Expedition Reaches Summit Of Colonie Landfill

By Dodie Fingerton

Published February 23rd, 2015

The north face of the Colonie Landfill (©2015—The Albany Smudge)

COLONIE—A six-man expedition consisting of three Englishmen, two Swedes and a Nepali Sherpa from Kathmandu has reached the summit of the Town of Colonie Landfill.

Expedition leader, Dr. Robert Pughunter, confirmed his party successfully negotiated the summit Feb. 19 with a three-word tweet:

“We did it!”

According to sources stationed at the trash heap’s 4,000-meter base camp, Pughunter — along with Cornelius Bennett and David Davidsonshire  —departed Essex, England aboard the S.S. Detritus bound for New Zealand on September 2.

In Wellington, they met the two Swedes —Borgus Wilander and Wilhelm Becker-Lendl, as well as the Nepali Sherpa, Norgay Yagya — and began preparations for the trip to Colonie and their eventual assault on the 200-acre mound of refuse.

“We've finally arrived in Colonie," Pughunter tweeted two months later. "T'is a beautiful hamlet, but it's the landfill that looms large in all our eyes.”


At 8,612 meters (28,252 ft.), the Town of Colonie Landfill is the world's tallest man-made mountain of garbage. It can be seen from space and is second only to Mt. Everest in total vertical meters above sea level. That it grows by 600 to 800 tons per day and has only been in existence since the mid 60's, adds to its allure, making it one of the most sought-after and treacherous climbs in North America.

Along with approximately 150 porters and 16 additional Sherpas — all under Yagya's supervision — the expedition used closed-circuit oxygen equipment in their accent to base camp. Once there, they began a series of intense altitude acclimatization programs sanctioned by the various waste disposal crews who brave the summit daily to dump trash.

By early February, the party established a series of advanced camps that reached nearly two thirds of the way up the landfill's north face.

Pughunter, on Feb. 12, tweeted: “I can see the summit break free from the clouds. I see men with hardhats operating large excavators that gleam in the mid-morning sun. And even though it's 40 degrees below zero, there are garbage flies everywhere and the smell is horrifying. I know we'll be there soon.”

He was right. Within a week, a tiny, bluish-yellow flame ignited, signifying the group's arrival at the peak's uppermost methane gas-extraction well.

British Prime Minister, David Cameron, declared, “For those that said it couldn't be done, I say 'rubbish' to you, good sirs!”

The expedition is expected to return to civilization — and an anticipated worldwide media tour — in the back of a Caterpillar dump truck sometime before the shift-change on Thursday afternoon.


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