Sherpas to clean Everest death zone
A team of 20 Sherpa mountaineers are to remove bodies of climbers who died in Mount Everest's "death zone" - a treacherous stretch that has claimed some 300 lives since 1953.
The team also aims to remove litter left behind on the slopes under a Nepalese Government scheme to clean up the popular tourist destination.
The 20 Sherpas will begin the expedition on May 1 and set up camp 26,240 feet (8,000 metres) above sea level, team leader Namgyal said. Just above is the "death zone" area known as the toughest stretch for climbers because of low oxygen levels and rough terrain.
The team said it plans to remove at least five bodies from a narrow trail between South Col and the summit, but has not identified them.
In the past bodies have generally been removed only from lower elevations because dangerous conditions have made removing them from the "death zone" nearly impossible.
The team also plans to remove some 6,600 pounds (3,000 kilograms) of rubbish from the zone.
"We will carry empty sacks and fill them with empty oxygen bottles, food wrappings, old tents and ropes from the area," Namgyal said.
Garbage discarded on the mountain was a major environmental problem until the Nepalese government imposed strict rules about 15 years ago requiring visitors to return all of their gear and rubbish or risk losing a deposit.
It is unclear how much trash is left on the mountain, but several clean-up expeditions have brought down tons of garbage.
Namgyal, who like most Sherpa uses only one name, has climbed the 29,035-foot (8,850-metre) peak - the world's highest - seven times. One of the expedition's members, Long Dorje, has made the trip 14 times. All of the team members have visited the summit at least once.