No trace !

Friends of the Huayhuash
Hiking, climbing, mountaineering, expeditions, all our activities on mountains lead us to live more or less in wilderness. Quickly, the delicate issue of our footprint on nature and, of course the management of food or human waste occurs immediatly.

The main question of the human footprint on nature and the disastrous effects of human activities on our environment can only force us to preserve the natural heritage that is already in jeopardy, not to pollute our Mother Earth specialy mountains, natural background for mountaineering and climbing activities.

World Associations are now quite active in the management of our wastes and garbage. Historical associations defending Mountain human footprint as "Mountain Wilderness" organize environment cleaning and protection actions everywhere.

At single level, new associations like "Leave No Trace" (site leave not trace ) offer both process, solutions and actions to promote "zero waste ".

During an expedition to the very beautiful and wild Huayhuah Cordillera in Peru, I found on the back of the map of this area a set of recommendations and practical advices named

"Environmental responsabilities in the Cordillera Huayhuash"

The organization who established this set of rules and practices (Friends of Huayhuash) has now apparently disappeared but theses rules are still completely valid.

In addition they have the great merit of being practical and directly usable.

Garbage : pack out, what you pack in

if you can bring food and supplies with you, either in your own pack or on the backs of animals, then you casn very easily carry all the garbage that is created from your food and supplies back out of the mountains and back to the city where you started

- do not leave organic foods like orange peels, egg shells, and banana peels on the ground. Because of the high and dry climate it can take many years for orange peels, eggs shells, banana peels, and other items to biodegrade.

- bring plenty of garbage bags to have available around your campsites. During the day have an extra plastic bag with you to collect your candy wrappers, orange peels, egg shells, plastic and any other garbage you create.

Do not :

- do not drop your toilet paper, cigarette butts, candy wrappers or plastic bags and bottles on the ground,
- do not leave orange peels, eggs shells, banana peels on the ground where you stopped for lunch or a rest,
- do not hide or throw any garbage into rocks and holes along the trail,
- do not burn your garbage. All garbage does not burn completely and is left laying in the fire pit,
- do not bury your organic waste. This waste will not burn completely.

All buried garbage will attract the local dogs to come and dig up the garbage looking for things that smell good to them.

Garbage life
Toilet construction and maintenance

So you will find this recommandations here.

For an easier construction of toilets, I provide the whole document : you can download and use it freely.

Please read these lines, do not hesitate to implement these simple steps.

When leaving a place, be sure to leave no trace !

Toilet and human waste

the worst thing to see and deal around camp sites is human waste.
Be respectful of your campsite and be respectful of those trekkers who arrive after you.
It is everyone responsability to have and use an organiszed toilet at all campsites that you use

Do not :

- leave your human waste laying on the ground with a rock sitting on top to keep the toilet paper from blowing away !
- if you are trekking with a group of any size, dig a proper toilet hole for the group to use.
- if you do not have a group toilet, then find a large rock to turn over, and use the hole in the ground from the rock as a toilet. When you have finished, burn your toilet paper and return the rock bach onto the hole.

I am proud to present and promote the Kathleen Meyer's amazing book that combine humor and practical approch of human waste management - book to read and to buy !

“How to shit in the woods”

This book present and develop practical solutions for managing a sometimes theme

Available on Internet web sites and good travel shop


How to shit in the woods

Toilet construction and maintenance

Click on picture to open whole document


Camp fires

- do not build camp fires ! there are few trees in the Cordillera. The local people depend heavily on old wood and cow-pies to use as a fuel to cook on

- if you collect wood for a camp fire you are taking valuable fuel source away from the local farmers. In addition camp fires leave ugly black scars on the ground and invite people to throw garbage into the fires.

Trail ethics and care

Stay on existing trails when following them. If you have animals carrying your equipment make sure your animal drivers keep the animals on designated trails.

- do not allow your animals to follow you on very small or faint trails. This will cause trail erosion and makes news trails deeper and wider.

- do not build rock piles to mark the trails or the mountain passes. Rock piles are a form of human trash and only detract from the natural setting of the mountains.

- do not build rock piles to mark the very small or faint trails. Leave the adventure and exploring for all those who follow you.