Mount Everest is the highest mountain in the world, with an elevation of 8,848.6 metres (29,031.7 feet) above sea level. The height was recently measured by Chinese and Nepali authorities in the year 2020. It is located in the Mahalangur Himal subrange of the Himalayas. In Nepal, it is known as Sagarmatha and is one of the major attractions for tourists in Nepal. Its towering height makes it a sought-after destination for mountain climbers and adventurers, as well as a source of pride for all Nepalese people.Here are some of the interesting facts about Mount Everest.
1) The Name of the Peak
Mount Everest, was originally named as Peak XV by the British. It was not until Andrew Waugh, the British Army Officer and Surveyor General of India, decided to give it a more official name. Waugh wanted to name the peak based on local names, but he found it difficult to choose just one. Then he decided to name it after George Everest, a British surveyor who was his predecessor. However, Everest himself objected to the name, saying that it was difficult to pronounce for Indians. Later the Royal Geographical Society officially named the highest peak as Mount Everest, and it has been known by that name ever since.In Tibet, Mount Everest is known as Qomolangma, whose literal meaning is “Holy Mother.” The name “Sagarmatha” was given by Nepali Government in the 1960s whose meaning is The Head in the Sky.
2) The Height of Mount Everest
The height of Mount Everest was first measured by the Survey of India agency in 1850 as 29,002ft, and was declared the highest peak in the world. However, the height of the mountain was later re-measured during a survey between 1952 to 1954, when it was determined to be 8848 metres,(29,029 feet).The earthquake of 2015 increased the height of Mount Everest to 8848.6 metres and this new height has been officially recognized by both China and Nepal.
3) Mount Everest is Not Really the Tallest Mountain in the World
Mount Everest is often thought of as the tallest mountain in the world, but it is only the highest when measured from sea level. The title for the tallest mountain actually belongs to Mount Kea, a volcano on the island of Hawaii. Mount Kea measures 10,210 meters base to peak height. However, its height above sea level is only 4,205 meters. Moreover, the peak of Ecuador’s Mount Chimborazo is actually farther from the center of the Earth. Located just one degree south of the equator, where Earth’s bulge is greatest, Chimborazo’s summit stands at an height of 6,268 meters (20,564 feet) above sea level. In fact, due to the shape of the Earth, Chimborazo is over 2,072 meters (6,800 feet) farther from the center of the earth than the peak of Mount Everest.
4) How Was Mount Everest Formed?
According to the study, The Himalayan mountain range and Tibetan Plateau were formed approximately 40-50 million years ago during the Eocene Epoch as a result of the collision between the Indian and Eurasian tectonic plates. Before the collision, the Tethys Ocean existed between these two plates. The collision between the Indian Plate and Tibet in China began around 80 million years ago and involved the north edge of the Indian Plate pushing into the Earth’s mantle and dragging the Indian continent towards Tibet. Approximately 55 million years ago, the Tethys Ocean closed completely due to the collision of the plates, causing the ocean floor sediment to be squeezed and lightweight sediments to crumple and form the Himalayas. This massive collision also led to the creation of Mount Everest.
5) The Height of Mount Everest is Increasing
The collision between the Indian and Eurasian tectonic plates, which started around 40-50 million years ago and led to the formation of Mount Everest,is still ongoing today. The Indian Plate is slowly sliding underneath the Eurasian Plate, causing the Himalayans to be uplifted and increasing the height of Mount Everest by approximately 4mm every year. This ongoing collision is responsible for the continuing growth of the mountain. After the earthquake of 2015 which led to tectonic movement, the height of everest rose to 8848.86m.
6) Route to the top of Peak
The two most popular routes for climbing Mount Everest are the Southeast Ridge and the North Ridge. The Southeast Ridge was taken by Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hilary in 1953 and involves traversing the dangerous Khumbu Icefall. The summit day on this route is slightly shorter and is easier to descend quickly during the emergency. The North Ridge, located in Tibet, is less hazardous for both climbers and guides and is accessible by jeep to base camp. However, climbers must still traverse a long distance over difficult terrain to reach the summit.
7) Risk of Climbing Everest
According to the Himalayan Database, more than 300 people have died while attempting to climb Mount Everest. The overall death rate for the mountain is approximately 1.2%, calculated based on all those who have attempted to reach the summit. Dead bodies are common on Everest as they cannot be buried on the icy ground. There are several common causes of death among those who attempt to climb Mount Everest, including avalanches, lack of oxygen, exhaustion, falls and other accidents. One of the most dangerous areas for climbers is the Khumbu Icefall.
To make the climb safer, it is important for climbers to be properly equipped and to have adequate knowledge of the weather and routes on the mountain.
8) The Death Zone
The region above 8000 meters in altitude is known as the death zone because the thin air contains only about 60% of the oxygen found at sea level. Without supplemental oxygen, the human body can survive for only a short period of time in this environment. In the death zone, climbers’ brains and lungs are deprived of oxygen, increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke. All of the world’s 14 highest peaks, which are located in the Himalaya and Karakoram ranges in Asia, have death zones.
9) The 2 PM Rule
On their attempt to climb Mount Everest in 1996, Rob Hall and Scott Fischer and their teams made mistakes and poor decisions, leading to tragedy during their descent. Despite reaching the summit, they failed to consider the potential risks of their descent and ended up suffering consequences on the way back to their camp.
So, they set the “2pm rule” as a guideline to help ensure safety while ascending and descending the mountain. The rule states that climbers should start their descent from the summit no later than 2pm in order to avoid being caught in the afternoon storms that can occur on the mountain. This is because the weather can change quickly on Everest, and being caught in a storm can be extremely dangerous for climbers, particularly at high altitudes where hypothermia and other cold-weather injuries are a major concern. It’s important for climbers to be aware of the weather forecast and to monitor conditions closely while on the mountain, and to start their descent as early as possible if they think they may be at risk of being caught in a storm.
10) First Climb to Everest
The first known attempt to climb Mount Everest was made in 1921 by a British team using the Tibetan route. However, they were unable to complete the ascent due to a storm. In 1953, a British expedition organised by the Joint Himalayan Committee succeeded in reaching the summit, with Edmund Hillary of New Zealand and Tenzing Norgay, a Sherpa from Nepal, becoming the first people to reach the top of the mountain using the Southeast ridge route.
11) Everest Has Been Climbed by Over 6000 People
Since the first successful ascent of Mount Everest by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay in 1953, over 6,000 people have climbed Everest with over 10,000 successful ascents. In 2018, a record number of people who reached the summit was approximately 800 people. This broke the previous record of 667 people in the year 2013.
12) Highest Number of Times to Climb the Summit
Kami Rita, who is a Sherpa guide from Nepal has the record for most ascents to the summit since May 2018. He climbed the peak for the 26th time on 7 May 2022 and broke his own record set on 7 may 2021. Her father is one of the first professional Sherpa guides after Mount Everest was opened to foreign climbers in 1950. Moreover, he also has the record for the most 8,000 meters summit with total of 38 including Mount Everest.
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