(CNN) — Nepal is considering moving Everest Base Camp for environmental reasons.
According to the Director General of the Department of Tourism of Nepal, Taranath Adhikari, the location of the Base Camp is at some risk due to the melting of the Khumbu glacier.
“We have received recommendations from numerous stakeholders to relocate the base camp. Although no decision has been made yet, we are taking these suggestions very seriously,” Adhikari told CNN Travel.
Those interested include local residents, climbers and environmental experts.
However, any major changes to Mount Everest, the world’s highest peak, will not be done in a hurry.
Since research activities can only take place during the spring, the decision could take two to three years. Some studies were carried out during this year’s spring climbing season, which typically peaks in May.
Once the parties involved complete their investigation, they will likely have to submit a proposal to the Nepalese government. The Nepalese Council of Ministers would have the final say on the decision.
Adhikari cited “anthropogenic activities,” meaning human behaviors, and climate change as problems affecting the base camp. The Khumbu Glacier is melting faster than natural.
It is not the first time that stakeholders have warned about environmental damage on Everest.
A study published earlier this year in the Nature Portfolio Journal of Climate and Atmospheric Science revealed that ice formed over a 2,000-year period on the South Col Glacier melted in about 25 years.
Paul Mayewski, leader of the expedition and director of the Climate Change Institute at the University of Maine, told CNN that the findings showed “a complete change from what has been experienced in that area, throughout probably all the period of human occupation of the mountains”.
Climate change is affecting many of the world’s most precious places.
“Nepal alone cannot reduce carbon emissions and the impact of global warming.” Adhikari said. “However, we can mitigate some issues with these kinds of temporary measures.”
And he added: “On the one hand, we want to preserve the mountain and the glacier. On the other hand, we do not want to affect the economy of the mountain.”
Balancing the desires to climb Everest with the needs of local communities has been a constant challenge in Nepal.
tourism is the fourth industry in the country and employs 11.5% of Nepalis in some way, whether it’s working in a hotel or guest house or guiding foreign tourists to the world’s highest mountains.
Permits to climb Everest cost US$11,000 per person. A part of that money goes to the communities near the mountain.
The risks of mountaineering are also serious. In 2015, Nepal banned novice climbers from Everest, citing security concerns and overcrowding.
Allowing too many climbers to ascend in the short amount of time the weather allows can lead to “stuck”, which often has deadly results.
Everest Base Camp is 5,400 meters above sea level. The proposed location for a new Base Camp may be 200 to 300 meters below the current altitude.