Mount Everest Climber Warns Of An Overpopulated Mountain

Conrad Anker is an American mountaineer and the leader of the North Face climbing team. i i

Conrad Anker is an American mountaineer and the leader of the North Face climbing team. Rebecca Hale/Courtesy National Geographic hide caption

itoggle caption Rebecca Hale/Courtesy National Geographic
Conrad Anker is an American mountaineer and the leader of the North Face climbing team.

Conrad Anker is an American mountaineer and the leader of the North Face climbing team.

Rebecca Hale/Courtesy National Geographic

Each week, Weekend Edition Sunday host Rachel Martin brings listeners an unexpected side of the news by talking with someone personally affected by the stories making headlines.

Perhaps no active climber is more closely associated with Mount Everest these days than Conrad Anker. He has reached the highest point on Earth three times, and he discovered the body of George Mallory — the British climber who may or may not have reached Everest's summit before disappearing in 1924.

Anker has also made the preservation of Mount Everest one of his priorities. Today, as the world's highest mountain compels ever-increasing numbers of climbers, it's also accumulating some unwanted weight: Tons and tons of garbage.

"If you're going to Everest for that pristine, I'm-in-the-mountains [experience], it's not the place to go," Anker tells Weekend Edition Sunday host Rachel Martin. "Accept the fact that it's going to be a crowded place."

Join Our Sunday Conversation

Have you been to Mount Everest? How did the crowds and litter affect your experience? Tell us on Weekend Edition's Facebook page or in the comment section below.

Photos From 'The Call of Everest'

Mountain climber Conrad Anker is the author of The Call Of Everest, published by National Geographic.

  • During the 2012 climbing season, long lines encumbered the ascent of the Lhotse face of Mount Everest. This photo from The Call Of Everest was taken after the photographer decided to abort his climb, due to the dangerous lines.
    Hide caption
    During the 2012 climbing season, long lines encumbered the ascent of the Lhotse face of Mount Everest. This photo from The Call Of Everest was taken after the photographer decided to abort his climb, due to the dangerous lines.
    Simone Moro/Courtesy National Geographic
  • Members of the South Col Five walk along the corniced ridge of the South Summit after their successful climb. Makalu Peak rises in the background at right, and Kanchenjunga can be seen in the distance. The team had a good day to summit; the low-lying clouds are a sign of stable weather.
    Hide caption
    Members of the South Col Five walk along the corniced ridge of the South Summit after their successful climb. Makalu Peak rises in the background at right, and Kanchenjunga can be seen in the distance. The team had a good day to summit; the low-lying clouds are a sign of stable weather.
    Kristoffer Erickson/Courtesy National Geographic
  • An image from The Call of Everest shows a quiet night at Base Camp.
    Hide caption
    An image from The Call of Everest shows a quiet night at Base Camp.
    CoryRichards/C. Richards Photography
  • The 1963 American Mount Everest Expedition included more than 900 porters, who carried 27 tons of supplies to Base Camp. During that expedition, four men became the first Americans to summit Everest.
    Hide caption
    The 1963 American Mount Everest Expedition included more than 900 porters, who carried 27 tons of supplies to Base Camp. During that expedition, four men became the first Americans to summit Everest.
    Barry Bishop/Courtesy National Geographic
  • At 25,000 feet, this photo from the 1963 expedition shows the push towards the summit.
    Hide caption
    At 25,000 feet, this photo from the 1963 expedition shows the push towards the summit.
    Barry Bishop/Courtesy National Geographic

1 of 5

View slideshow i

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.