MOUNT EVEREST

Mount Everest, or Mount Chomolungma, is the world’s highest mountain above the mean sea level at 8,848 metres (29,029 ft). It is located in the Himalayas on the Nepal (Sagarmatha Zone)-China (Tibet) border.

In 1856, the Great Trigonometric Survey of British India established the first published height of Everest, then known as Peak XV, at 29,002 ft (8,840 m). In 1865, Everest was given its official English name by the Royal Geographical Society upon recommendation of Andrew Waugh, the British Surveyor General of India at the time, who named it after his predecessor in the post, and former chief, Sir George Everest.  Chomolungma had been in common use by Tibetans for centuries, but Waugh was unable to propose an established local name because Nepal and Tibet were closed to foreigners.

Mount Everest is just one of over 30 peaks in the Himalayas that are over 24,000 ft/7315m high. Himalaya is a Sanskrit word meaning, “abode of snow”, which is so true. The name of the mountain in Nepal is Sagarmatha, which means “goddess of the sky”. The snowfields which dominate many of the peaks in the Himalayas are permanent. Yes, they never melt (not even in the summer). That means there are glaciers in the Himalayas – lots of them. Mount Everest is permanently covered in a layer of ice, topped with snow. The “top” of the mountain at which the elevation was measured can vary as much as twenty feet or more, depending on how much snow has fallen on its peak. Scientists believe that the actual tip of the rock lies tens of feet below the ice and snow on its summit. There are current plans to use ground penetrating radar to get a reading of the actual height of the mountain beneath all that snow. Although the Himalayan Range is only 1,550 miles/2480km long, the average height of all the major peaks in the Himalayas easily makes it the highest mountain range on land.

DO YOU KNOW ?

  • Mount Everest is also called Chomolangma, meaning “Goddess Mother of Snows” in Tibetan and Sagarmatha, meaning “Mother of the Universe” in Nepalese. The mountain is sacred to the native people.
  • British surveyors named the peak for George Everest (properly pronounced “I-ver-ist”) a Surveyor General of India in the mid-nineteenth century.
  • Everest’s current elevation is based on a GPS device implanted on the highest rock point under ice and snow in 1999 by an American expedition. The mountain is higher than 21 Empire State Buildings stacked on top of each other.
  • Mount Everest was once surveyed at exactly 29,000 feet but the surveyors didn’t think people would believe that so they added two feet to its elevation, making it 29,002 feet.
  • Mount Everest is rising from 3 to 6 millimeters or about 1/3 inch a year. Everest is also moving northeastward about 3 inches a year.
  • Mount Everest was dissected by glaciers into a huge pyramid with three faces and three major ridges on the north, south, and west sides of the mountain. Five major glaciers continue to chisel Mount Everest—Kangshung Glacier on the east; East Rongbuk Glacier on the northeast; Rongbuk Glacier on the north; and Khumbu Glacier on the west and southwest.
  • Mount Everest has an extreme climate. The summit temperature never rises above freezing or 32° F (0° C). Its summit temperatures in January average -33° F (-36° C) and can drop to -76° F (-60° C). In July, the average summit temperature is -2° F (-19° C).
  • The best time to climb Everest is in early May before the monsoon season.
  • The Southeast Ridge from Nepal, called the South Col Route, and the Northeast Ridge or the North Col Route from Tibet are the usual climbing routes.
  • In 1978 Reinhold Messner and Peter Habeler were the first to climb Mount Everest without supplemental oxygen. Messner later described his summit experience: “In my state of spiritual abstraction, I no longer belong to myself and to my eyesight. I am nothing more than a single narrow gasping lung, floating over the mists and summits.” In 1980 Messner made the first solo ascent, which was via a new route on the mountain’s north side.
  • The largest expedition to climb Mount Everest was a 410-climber Chinese team in 1975.
  • The most climbers to reach the summit in a single day was 40 on May 10, 1993.
  • The safest year on Mount Everest was 1993 when 129 climbers reached the summit and only 8 died.
  • The least safe year on Mount Everest was 1996 when 98 climbers summitted and 15 died. That season was the Into Thin Air fiasco documented by author Jon Krakauer
  • Sherpa Babu Chiri stayed on the summit of Everest for 21 hours and 30 minutes.
  • Stacey Allison from Portland, Oregon made the first ascent by an American woman on September 29, 1988.
  • The country with the most deaths on Mount Everest is Nepal with 47 (as of 2009).
  • Jean-Marc Boivin of France made the fastest descent from the summit of Mount Everest to the base by swiftly paragliding down in 11 minutes.
  • Davo Kamicar of Slovenia made the first ski descent of Mount Everest on October 10, 2000.
  • Over 150 bodies of dead climbers are on the peak.
  • A jumping spider lives up to 22,000 feet on Mount Everest.
  • A helicopter piloted by a Frenchman supposedly made a hover landing on the summit in 2005.

 

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~ by ferry1984 on July 17, 2011.

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