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Last updated on April 24, 2014 at 17:35 EDT

Sherpa On Quest To Clean Up Everest

April 7, 2011

A team of 58 people will take part in a mission to pick up trash left behind from years of climbs up the slopes of the world’s highest peak, AFP reports.

Apa Sherpa, 51, who will count this ascent as his record-holding twenty-first climb, will lead the Eco Everest Expedition 2011 to collect four tons of garbage under a “Cash for Trash” program funded by Asian Trekking, a guide company that organizes climbs in the region.

The expedition is planning on a diverse and far-flung group of climbers, with 22 members from Japan, Nepal, the United States, Switzerland, India, Brazil, Spain and Mexico.

Team members will earn $1.40 per kilogram of trash brought back to the basecamp. The most discarded items left on the trails include empty oxygen bottles, ropes and tents but general trash is a frequent sight as well. Three previous expeditions have removed almost 12 tons of garbage from the mountain and recovered four bodies for burials.

“If my ascent would promote the cause and help protect the mountain, I am always ready to climb,” explains Sherpa, known among the mountaineering crowd as “Super Sherpa”, before his flight to the Everest region.

After completing his first Everest summit in 1990, Sherpa began his mountaineering career as a porter in his early teens. He wants to show how to climb in an eco-friendly manner. “We will not use fossil fuel. We will cook using solar-enabled cookers and drink sterilized water instead of boiling it,” he said.

Climber Ken Noguchi will also participate in this expedition and hopes to bring down another ton of garbage, bringing the total to five tons. Nepalese civil servants will also be scaling the mountain in hopes of raising awareness about climate change.

The Everest climbing season runs from spring to the summer monsoon season and has seen nearly 3,000 people climb the 29,028-foot Himalayan peak, which straddles Nepal and China, since it was first conquered by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay in 1953.

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