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Estimate: 65 tons of frozen human poop on Mount McKinley

Alaska Dispatch

APRN reports that the human waste left behind by Mount McKinley -- North America's tallest mountain -- is adding up, and may become a problem sooner than we think.

Over the decades that humans have been scaling McKinley, they’ve left behind more than 130,000 pounds of human waste, according to Alaska Pacific University’s glaciologist Mike Loso’s calculations. This struck Loso with a question: “Where is that waste going and when is it going to melt out at the surface again?” he told APRN.

Turns out, it’s sooner than you think. Loso predicts that waste thrown into Denali’s crevasses will begin surfacing on McKinley's lower Kahiltna glacier in 15 to 25 years.

Also of concern is that the cool, dark environment inside the glacier does an excellent job of preserving harmful bacteria such as E.coli.

Luckily, the waste will be deposited into a vast, remote wilderness area, so it won’t pose a major threat to human health. However, the National Park Service, which oversees McKinley and Denali National Park and Preserve, will need to be careful once the human waste does start appearing. Roger Robinson, a mountaineering ranger on McKinley, told APRN: “People do travel down that way so it’d be something the Park Service will have to manage very closely, once we start finding this stuff.”

Some people are suggesting that climbers pack all of their waste off the mountain. Others, like Loso, aren’t ready to advocate that position yet. Still, he doesn’t want such a remote location spoiled, even in a small way.

Read much more at APRN.