep, the development of a customized biodigester has involved multiple phases of research, prototyping and analysis to reach the current design. Please visit the blog for recent updates.

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Google Visits Khumbu!

Google recently explored the homeland of the Sherpa: the beautiful Khumbu region and it’s towns. Visit their interactive web project and discover the places that made us fall in love with Nepal!


Nate’s Journal

Follow Nate’s steps as he goes from Nepal’s capital Kathmandu all the way to the remote settlement of Gorak Shep in order to do research on the feasibility of the biogas digester project. 

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