When nature calls, you must answer - even if you’re climbing the tallest mountain in the world. So, just where do hikers poop on Everest?
Climbing the tallest mountain in the world is no easy feat. There are many problems faced by those who attempt this dangerous endeavor. Apart from the temperatures and the lack of oxygen, hikers still have to relieve themselves. But when you’re so high up, where do you go to do your business?
On Everest, hikers may have to poop in poop tubes or catholes. There is also an option of using pit toilets when they are not at the mountain's peak. Leaving poop around can ruin the beauty of the mountain, so proper disposal is necessary.
Some hikers don't properly dispose of their waste, destroying the aura of Everest and its surroundings. When climbing the tallest mountain in the world, one should be respectful of the environment and follow proper guidelines when pooping.
As experienced hikers, we know all about the trials and tribulations of having to go to the bathroom when on a hike. Having also climbed several mountains over the years; we can tell you all about how hikers poop when they’re climbing Everest.
At Higher Altitudes, How Do Climbers Defecate?
First of all, it is important to know what the whole process is like on high peaks like Everest. The short idea is to make it as quick as possible. Mt. Everest’s campsites One and Two have excrement buckets that give a pretty safe setting for pooping.
However, once you reach higher altitudes, this convenience is no longer available. On less renowned slopes, there are no pre-existing bathrooms. Thus, you must find a spot where you can defecate.
You must be equipped with mountaineering gear with a back zipper. When relieving yourself, you can use the zipper to reduce the quantity of exposed skin to the icy cold wind. You don't have to pull off any apparel that might ordinarily keep you warm in the cold weather if you have a back zipper.
Where Do Hikers Poop on Everest?
Hikers generally poop in pit toilets and catholes while on Mt. Everest. Some people also use poop tubes, wag bags, and reusable plastic bags.
Mountaineers frequently use a pit toilet to relieve themselves when hiking on Everest. Pit toilets may be found in thousands of rocky parking lots across Everest due to the kindness of local climbing clubs and dedicated volunteers. They help reduce the waste generated by thousands of people hiking on Everest every year.
Pit toilets come in various shapes and sizes, with some composting the waste and others requiring it to be collected and sent away. If your climb journey has a pit toilet, utilize it irrespective of the type, even if it entails a 20-minute trip back to the summit.
Many climbers construct a cathole if a pit toilet is not accessible or if there is dirt on the floor and the region isn't commonly utilized. The hole ought to be 6 to 8 inches in depth, 4 to 6 inches wide, and 200 feet away from any water source, trail, or campsite. You can dump your toilet paper with the rest of your waste here.
The microbes and germs in your feces may not decompose easily. That's why it is crucial to fully cover the cathole when you're done, reducing the chances of another human or animal encountering your excrement and spreading it.
Poop tubes are a widely used accessory to make defecating easier at Everest. When you can't dig a cathole, a poop tube can be used to get rid of your waste. You can make a poop tube at home. It's fairly straightforward. The items you will need to make one are listed below:
- PVC pipe or a tube
- Duct tape and two ribbons
- A harnessing mechanism
To begin making the poop tube, follow the directions listed below:
Hook two ribbons together to make a loop. The loops will be a little longer than that of the tubes so that you may attach them to your mountaineering harness and then let the tubing hang beneath your butt. Ensure that the loops aren't too long, or else you'll have some problems. The bottom of your tube should then have twisted ribbons. By directing them along the tube's edges, you can glue them in position.
If you want to build disposable poop tubes, choose a tube that can be reopened from both sides. You can link the tube to your belt with carabiners as a harness solution. To catch some of the wetness and stink, pack the plastic pipe with cat litter stuffing ahead of time. Be careful not to damage it.
After you've pooped into a bag, throw it in the tube with some kitty litter to absorb the odor. You can get rid of the waste in regular garbage if you're using a bag system. If you only use a paper bag, the remains of the tube must be disposed of.
Leave No Sign of Your Presence When Hiking Mt. Everest
Climbers are becoming more conscious of the environmental implications of defecating on a mountain. Everyone knows that the tents on Mt. Everest are filthy. Traces of feces have already been identified in the water that comes from Mt. Everest, posing a serious health risk to the locals. Climbers have reported that big swaths of snow are coated in brown spots.
When climbing at high altitudes, it is typical for climbers to get diarrhea. As you might expect, trying to pick up poop whenever it occurs can be difficult. As a result, when ascending icy high altitude summits, most hikers use wag bags or poop tubes.
Some climbers choose to dispose of their excrement inside their tents since they provide the best protection. You might be forced to use the bathroom within the tent if the wind picks up and the altitude is high. Likewise, you may use the wag bag or poop tube.
From Biffy Bag and GO Anywhere to Restop, there are a variety of simple bag systems available in the market. A bag system's only purpose is to take out your trash. Don't defecate in the bag; instead, defecate on the ground and transfer it into the bag. Bags are frequently advised for disposal sites because they seal out odors and may be thrown away in any garbage bag.
While the ease and quickness of grabbing a professionally made trash bag is a great selling factor, if you have to go to the bathroom quite frequently, the cost can quickly pile up.
You'll need to have an internal bag or platform that can be pooped on immediately or used to collect up excrement after it's been dumped on the ground and a robust and properly sealed exterior container. Butcher paper, coffee filters, and brown paper bags are all good options for an interior bag.
How Do Hikers Pee At Such Great Heights Like Mount Everest?
At high elevations, peeing is significantly easier than pooping. You urinate in a watertight container inside your tent, presumably in the coziness of your sleeping bag. For added comfort, many hikers prefer to urinate in foldable bottles. The bag is sealed tightly with a container opening, which is essentially a plastic bag.
Impact of Defecating Openly In the Everest Region
In the highlands, feces ruin the environment. These sites are undesirable to the public because of pee and excrement patches along the hiking pathways and mountaineering routes. Hikers opt to choose another visually pleasing trail that smells good over time.
For Everest, the ethical and aesthetic issues are particularly pressing. Climbers who are poised to reach the summit of the world must navigate a minefield on their way up. As per National Geographic research, the Everest Base Camp collects around 12 tons of feces each year.
Despite specific barrels on the approach to the summit, many climbers choose to pee and defecate anywhere on the mountain. Even though this issue has been extensively recognized, it has yet to be fully remedied. However, the world's most promising scientists are now working on a plant that could use the pile of poop without harming nature.
Most people are concerned about personal cleanliness, but they are not willing to adopt an environment-friendly lifestyle for hygienic practices. When urine and excrement seep into natural water bodies, it causes environmental catastrophe and has a negative impact on personal cleanliness.
Hikers who want to be accountable for their hygiene must also consider the environment. Pollution is a problem that affects almost all countries.
Outdoor lovers, especially those new to hiking, may be confused by informal regulations. It has several negative repercussions. As a result, to address the problem of increasing contamination along mountain paths, we must first learn and follow the simple guidelines for peeing and pooping thoughtfully in the mountains.
What Can You Do When Conditions Get Worse?
You must innovate if you don't have a waste bag or accessibility to a pit toilet. When you are out climbing, you'll be in less-than-ideal pooping positions. However, don't just crawl under a rock and hope for the best. Instead, try to adhere to as many of these four concepts as possible.
- Reduce the risk of spreading illness by reducing the chances of animals, bugs, or people making contact with your excrement.
- Keep a safe distance from sources of water to avoid pollution.
- Cover your waste to prevent it from being visible —no one likes to see excrement.
- Promote decomposition by burying poop with any available earth or plant materials.
Mt. Everest is indeed a beautiful mountainous region. However, the area can become a nuisance with hikers continuously misusing the terrain and openly defecating. Therefore, it is your job to be mindful of safe and clean defecating practices and use poop tubes, plastic bags, and all other means of peeing and pooping responsibly.
About THE AUTHOR
I’m a hiker, backpacker, and general outdoor enthusiast. I started hiking out of college while working for the National Forest Service, and have been hiking ever since. I’ve been solo hiking and leading hiking groups for two decades and have completed hundreds of small hikes and some majorones such as the Appalachian Train and the Pacific Crest Trail, and hiked on four continents. I’d love to share some of my insight with you.Read More About Peter Brooks