The popularity of K2 and the mountain climbing that occurs on it comes with an unwanted by-product – litter – which has made the world’s second highest mountain a “dump”.
K2, Pakistan’s highest peak, has been in the headlines due to its busiest season with more than 200 permits issued during the season.
Mountaineers including women climbers had set many world records but now the negative impact of the busy climbing season is being pointed out by Pakistani mountaineers.
Footage shared on Twitter by a mountaineer, The Northerner, has showed the surface studded with yellow tents of abandoned camps, blue oxygen tanks and ropes.
The Northerner has stated in his tweet that due to commercial climbing approach, K2 was becoming “dumpster mountain”.
He has requested the federal and provincial government to ban commercial expeditions, requesting immediate efforts for preservation of fragile glaciers and eco-system.
The mountaineer also mentioned that each climber brings two support staff with oxygen bottles, tents, food.
K-2 is becoming dumpster mountain because of commercial climbing approach; for each client there are 2 support staff with O2 bottles, tents, food, human wastes. For sustainable tourism & environment we request ban on commerical outfit and keep it only for "Purists" #KeepK2Clean pic.twitter.com/bWKAY3sjI7
— The Northerner (@northerner_the) August 23, 2022
Concerns have also been raised by other mountaineers. They have pointed at the growing litter that was disastrous to environment. Moreover, people are also apprehensive about leftover ropes as it was difficult to know which of them were safe to use.
Suggestions of increasing mountain permit cost have also been made, as higher prices would act as a deterrent, allowing only serious climbers to make the attempt.
Mountain permits for Mount Everest, which is the world’s highest mountain, but less difficult technically, costs $11,000 per person whereas the permit of K2 costs only $7,200 for a group of seven.