Hikers on Mount Whitney now have to carry a “sanitation kit” with them so that they can pack out their own poop.
The Forest Service has removed the outhouses from the popular Whitney trail because it was becoming too expensive and dangerous to maintain them by helicopter. Instead, the 19,000 hikers who climb Mount Whitney each year are given a double-sealed sanitation kit, often called a Wagbag, and told to use them.
The Wagbags contain a powder that turns into a gel when it soaks up liquid. Hikers are expected to use the bags and then carry them back down the mountain to deposit them in receptacles at the end of the trail. Over 4,500 pounds of waste have been collected at one trail head so far this year.
Officials hope that the bags, which are already being used in other areas, will help keep the wilderness clean.