Why Everest 2019?

In 2014, we went to Nepal with funding from NSF and other sources to study black carbon and dust on the glaciers of Mt. Everest.  An icefall hit our team and others and killed sixteen Nepalis on the mountain - and made world-wide news. Our teammate Asman Tamang was killed and left behind a young wife and a 9 month old daughter. We were devastated by grief, but also filled with resolve to make sure his sacrifice was not in vain.

Asman Tamang on the left

Asman Tamang on the left

Unfortunately, after this terrible tragedy, Maoist supporters from the recent civil war used the event and the threat of violence to push for bribes. Eventually, after much consternation and some people being beaten in the night, the Maoists closed the mountain in the face of the national government’s protestations. In order to maintain some dignity, the government extended climbing and research permits for five years. Our permits expire in 2019 and so we will return to Mt. Everest with a new research team this year.

The goal of our work in the Himalayas will be to document changes in high mountain ecosystems as they respond to the integrated effects of multiple stressors, including human land use decisions and climate variability and change. We will work to identify and analyze patterns of land use and land cover change through time within the Everest region and to determine how climate change and the remnants of the Nepali civil war are affecting conservation efforts in these protected areas and the livelihood systems at their fringes.

We also want to understand how air pollution and dust deposition increase the rate at which glaciers melt - and thus threaten the downstream users of this water over the long-term.  Light absorbing particles (LAPs) such as dust and black carbon on glaciers are of significant importance for understanding hydrological system functions for this region - which provides water for billions of people downstream.  

If you haven’t already, please consider supporting our research and outreach by donating!

Everest Base Camp

Everest Base Camp

Welcome to the 2019 Everest Environments Expedition Blog!

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Hello and welcome to the 2019 Everest Environments Expedition: Changing Climate, Changing Lives blog!

Follow this space for updates on where we are, what we’re doing, and why it matters! Preparations are well underway for our trip, which will take place from late March until early June. We’ll be spending the first few days in Kathmandu, finishing last minute preparations and meeting with local scholars and stakeholders. We’ll spend the next two weeks trekking, first from Lukla into the Makalu Barun National Park to assess the effects of recent domestic conflict on local environment and on those living in the region. This is also a prime opportunity to acclimatize, and we will be climbing Mera Peak at the head of the Hinku Valley before heading back to Lukla. From there we will begin the trek into Everest/Lhotse Base camp, spending a week on the Gokyo Lakes/Cho La route before arriving on ~April 18 and beginning the next month’s worth of work ferrying loads, acclimatizing, and collecting snow, air, and water samples.

Check back for posts introducing the US and Nepali members of our team, describing our research, and detailing the day-to-day events of our trip!

If you haven’t already, please consider supporting our research and outreach by donating!