The highest mountain in the world, Mount Everest, is losing its ice rapidly, according to a report from a mission launched to measure changes in the Himalayas due to climate change.
A US-funded mission led by the Mountain Institute will be meeting in Kathmandu to try and find practical solutions to the threat of catastrophic high-altitude flooding from lakes forming at the foot of melting glaciers.
Growing evidence from climbers and local people suggests that climate change is making a strong impact even well above the 8,000-metre line, with signs of melting ice on the southern approach to Everest.
"When I climbed Mount Everest last year I climbed the majority of ice without crampons because there was so much bare rock," the Guardian quoted John All, an expert on Nepal glaciers as saying.
"In the past that would have been suicide because there was so much ice," he stated.
All said that the terrain he crossed was very different from the landscapes described by earlier generations of climbers and that historic photographs of the Everest region also showed a longer and deeper covering of ice.
Tshering Tenzing Sherpa, who has overseen rubbish collection at the site for the past few years has said that the Everest Base Camp, which occupies a high rocky plateau next to the Khumbu glacier, has undergone similar changes and that the summer monsoon has brought several deep new crevasses in the black ice beneath the rocks.
"Everything is changing with the glaciers," Sherpa added.