Mount Everest, Nepal/China
The world's tallest mountain has such imposing conditions that not many people are able to set foot on it, right? Wrong. There are crowds from the Annapurna circuit, a trekking route that offers views of the fabled peak, and then there are tourists who hike right up to Everest Base Camp. During peak climbing season, there is even a line to get to the summit, and the route up the mountain is littered with discarded food packaging, broken tents and used oxygen tanks.
These conditions come from the practice of having amateur climbers basically “pay their way” to the summit. The relative ease of climbing Everest, compared with other, more technical Himalayan peaks, means that anyone with $50,000 to spare can become part of an expedition complete with equipment, porters and experienced guides. A recent cleanup expedition sought to bring down about 11,000 pounds of trash from the slopes of the mountain.