Trend in Japan Web Japan
Business and Economy Lifestyle Science and Technology Fashion Arts and Entertainment Sports People
Japanese Climber Leads Cleanup of Nepalese Peak (June 21, 2006)

Noguchi collects garbage with local villagers (Office Noguchi Ken)
A climbing team led by alpinist Noguchi Ken recently completed a one-month cleaning expedition on Nepal's Mt. Manaslu (elevation 8,163 meters). The team collected more than 200 kilograms of garbage around the base camp area, including a considerable volume of empty cans and food wrappers left by previous climbers. The cleaning expedition was performed in commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of the first Japanese expedition to reach the peak of Mt. Manaslu. "I want this expedition to promote understanding of environmental protection," said Noguchi.

A Mountain of Waste
Noguchi, who was born in 1973, is the youngest climber in the world to have scaled the highest peaks on each of the seven continents. This time, he led a team of 25 climbers on a grueling cleanup expedition that began in April and involved sifting through mounds of dense snow in search of trash left by climbers from around the world. The team was based at the mountain's base camp, 4,750 meters above sea level. The garbage collected included empty cans and bottles, food items, batteries, and injection needles. Some garbage was disposed of as if the climbers had tried to hide their trash behind large rocks. "People need to show more humility toward nature," said Noguchi.

During a previous cleaning expedition on Mt. Everest that took several years, Noguchi's team collected close to eight tons of garbage. "It was truly difficult work that involved considerable sacrifice. I thought I'd never do it again, but I changed my mind after some Sherpas told me 'It's not just Mt. Everest that's filthy, but all of Nepal.'"

The first climbers to conquer Mt. Manaslu were a Japanese expedition led by Maki Aritsune in 1956. The peak is thus referred to locally as the "Japanese mountain." This feat inspired postwar Japan as well as the people of Nepal. Fifty years later, Noguchi wanted to do something to commemorate this event. His team patiently shoveled and separated vast quantities of snow while braving concerns over avalanches with the sole objective of returning the mountain to its original, pure state.

Cleaning up near the base camp at 4,200 meters (Office Noguchi Ken)

Mt. Fuji Makeover
The Mt. Manaslu cleaning expedition was held in conjunction with a similar cleanup of Mt. Fuji, in which about 150 people participated. Among the waste items collected on Mt. Fuji were empty bottles buried under dead leaves, illegally dumped electric appliances, and tires. Noguchi's expedition linked up with the Mt. Fuji group via TV phone, and the two groups showed each other the waste items they had collected. "The garbage scattered on Mt. Fuji is symbolic of modern Japan, and calls into question the nation's attitude toward the environment," said Noguchi.

Noguchi has been pleased with recent changes in attitudes toward the environment in Japan and the rest of Asia: "I think attitudes among Japanese climbers have changed significantly in the past four or five years." Little by little, the patient efforts of Noguchi and his crew are beginning to bear fruit.

To coincide with Japan week, an event to mark the fiftieth anniversary of diplomatic relations between Japan and Nepal in November, Noguchi Ken and other Japanese climbing enthusiasts will join local people to collect garbage at the foot of Mount Everest.

Related video
Japan Video Topics : Climbing for Cleaning

 Page Top

Copyright (c) 2006 Web Japan. Edited by Japan Echo Inc. based on domestic Japanese news sources. Articles presented here are offered for reference purposes and do not necessarily represent the policy or views of the Japanese Government.

Related articles
(June 22, 1999)
Drop Us a Line
Your Name

What did you think of this article?

It was interesting.
It was boring.

Send this article to a friend

Go TopTrends in Japan Home

Go BackSports Home