TODAY

TODAY   |  March 06, 2014

Climber: Mt. Everest turning into ‘trash heap’

Mt. Everest climbers are being asked to pick up the garbage that’s piling up on the mountain. Violators could be fined or banned. NBC’s Keir Simmons reports.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> to mount everest , one of the most beautiful places on the planet. i was lucky enough to visit that area back in 2004 . now the majestic site is clogged with tons of trash and debris. what's being done about that? keir simmons has the story. good morning to you.

>> reporter: hey, matt, good morning. this is one of those stores that is increasingly popular because climbing is so popular, even mountains like mount everest . look at all the stuff that you need. you need canisters and rope and tents and you need one of these, whatever one of these is, and you need as well a lot of stuff that you can leave behind like these canisters and batteries. so we've put this basket together and we've weighed it. this is 18 pounds. this is how much stuff they want you to start bringing back down. oh, the clean mountain air , the towering peaks, the garbage? that's right. even the highest place on earth has not escaped our wasteful habits. discarded cans, filth, debris. time to clean up. authorities say everyone must now bring down what they take up the mountain. fail and you could be fined or even banned. mount everest unchanged for 60 million years has been turned into a trash heap in just 60.

>> they simply think nobody's going to know that i was here, nobody's going to care. there might never be anybody coming here given so why should i bother taking my trash out.

>> local sherpas have organized clean-up trips in the past but this is the first time climbers themselves have been forced to do it. when sir edmund hillary reached the peak 60 years ago, they had simple gear. now with the high tech gear, there are traffic jams.

>> i simply dislike the commercialization of the climb of everest.

>> what would he think of the junk that now litters this majestic mountain, the scrap discarded on its ancient slopes. he would surely welcome the effort to return everest to its natural state -- garbage free. i'm just putting all the stuff from that basket into a bag here. this, by the way, makes the point as well that many people do bring their stuff down the mountain, but this is that 18 pounds of trash. that is heavy. you got carry that all back down the 29,000 feet. i know it's the top of the world and everything, guys, but you have to wonder, why would you put yourself through it?

>> maybe you don't have the mindset keir.

>> i think keir needs to be working out a little more.

>> he's milking it a little bit.

>> i don't see him summiting