Human waste and garbage are ruining the beauty and integrity of our national parks. Mt. Whitney and Inyo National Forest aim to solve that problem by enforcing strict rules and penalties for anyone who disobeys park regulations on maintaining and preserving the mountain and forest.
Historically, park officials, mountaineers, and park visitors didn’t realize how badly left-behind human waste impacted the environment. Now, however, we know that human waste is actually very hazardous to nature, wildlife, and nearby communities.
Therefore, when people did leave waste, it became a problem for environments like Mt. Whitney’s that has little to no soil to dig a cathole. So, many climbers left their wastes exposed. Even more concerning, feces decompose very slowly. Therefore, Mt. Whitney’s poop problem grew as the mountain saw more visitors that were unaware of their impact.
Fortunately, much has changed; climbers and campers now have a solution that allows them to pack out their wastes safely. Today, Mt. Whitney and Inyo National Forest promote leave-no-trace ethics and practices. While Mt. Whitney regulations include prohibiting depositing bodily waste within 100 feet of water sources, campsites or trails, park officials strongly encourage that you pack out everything, including your waste.
Leave No Trace with Waste Bags
While Mt. Whitney has a daily use limit, more than a hundred people still climb Mt. Whitney each day, particularly in the summer. To curb the poop problem, Mt. Whitney officials provide each climber with a waste bag along with the issued permit. Waste Bag is an industry standard term that stands for ‘Waste Alleviation and Gelling’ Bag.
Because you can spend up to 18 hours on an Mt. Whitney day hike, it’s ideal to bring more than one waste bag. The RESTOP RS1 is a waste bag for liquids that contains superabsorbent polymers and enzymes that will absorb a full 20 ounces of urine. Thanks to its wide opening with semi-rigid rim, it’s easy to use by men and women, and the one-way valve prevents spillage.
The RS2 can be used for both urine and solid waste and uses a patented triple layer barrier “bag within a bag” design to safely contain and neutralize human wastes using the same polymers and enzymes used in the RS1. Once the wastes are inside the bag, waste activated gelling works to break down the waste and convert it into a deodorized gel.
All RESTOP waste bags are puncture-proof, odor-free, and spill-proof. They each come with ample toilet paper and antimicrobial wipe for added hygiene. They seal securely and can be rolled up without fear of leaking or spillage; they can be stored in your backpack along with the rest of your gear until you’re back at the mountain’s base where you can throw them away in any regular trash receptacle.