Prepared by Mario Fares
“Natural Toilets” are becoming a growing issue among mountain lovers, no one is ready to talk about it as it is considered a taboo.
Going to the toilet depends on the culture of the country, each one has its own rules and norms, and every mountain lover should respect it while visiting a mountain sight. Pee and poop spots along hiking paths make these areas unattractive to the public, thus hikers tend to choose other trails. It is not only for beauty issues those acts should be avoided, but also, excrement contaminate mountain landscapes and natural water sources, also turning the area into habitats for flies as well as other annoying insects. Many uneducated people don’t want to take responsibility and continue to behave like animals. They are aware about their personal hygiene but not aware that contaminating the environment will also affect them eventually.
The problem of contamination has the same roots in most countries. It is not common to raise this topic in society because nobody wants to explain the techniques of how to pee and poop in the mountains.
1- Know your trail before you start:
This should be done not only for this purpose, but it will allow you to know the dangers you may encounter, the weather and many other things. Try to know if there are any public toilets on the route.
2-Search for public toilet areas:
It is hard to find any in Lebanon, but if you are traveling to another country you can find a lot of them and you should endure until the next one.
3-Take special bags, shovel and toilet paper:
Be prepared if you don’t find public toilets. Use the shovel and put the poop inside the special bag until you reach a toilet. Don’t throw it in regular garbage.
4-Avoid water resources:
When you have to do it and no tools or toilets are available, just remember one fundamental rule, never do it into or near a water source, you may infect other hikers or animals.
How to find places to pee or poop:
On the way:
1- On the trail:
Hide from everyone’s attention, dig a hole and collect your excrement there, or the best choice would be to put them in a separate container.
2- On the climbing route:
When you are wearing your harness, it is hard to take it off on the wall. Most climbers understand one another and do not care if someone needs to do that right in front of the team. However you should consider portable toilets, which were invented especially for mountain lovers who sleep on vertical walls.
You can find a tall tree. It has to be at least 30 meters away from your tents. Make small holes for your pee and bigger ones for your poop, and don’t forget to collect them in a bag before leaving the spot.
If you are camping near stones, you can use them as a toilet, by hiding your poop deep enough and protecting the place. It is recommended to mark the place so all the group will be limited in one spot.
If you are camping on a glacier find a place where nobody can see you, and try not to go farther than 50 meters from the camping spot because glaciers are dangerous.