The Everest Alliance

Mt. Everest offers the opportunity to turn the world's icon of geologic majesty and human beauty into a model of cooperative stewardship.

EverestRecent press releases, books, and special events celebrating the 50th anniversary of the U.S. climb of Everest have highlighted the mountain’s deterioration in the face of its growing popularity. Solid waste accumulations, contaminated water supplies, overcrowding, and even fist fights between Sherpas and climbers at high altitude are damaging the environmental and experiential qualities of what was once a global icon and source of inspiration. Climate change is exacerbating these issues in the form of irregular precipitation patterns, reduced freshwater supplies, unreliable flight schedules, and the formation of new and potentially dangerous glacial lakes. 

At the request of local people in the Mt. Everest region (including HiMAP CoP members Ang Chiri Sherpa and Ang Rita Sherpa), this initiative will establish a community-driven Everest Alliance that mobilizes all stakeholders—lodge owners, guides, foreign clients, government officials, independent trekkers and climbers, trekking companies, gear manufacturers, and government agencies—to protect and restore the greater Mt. Everest ecosystem, from village to the summit. Modeled after the on-going Khumbu Local Adaptation Plan of Action (LAPA) community consultations, the Everest Alliance will develop the methods and mechanisms needed to solve the problems of environmental, climate change, social, and experiential degradation that have been fueled by largely uncontrolled adventure tourism during the past 60 years.  It will be a local, national, and international initiative that will be managed in partnership with HiMAP and transferred to the most appropriate in-country entity when appropriate. Although activities will commence on the Nepal side of the mountain in Year 1, the model of cooperative problem solving will be extended to the Tibetan side as soon as possible, and thereafter to other iconic and threatened high mountains throughout the world. 

On 23 September, 2013, Phurba Sherpa facilitated an introductory workshop at the KACC headquarters in Dingboche, Sagarmatha (Everest) National Park, to explain the goals and objectives of the Everest Alliance and to begin soliciting stakeholder perceptions of problems, prospective solutions, and prospective partners. On 30 November and 1 December, the second Everest Alliance meeting at the KACC developed a workplan, budget, list of outputs, and roles and responsibilities for a Phase I project start up initiative for 2014.

Please check back soon for details.

If you live, work, or play in the Mt. Everest watershed (from the summit to below Lukla), we ask you to please participate in the Everest Alliance. If you have experience from other mountain ranges that could help us in solving problems on Mt. Everest, please volunteer your insights. Initial international contacts should go through John Harlin at jharlin [at] mountain.org. We look forward to hearing from you.

Khumbu Alpine Conservation Council Everest Alliance meeting.

Photos: Mt. Everest from Kala Patthar, by Peter Marbach (top). The second Everest Alliance meeting at Khumbu Alpine Conservation Council headquarters on 1 December 2013 (bottom).