Leave no trace behind!
Feb 20, 2020
Since the mid-90s, mountaineering sport has attracted criticism for its ecological footprint. Majority of critics cite commercialisation of the sport via packaged tours as the root cause. However, the sport has always had a commercial element to it. Notably, the early summits of Mt Everest in the 1920s were achieved with the help of Nepalese nationals for logistical support and the Western Climbers returned to their respective countries to make presentation tours about the expedition to raise funds for their next adventures.
While affordability may bar African women from the sport, climbers who can afford to climb will continue to do so regardless of the ecological footprint left behind on the high slopes, leading this issue to climate inequality. Climate inequality is an inherent feature of the distribution of global material and resource use and its impact on environmental degradation and climate change. It is our view that focus should shift to ethical climbing promoting the principles of leaving no traces behind. Countries that financially benefit from mountain tourism should also be accountable for minimising climbers' ecological footprint.