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vertical_reality


Jun 17, 2005, 5:10 AM
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Climbers and Poop
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I read this article on cnn yesterday...

In reply to:
Sanitation problems for climbers
Thursday, June 16, 2005 Posted: 12:15 AM EDT (0415 GMT)

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) -- Mountaineers who ascend North America's loftiest peak are often brought down to earth by "virus-laden poo" left behind by previous climbers, a medical report says.

The unsanitary conditions created by piles of human feces on Mount McKinley can cause diarrhea among climbers, which can lead to widespread problems when combined with the physical stress of a mountain expedition, according to the report in the journal Wilderness and Environmental Medicine.

Of 132 climbers interviewed on the 20,320-foot (6,200-meter) peak in the summer of 2002, more than a quarter reported having trouble with diarrhea, said the report, which was conducted by officials with the Alaska Division of Public Health.

At high altitudes and in cold temperatures, the authors said those troubles can be severe and potentially dangerous, leading to acute mountain sickness, hypothermia and fatigue-related accidents.

"They think they're going out on a pristine climb and there's virus-laden poo all around them," said Dr. Bradford Gessner, a mountaineer and one of the study's authors.

The researchers said other peaks around the world had similar sanitation troubles but they did not have data on the degree of the problem.

The study recommends a campaign to better educate climbers about hygiene and to impose stiffer penalties for breaches. Climbers also should use alcohol-based hand sanitizers or other antiseptic cleansers after defecating, use purification tablets for drinking water and avoid crowded sleeping arrangements.

Such steps also are appropriate in other well-traveled climbing routes, like Washington's Mount Rainier and on Himalayan peaks, they said.

The National Park Service already has started a clean-up campaign, including the distribution of devices called clean mountain cans to store feces for removal from the mountain, said Roger Robinson, lead mountaineering ranger for Denali National Park and Preserve, site of McKinley.

Because of the harsh conditions, piles of feces have accumulated at the mountain's crowded high camp, located at 17,200 feet (5,200 meters), Robinson said.

"It's just an ice pack up there. You really can't dig down and bury anything," he said.


For some reason I doubt that it's piles of poop that are causing climber sickness. Malnutrition and over exertion are the most likely sources. I don't think viruses can survive in the cold temperature. I know that bacteria cannot survive on the 8,000 m peaks but I'm not sure about viruses. Besides in order for the viruses to be passed on there would have to be physical contact.

Of course they might be right, I don't know that much about poop.


carolinakinight


Jun 17, 2005, 5:27 AM
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http://www.rockclimbing.com/topic/91192


slobmonster


Jun 17, 2005, 7:40 AM
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killclimbz


Jun 17, 2005, 7:49 AM
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Another crappy thread?


theflyingsquirrel


Jun 17, 2005, 8:04 AM
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POOP!.... yes POOP! .....


jeep4evr


Jun 17, 2005, 8:14 AM
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sounds to me like those 132 whatever climbers just had some bad luck. Cold weather itself doesn't make people catch viruses, but the fact that when its cold more people are indoors. On high mountain ascents, if you're sharing a tent with someone with some kind of virus, chances are you'll get it too, and spread it like the plague.
So yeah, shit happens, but not from shit.


zozo


Jun 17, 2005, 8:17 AM
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POOP!.... POOP!.... POOP!.... POOP!.... POOP!.... POOP!....
POOP!.... POOP!.... POOP!.... POOP!.... POOP!.... POOP!....
POOP!.... POOP!.... POOP!.... POOP!.... POOP!.... POOP!....
POOP!.... POOP!.... POOP!.... POOP!.... POOP!.... POOP!....
POOP!.... POOP!.... POOP!.... POOP!.... POOP!.... POOP!....
POOP!.... POOP!.... POOP!.... POOP!.... POOP!.... POOP!....


bigjonnyc


Jun 17, 2005, 8:24 AM
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Hey vertical_reality, this is pretty much how it happens:

http://image40.webshots.com/...1740360kTpYwg_ph.jpg


killclimbz


Jun 17, 2005, 8:39 AM
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I am thinking certain people on this site have a fecal fetish...


Partner gunksgoer


Jun 17, 2005, 9:16 AM
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In reply to:
POOP!.... POOP!.... POOP!.... POOP!.... POOP!.... POOP!....
POOP!.... POOP!.... POOP!.... POOP!.... POOP!.... POOP!....
POOP!.... POOP!.... POOP!.... POOP!.... POOP!.... POOP!....
POOP!.... POOP!.... POOP!.... POOP!.... POOP!.... POOP!....
POOP!.... POOP!.... POOP!.... POOP!.... POOP!.... POOP!....
POOP!.... POOP!.... POOP!.... POOP!.... POOP!.... POOP!....

Hehehe he said POOP!


musicman


Jun 17, 2005, 9:27 AM
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In reply to:
Another crappy thread?

aw man...you beat me to it!


csproul


Jun 17, 2005, 9:47 AM
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I have gotten sick on high camps in the Andes above 5000 meters and I'm convinced it was contamination from melting snow for water. At common high camps, the latrine area shifts from year to year and who knows what ends up in the melt water. The symtops of intestinal bacteria/viruses are very different from malnutrition and overexertion, and I do believe that some bacteria/viruses and spores are very capable of living dormant in those conditions and waiting for the proper host.


jude


Jun 22, 2005, 10:37 AM
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I just got back from Denali, the Washburn route. Aside from multiple pee holes, it was very clean. The NPS briefing on waste disposal was very thorough, and everybody seemed to be acting responsibly. The only sickness I saw was from altitude.


thinksinpictures


Jun 22, 2005, 11:19 AM
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Without more info than is in the article I can't say this with absolute certainty, but the bacteria in question is almost certainly fecal coliform. This little guy is also the reason that you're not supposed to go to beaches in urban areas after a large storm (excess sewage and stirred up coastal waters).

To the best of my knowledge fecal coliform is not killed by cold temperatures (within reasonable levels, say temperatures naturally occurring on the surface of the Earth), but probably only slowed or suspended. As soon as the bacteria make it back to a nice warm place - like inside your body - they're as good as new and you end up with really nasty diarrhea.


thinksinpictures


Jun 22, 2005, 11:20 AM
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In reply to:
Without more info than is in the article I can't say this with absolute certainty, but the bacteria in question is almost certainly fecal coliform. This little guy is also the reason that you're not supposed to go to beaches in urban areas after a large storm (excess sewage and stirred up coastal waters).

To the best of my knowledge fecal coliform is not killed by cold temperatures (within reasonable levels, say temperatures naturally occurring on the surface of the Earth), but probably only slowed or suspended. As soon as the bacteria make it back to a nice warm place - like inside your body - they're as good as new and you end up with really nasty diarrhea.


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