First Everest controversy of the year: the new welcome signboard

KHUMBU– As trekkers pour up the Khumbu Valley toward Everest, they will find a surprising new landmark at Base Camp: a signboard welcoming visitors. The structure, featuring images of Hilary and Tenzing, sits on the glacier right in front of a big, graffiti-covered boulder that for years symbolized the official arrival at Base Camp. Comments have swamped social media since the first images of this new, fancier display appeared.

It is hard to tell exactly when one enters Everest Base Camp since it’s so sprawling. Expedition tents usually sit as close to the Khumbu Icefall as possible. But for trekkers, the arrival sign — and the classic photo icon — was that old boulder noting the place and the impressive 5,364m altitude.
Controversy New sign board in Everest
But this year, the Pasang Lhamu Municipality has decided to replace the famous stone with this welcome (and seemingly unwelcome) display.

The novelty this time is that the board has usurped the place of an existing landmark that, except for the graffiti, was a natural part of the landscape. It stands right in front of the old rock. With Everest Base Camp already a focus of attention because of the ecological impact of commercialization, this is one more reminder of what the mountain first ascended by Hilary and Tenzing to worldwide acclaim has become.

It remains to be seen if the Khumbu Valley authorities will consider moving the sign if negative comments continue. It may not even be necessary. Only a few rocks secure the sign on this ever-moving glacial terrain. It may soon topple on its own accord, possibly even before the end of the season.

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: Angela Benavides
Environment | Everest

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