Anchorage, Alaska (KINY) The National Park Service is looking for ways to deal with human waste on one of Mt. Denali's most popular attractions.
A researcher has found that the waste is not decomposing. Climbers might have to pack out more of their poop in response. Some 36,000 climbers have left waste on the route since 1951. The problem is the waste has not decomposed.
For over 10 years, the NPS has required climbers to put waste in biodegradable bags in portable toilets and throw them into the deep crevasses of the glacier.
The proposed regulations would allow mountaineers to drop waste in only one crevasse at high elevation. They would have to carry out the rest.
Human waste is a concern on most mountains that attract multitudes of climbers, and the issue of poop littering the routes up Mount Everest in Nepal is well-documented. Some mountains are trying to minimize the human waste problem. In Japan, bio-toilets have been set up along the route to Mount Fuji's summit, and incinerator toilets are situated at the top. In Tanzania, latrines have been built for climbers making their way to Kilimanjaro's summit.
The waste can be more than just bothersome. Climbers on Denali, 130 miles (210 kilometers) north of Anchorage, get all their drinking water by melting snow. And snow contaminated by human excrement can spread dangerous bacteria such as E. coli, causing climbers intestinal distress and diarrhea leading to dehydration, a life-threatening condition at high altitude.