(2010 Top Environment Alert From www.stumbleupon.com)
When sherpas ring the warning bell on climate change the world should listen: Mount Everest is becoming increasingly dangerous to climb because global warming is melting glacier ice along its slopes, according to Apa, a Nepalese Sherpa who grew up in the foothills to Mount Everest, reached the 29,035-foot (8,850-metre) summit on Saturday for the 20th time, breaking his own previous world record for 19 ascents.Rising temperatures have melted much of the ice on the steep trail to the summit and climbers are struggling to get traction on the exposed rock surface.
A recent report by scientists at University College London said the Himalayan glaciers are retreating faster than many others around the world, at rates ranging from 10 to 60 metres per year. Professor Steve Edwards, an earth scientist who coauthored the report, titled "The Waters of the Third Pole," said the effects of glacial melting posed a real risk to climbers.
“The general trend shows that the Himalayan glaciers as a whole are melting faster than many others. It is probably the fastest rate of melting in the world,” he said.
“The result is that in the summer months there is going to be a lot of slush on the ice fields. There is also the risk of glacial outburst floods, where the meltwater tops the bank of sediment left behind by the glacier during a period of intense melting and crashes down the river valley, destroying everything in its path.”
The melting ice has also exposed deep crevasses which climbers could fall into, and experts have warned that people scaling the mountain risk being swept away by “outburst floods” from rising volumes of glacial meltwater.
After returning to Kathmandu on Tuesday, Apa said: "The rising temperature on the mountains has melted much ice and snow on the trail to the summit. It is difficult for climbers to use their crampons on the rocky surfaces." He said there was hardly any exposed rock on the trail to the summit when he first climbed Everest in 1989, but now the slopes are dotted with bare rocks.
Climbing-mount-everest-10 The world’s highest mountain is becoming an increasingly popular tourist destination, with a procession of novice climbers scaling the summit with the help of highly expert Sherpas like Apa. But experts have warned that many amateur climbers may not be aware of the risks they face in tackling Everest.
.Casey Kazan via The Telegraph