Introducing the Everest Alliance

In the wake of the tragic avalanche on 17 April 2014, the American Alpine Club has established a Sherpa Support Fund to help the families of the victims. Please donate as generously as you can. Thank you.

Sherpa Support Fund

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

If you live, work, or play in the greater Mt. Everest ecosystem (from villages to summit), we ask you to 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. We look forward to hearing from you.

Recent press releases, books, and special events celebrating the 60th anniversary of the first ascent of Everest and the 50th anniversary of the first American ascent 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 expedition staff 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.

Everest by Peter Marbach

Mt. Everest from Kalar Patthar, by Peter Marbach.

At the request of local people in the Mt. Everest region, 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 (including mountaineering) during the past 60 years. It will be a local, national, and international initiative that will be launched in partnership with USAID’s High Mountains Adaptation Partnership and transferred to the most appropriate in-country entity when appropriate. Although activities will commence on the Nepal side of the mountain, 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.

Khumbu Alpine Conservation Council Everest Alliance meeting.

The second Everest Alliance meeting at Khumbu Alpine Conservation Council headquarters on 1 December 2013.

On 23 September, 2013, Phurba Sherpa facilitated an introductory workshop at the Khumbu Alpine Conservation Council 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.

The Everest Alliance is emerging out of USAID’s High Mountains Adaptation Partnership. The video below highlights some of HiMAP’s work in Khumbu. At the time this film was made, HiMAP was known as the High Mountain Glacial Watershed Program. Click the full-screen icon (lower right arrows) to see this beautiful video at its best.

High Mountain Glacial Watershed Program from Skyship Films on Vimeo.