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​China Says It’s Creating A Line of Separation on Everest Summit

China is planning to create a "line of separation" on the world's highest summit to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on the mountain. | Flickr photo.

In one of the weirder headlines surrounding COVID we’ve seen in the last 12 months, Chinese media reported that a team of mountain guides is heading up the Tibetan side of Mount Everest to draw a “line of separation” on the summit, in the hope that it will prevent close contact of climbers coming up from opposite sides of the mountain. Both the Nepalese side and the Tibetan side are popular climbing routes to the summit. Nepal has not canceled its spring mountaineering season, despite large numbers of COVID-19 cases in the country, and China hopes this marked line will help prevent the spread of the disease on the mountain.

It is unclear how and if this separation will be enforced, given that the summit of Everest is a tiny and incredibly inhospitable place, and shared by the two nations. Much of the traffic jam that occurs with climbers in close proximity happens while on the summit ridges, not on the actual summit. China has restricted foreign and tourist access to base camp on the Tibetan side of the mountain.

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​China Cancels Everest Season, Nepal Base Camp in Throes of COVID Outbreak
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​China Cancels Everest Season, Nepal Base Camp in Throes of COVID Outbreak

​China Cancels Everest Season, Nepal Base Camp in Throes of COVID Outbreak

China has canceled their Everest climbing season, and Nepal's situation around COVID-19 is deteriorating rapidly. | Wikipedia photo. This year’s mountaineering season on Everest seems to be about two separate stories, one of extremely limited access to the Chinese side of the mountain, and one of the typical crowds on the Nepalese side. China has now officially canceled mountaineering access to the north, largely as a precaution against a raging COVID-19 outbreak in the Nepalese base camp.

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Fact: Climbing is a popular sport. And it’s gotten even more popular during the COVID-19 pandemic. In places like Yosemite, the mecca of North American big wall climbing, that popularity has led to ever-increasing amounts of climbers on multi-day routes like those on El Cap or Half Dome. In response to those growing crowds, and the impact they have on the walls they climb (read: leaving poop and gear on routes) the National Park Service is testing out a new system requiring all overnight

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How Bad is the Drought in the West? Really, Really Bad.
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Droughts have always come and gone in the American West, but this year we’re witnessing something completely different. Due to a 20-year-long stretch of consistent dryness, scientists are suggesting that the West is grappling with an emerging megadrought. Its effects are already being felt from Arizona to Washington with the U.S. Drought Monitor estimating that 57 million people are currently living in drought conditions. But what's more, concerning is that summer has yet to begin. With the