For more information contact the project coordinator, John Young.
John Young and John Harrop visited the Cirque this summer and (with the help of other visiting climbers) completed installation of a pit toilet in the Fairy Meadows base camp. Here is a report on the installation. They also installed Wilderness Code of Ethics signage at Glacier Lake, the bear boxes in Fairy Meadows, and the Inconnu Lodge.
Cirque 2000 Project, a five-member environmental expedition taking place in 1999 and 2000 in the Cirque of the Unclimbables, Northwest Territories, Canada, was awarded $2,000 for the removal of garbage and human waste, establishing several strategically located and aesthetically appropriate outhouse facilities, and introducing conservation-oriented interpretive signage.
Human waste presents the most serious problem in the mountains, according to John Young, 29, adjunct instructor in the Department of Biology of Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C. Young, with the help of Brent Bishop and others, will travel to the Yukon Territory July 27-Aug. 3 to conduct a feasibility study at the Cirque of the Unclimbables, a cluster of granite peaks located in the southwest corner of the Canadian Northwest Territories, in the heart of the Mackenzie Mountains. This area includes classic climbing destinations like the Proboscis, Lotus Flower Tower, and Mt. Harrison Smith.
Despite the region's remoteness, it has become an international climbing destination which has accumulated 40 years of cans, plastic and glass bottles, and human waste hidden among boulders. Climbers regularly complain about the smell and uncovering, as Young puts it, "left-over treasures" along trails.
"Due to the persistent cold nature of the arctic environment, biodegradation of human waste via bacteria is minimal. Presently, no facilities exist to alleviate this problem," Young tells EN.
"We want to create a positive example for the international climbing community. If we don't do something about human waste in climbing areas, it will become worse."
The feasibility study has received grants of $1,000 from Alpine Club of Canada, and $2,000 from the American Alpine Club. After the study, the team will return again next summer as the Cirque 2000 Project to remove refuse, and install human waste management systems to prevent unmentionables from ruining the Unclimbables.
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