Congratulations on reaching the summit of Mount Everest! You’re standing on top of the world and reveling in accomplishment. But wait—how will you clean up after that exhausting journey?
When you’re scaling the slopes of Mount Everest, showering might be the last thing on your mind. But believe it or not, it’s still possible to stay fresh and clean even at the highest peaks. In this guide, we’ll show you how to shower on Mount Everest without freezing your way to hygiene.
From special equipment and biodegradable soaps to staying warm and conserving water, you’ll learn what it takes to wash up even at 29,000 feet. With some preparation, you can enjoy a well-earned shower after conquering the mountain—all while respecting nature and preserving delicate alpine ecosystems.
Cleaning the Body: Hygiene Requirements on the Mountain
When you’re at the top of the world, hygiene is as important as at home. After all, spending days exposed to harsh elements and difficult climb conditions can take a toll on your body. Having a shower in such an environment might sound like an impossibility. But there are ways to keep yourself nice and clean while climbing Mt. Everest.
For starters, you’ll want to start with general body hygiene. You can focus on keeping your body clean and free from dirt; bacteria can help keep your skin from breaking out. This means you should wash your face and hands regularly during the day and the rest of your body at night. You can also lather some soap or use sanitary wipes between climbs. You will get a large tent in a base camp with a few hot and cold water barres. You heat water for your bath in a gas stove. When it’s possible to heat water while climbing, you can use it for a shower-like experience by filling a basin with hot water.
You’ll also want to ensure you’re cleaning yourself properly by scrubbing every inch of exposed skin. Bathing correctly is essential so that germs and dirt don’t accumulate, especially in the areas they touch most often. Finally, ensure that you constantly change into dry and warm clothes after cleaning so that moisture isn’t trapped against the skin for too long.
Water Sources on Mount Everest
There are few places to take a shower when you are climbing Mount Everest. So you need to get prepared and bring the right supplies. One option is to use the water sources you find while you ascend- however, these are usually limited. You can see snow on the lower elevation of Mount Everest, which can be melted and used for washing or bathing. But as you ascend higher, the water sources become more scarce as glaciers appear.
At this point, rationing your water supply carefully and using water sparingly is essential.
Another option is to take your water supply with you. You can carry water in a collapsible jerrycan or an insulated bottle. This can help extend your water’s life while allowing you to take a quick shower or bath during your ascend. A short bath can be incredibly refreshing after a long day of hiking. It may come as a surprise, but the less you shower, the better it is while you ascend. If you shower less, there will be less risk of catching a cold, which you would not want before climbing.
Methods of Washing and Disinfecting
You might be wondering, how do you even shower on a mountain? Well, there are a few ways to clean up on the go.
Wet wipes are the most popular and practical way of cleaning off dirt or sweat. They are easy to transport and are not easily affected by water-freezing temperatures. The cons are that they only sometimes remove only the dirt, so they should not be used as your only method of disinfecting.
Portable Shower Bag
Many climbers bring a portable shower bag for more thorough cleaning and disinfection. Shower bags are like large zip-lock bags. It is first filled with warm water and hung outside the tent. Gravity causes the water to drop in thin streams, allowing you to enjoy a warm shower. Some shower bags also have built-in soap dispensers, so no extra containers must be carried while climbing.
Disinfectant sprays are also great for quickly disinfecting on the go. But you should not use it as your only cleaning method as it does not remove dirt or sweat from your body. These sprays can also make your body feel sticky if you cannot rinse it afterward.
Suitable Soaps and Disinfectants for Mountaineering
Special hygiene care is necessary if you are considering climbing Mount Everest. Soaps and disinfectants sometimes are beneficial, mainly if you are on the route without access to running water or standard facilities. That’s why including soap and disinfectant in your backpack that suits your mountain climbing is important.
Soaps and Disinfectants
Here are a few tips for choosing a proper soap and disinfectant for your hygiene:
- Choose soaps free from artificial fragrances because fragrances could attract insects or animals while you are in the mountains.
- Make sure your soap and disinfectant are biodegradable. As the name implies, biodegradable means it will break down over time. So it won’t cause any environmental damage when used in water sources at high altitudes.
- Choose soaps and disinfectants in small sealed packages so they’re easy to carry while mountaineering.
- Avoid products that contain detergents or chemicals like bleach. It can be dangerous if they come into contact with ice or snow at high altitudes.
- Be sure the product is labeled with an expiration date. If the Soaps and Disinfectants have expired, don’t use them.
By following these tips, you can find the perfect balance of hygiene and safety for your next Everest climb.
The Challenges of Showering in the Cold
Let’s be honest; taking a shower on the summit of Mount Everest is no easy feat. After all, you’re in the world’s tallest mountain range, and here, the temperature gets as low as -50°F. So you must be equipped with the appropriate materials and knowledge to make it happen.
Despite the cold temperatures in Everest, your body will still be dirty because of sweat while ascending. First of all, you’ll need to get access to freezing water. So you can get some melting snow, but only if it’s been purified into drinkable water before you use it for a shower. Finding a nearby water source could be hard, so you’d better come prepared.
Insulation and Heating
Showing up there with cold water is impossible, so you’d have to find insulation for the water and heating so that water doesn’t freeze mid-shower. You cannot use many power options up there because there are not any, so to cope with this situation, solar energy is an excellent choice if it’s available. Otherwise, you can also take double-layered pipe insulation and thick rubber mats. This will keep your feet warm and not let them freeze while showering.
Hot Water Bags
Lastly, hot water bags are essential. You can fill these with warm water before getting in and place them around the shower area for some precious heat. If you opt for this method, it can make a difference between taking an icy shower and getting nice and clean.
Accessories to Stay Clean on the Mountain
You might have wondered, “How do you stay clean while trying to climb Mount Everest?” Luckily, there are specific accessories to help you with this challenge.
Practical and lightweight, solar showers are the way for on-the-go bathing. Just fill the bag with water, hang it in the sun for a few hours, and use the nozzle to get warm water flowing. And then you can be quick about your shower!
Soap and Towels
You can likewise bring a travel-sized soap and a small towel as it will only take up a little space in your backpack. Pack a microfiber towel that absorbs more water than a regular cotton one. These towels are highly absorbent, so you don’t need to worry about wasting too much water after a shower.
Mountaineers generally do not shower on Everest because its harsh weather conditions, high altitude, and freezing temperature do not provide suitable conditions. Likewise, staying in the water for a long is unsafe as the cold may cause hypothermia and frostbite. Instead, climbers may rely on baby wipes to stay hygienic during their climb. Baby wipes are also great for a quick wash if you want to avoid committing to taking a proper shower. They’re also incredibly lightweight and can be stashed anywhere. So it’s perfect when you want something fast but want to avoid the hassle of lugging around too much gear.
Keeping clean is an essential part of any challenging mountain climb. So ensure you invest in the right accessories to get all crucial hygiene routines on Everest.
It may seem impossible to shower while climbing Mount Everest, but it can be done with the proper preparation and know-how. You’ll need the right gear, quick thinking, and a creative spirit to stay hygienic, safe, and comfortable on your climb.
By packing a few extra items and creating creative solutions on the go, you can keep your body clean and enjoy the adventure without any worries. Remember to bring enough supplies and resources to clean yourself as you go and enjoy the magnificent views while you’re at it.