A version of this article originally appeared on Climate Progress.
Mount Everest has become a microcosm for the rest of the planet. Once an isolated place for adventurers, the mountain is now extremely crowded, polluted, and facing dramatic changes as global temperatures rise.
As commercial climbing outfits have blossomed over the last two decades, more and more climbers are flocking to Everest. The overcrowding problem became clear earlier this month when the mountain was clogged by a traffic jam of roughly 150 people trying to reach the summit -- contributing to the death of four climbers.
The traffic jam made big news. But a couple weeks before the incident, another major event took place on the mountain that only got attention from within the climbing community.
Russell Brice, head of the leading Everest climbing operation Himalayan Experience, announced that he would pull his team off Everest, citing unprecedented temperatures that made climbing too dangerous. Heeding advice from experienced Sherpas worried about the warmth, Brice decided to cancel his 2012 expedition because of unstable ice.