Mount Everest – more than 2,500 people have reached the summit since Edmund Hillary in 1953.The people who set out to climb Everest spend months dreaming about reaching the summit. They pay $65,000 (£41,000) in fees to the Nepali government; they train, trek for days, endure extreme discomfort, even danger. So it should be a simple thing to get them to pick up after themselves.
Apparently not. Nearly 60 years after Edmund Hillary conquered Everest, and 30 years after climbing turned commercial, the region is still struggling to deal with mass tourism.
By the standards of the 70s, when the main climbing routes were littered with discarded tents and food packets, Everest is a lot cleaner, with just a smattering of plastic bottles and sweet wrappers on the rocky plateau that is base camp. But a Nepali environmental coalition is pressing the government in Kathmandu to adopt a new management plan to safeguard the Himalayas in the age of mass tourism – and to make amends for the environmental sins of the past.
“Everybody talks about waste in the mountains but nobody talks about proper solutions,” says Phinjo Sherpa, director of Eco Himal. “Cleaning up Everest every once in a while does not help. The main thing is management, waste management.” The group has lodged a plan with the government that calls for tougher penalties against litterbugs at Everest and the surrounding areas. They are also pushing for the installation of portable toilets at base camp and investment in waste treatment facilities – which currently do not exist in the region – with proposals for five incinerators and sewage treatment plants.
It’s difficult to tread lightly in the high-altitude environment, especially in areas this remote. The first expeditions to Everest were monumental in scale. The 1953 attempt, which brought success to Hillary, set off from Kathmandu with 1,200 porters for their equipment, according to Kancha Sherpa, the last surviving member of the team that made it to base camp.
The 1953 expedition required 25 wooden crates just to carry the coins they would spend along the way. A single oxygen bottle weighed 15kg. As for dealing with the detritus of such a huge human endeavour, Kancha looks blank. “You have to remember that was a long time ago. Things were very different then,” he says. Even Hillary admitted to leaving equipment behind, and more than 2,500 people have made it to the summit since his day. The heavy traffic left its mark. “People were careless. They would take a rubbish bag but they would still leave stuff behind,” said Tshering Tenzing Sherpa, an official of the Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee, the NGO charged with overseeing the Everest cleanup.
Modern expeditions are much more conscious of their footprint. Groups must pay a $4,000 (£2,500) deposit on their equipment – in the hope that they will carry down everything they brought. Repeat visitors to Everest see a difference. “It’s visibly and spectacularly better,” says Jan Morava, an electrical engineer from the Toronto area who was attempting the summit with his brother and a climber from the UAE. “There were piles of rubbish in base camp before.”
But conservation groups say the deposit is small compared with the other expenses associated with an ascent on Everest. They also argue the Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee lacks the resources to keep up with all the groups climbing Everest and to make sure that do indeed carry all their equipment back down to Kathmandu.
The committee says it brought back 25 tonnes of rubbish from Everest last spring – including 12,000kg of paper and plastic and 11,250kg of human waste. But conservationists argue that waste disposal is haphazard. There are rubbish dumps with heaps of tuna cans and plastic bottles only a few minutes’ walk away from villages on the trekking trail.
On a trek near the village of Lobuche last May, Alton Byers of the Mountain Institute came across a 10 sq metre open pit of human waste, hauled down from Everest, close to a seasonal stream. The pit had been covered over by the time of a subsequent visit in May.
And, says Tshering, there is plenty more detritus of the past still out there – rubbish discarded by climbers years and even decades ago, preserved in ice and snow. “Just above the ice falls at crampon point you can see cans from 10, 20, 30 years ago or even older,” Tshering says. “There’s a lot of old rubbish out there.”
Other high peaks less famous than Everest are even dirtier, notes Tshering. And with climate change, snow and ice on mountaintops is melting, exposing even more rubbish. “We are in a garbage race,” he says.
Highest Webcam: Mount Everest webcam sets world record (Video) MOUNT EVEREST, Nepal — MOBOTIX high definition webcams have been installed to monitor Mount Everest as par of the Everest SHARE 2011 research project – setting the world record for the Highest webcam, according to World Records Academy (www.worldrecordsacademy.org).
Photo: The World’s Highest Webcam streams live video of Mount Everest’s peak from an altitude of 5675m. Live Screen capture: WRA/Mobotix
The Guinness world record for the most live streams for a single event was set by The YouTube broadcast of Prince William’s marriage to Catherine Middleton (both UK) in London, UK, which achieved a record 72 million live views.
Guinness World Records also recognized the world record for the Most conquests of Mt Everest: Apa Sherpa (Nepal) reached the summit of Mt Everest for the 21st time on 11 May 2010, the most times anyone has ever successfully climbed the world’s highest mountain.
SHARE stands for “Stations at High Altitude for Research on the Environment”, and a MOBOTIX camera will be used to document the weather conditions.
The public can watch real-time video through the MOBOTIX webcam monitoring the top of Mount Everest using any browser.
The type-M12 camera installation sets a new world record — the operation of the highest webcam in the world at temperatures reaching minus 30 degrees Celsius.
Powered by a solar panel, the MOBOTIX camera delivers high-quality images in spite of the icy temperatures, which can reach minus 30 degrees Celsius.
The Ev-K2-CNR scientific committee from Bergamo, Italy, installed a type-M12 MOBOTIX camera on nearby Kala Patthar (5,675 meters tall). This camera is currently recording images of the 8,848-meter tall Mount Everest.
The installation was carried out by Italian engineers together with the Nepalese Ev-K2-CNR team and was coordinated by Giampietro Kohl, leader of the Ev-K2-CNR technical committee.
Kohl says, “We spent months developing the perfect setup for the installation and invested a lot of time testing and verifying the system. And it inspired us on to set a record: operating the highest webcam in the world.”
The video shows Mount Everest as well as the South Col Plateau on the right side of the image.
The image is updated every five minutes to track the movement of the clouds around the mountain’s summit. The webcam is only active during daylight hours (6:00am to 6:00pm Nepalese time).
Photo: A crew installs the Mobotix Webcam at high altitude. Credit: Mobotix
Researchers selected Kala Patthar as the camera location because it offers an excellent view of the western side of Mount Everest, including the north and southwest faces of the mountain and the West Ridge.
The World’s Highest Webcam uses a wireless connection to transmit images to the Ev-K2-CNR Pyramid Laboratory/Observatory located at an altitude of 5,050 meters. Here, the video is analysed and then sent to Italy for further evaluation.
Researchers hope to learn more about climate change and global warming using this video.
Contrary to popular belief, no one has installed a chairlift to the top of Mt. Everest (elev. 29,035 ft.) in recent years. No matter how accessible people believe this mountain to be, Mount Everest still remains the highest mountain in the world and attempting to climb it is still one of the most dangerous of human pursuits. Since 1922, when a disastrous attempt was made by a British expedition, more than 11,000 people have challenged the mountain. As of June 2007 (the end of the climbing season), a grand total of 3,304 climbers had stood on the summit and lived to tell the tale. Sadly, 209 Mount Everest climbers have lost their lives. That means one death for every 15 successful ascents.
But as author and mountaineer, Jon Krakauer, said in his book, Into Thin Air, “attempting to climb Everest is an intrinsically irrational act—a triumph of desire over sensibility.”
Passports and Visas: $75+
A current passport is required, along with a tourist visa from the Embassy of Nepal in Washington, DC. There is a $45 TDS service fee and a $30 Consular fee.
Travelers to Nepal should be up to date on all their routine immunizations. Visit your doctor 4 to 6 weeks prior to departure, ask about antimalarial medications, and discuss other recommended precautions. Insect borne diseases (mosquitoes, sand flies) are a concern in some areas of Nepal.
$2,580 to $8,000 – Round trip : New York City (LGA) to Kathmandu
$1,700 to $5,200 – Round trip : Los Angeles (LAX) to Kathmandu
These ticket prices apply to the Mount Everest season, early April to end of May. If you’re planning to climb the mountain as an independent climber, you’ll be taking a tremendous amount of gear, so be prepared to pay extra for that.
The Mount Everest Expedition
Surprisingly, 2 out of 3 climbers on Mount Everest are not part of a commercially-guided trip. Many privately-funded trips have government sponsors, or are funded by scientific organizations. Some trips have been formed with the express purpose of making a movie. But a lot of private trips are planned in the living rooms of seasoned high-altitude climbers with their eyes on the prize. For those hearty individuals, costs vary wildly, and sometimes with disastrous results.
You can approach Mount Everest from the southern, Nepalese side, or from the northern, Tibetan (Chinese) side. Climbing permits issued in China cost around $4,000 and include many support services to Advanced Base Camp. Permits issued in Nepal cost $10,000 and don’t include services at all. However, the northern routes are longer, more dangerous, and much more technical than the southern routes. Your likelihood of summiting from the north is lower and your likelihood of dying on a northern route is higher.
Going It Alone
In 2006, a British climber paid a budget, Kathmandu-based trekking company $7,490 to arrange for a climbing permit, food, and minimal services to Base Camp on the north, Tibetan side of the mountain. He climbed alone, without the aid of a Sherpa or guide, and bought only two bottles of oxygen rather than the usual five. He also chose not to rent an emergency radio. No one knows exactly what happened during his climb, but his almost lifeless body was found by a succession of descending climbers, who tried but were unable to revive or rescue him. Tragically, his death on the Northeast Ridge was only one of eleven deaths on Mount Everest in 2006, making it the second most deadly spring season on record.
Hiring A Guide Service
$59,000 to $77,000 (Per person for top US-guide service on South Col Route)
$40,000 (Per person for guided trip up North Ridge Route)
If you choose to go with a commercial guide service, here are just a few of the expenses the companies assume in order to guide their paying customers up the popular South Col route:
Climbing permits and fees – prorated per person, $25,000 for 1 person;$56,000 for 4 people; $70,000 for 7 people, etc.
Climbing permits and fees – prorated per person, $25,000 for 1 person;$56,000 for 4 people; $70,000 for 7 people, etc.
Sagarmatha National Park Entrance Fee – $100 per team
Khumbu Icefall Fee (paid to Sagarmatha Park for route maintenance) – $2,375 per team
Satellite Phone permit (paid to Nepalese Ministry of Communications) – $2,300 per phone
Garbage and Human Waste Disposal (A comprehensive clean-up and recycling effort is underway on Mount Everest, to counteract decades of environmental abuse. This fee is paid to Sagarmatha Park officials.) – $4,000
Oxygen (High quality oxygen and oxygen canisters are essential to the success and safety of climbers.) – $30,000
Lead guide – $25,000 Note: The more famous your guide, the more he or she will cost you. For instance, for $125,000, you may be able to hire Ed Viesturs, the first American to summit all fourteen 8,000 meter peaks without the use of supplemental oxygen.
2 Assistant guides – $10,000 to $15,000 each
Liaison Officer (ensures that your expedition meets all local regulation requirements) – $3,000
Doctor (Some doctors will volunteer their services in exchange for a Himalayan experience.) – $4,000
7 Climbing Sherpas – $5,000 each
3 – 4 Cooks – $3,500 each
3 Helicopter charters from Kathmandu to Lukla – $16,500
150 Yaks (transport 120 lbs. of gear each, from Lukla to Basecamp) –$7,500
Ritual expenses. (Sherpas perform many rituals along the way, to honor and appease the mountain, which they call Sagarmatha – goddess of the sky. Donations are made to the local monastery; there are daily rituals performed; prayer flags are flown at Base Camp; and finally, a Lama leads a day-long ceremony to mark the beginning of the ascent.) – $300
Helicopter evacuation from Base Camp (in case of emergencies) – $5,000
Equipment and Clothing: $8,000 to $15,000.
You can’t just run up the mountain in your cross-trainers and heaviest sweatshirt; you need specialized, high altitude mountaineering gear. These items will include essentials such as:
Plastic double boots (or specialized single boot systems) made specifically for high altitude climbing
700-fill down parka
Glacier glasses with side covers (If you wear prescription glasses, you’ll need to special order these.)
Sleeping bag – expedition weight, rated to at least -40°F
There’s lots more gear to buy, but you get the idea. Most likely, however, you’ll already own most of this gear because there’s no way you can even think about climbing Mount Everest if you’re not already a seasoned high altitude climber. Many commercial guide companies actually require that you either take their specialized high altitude, pre-Everest training course, or sign on for another of their 8,000-meter guided climbs.
$8,000 (approx.) – Cost for multi-day, pre-Everest training course
If you feel that you’re already competent, be prepared to produce a verifiable resume of your own successful high altitude climbs.
Some people have said that climbing Mount Everest is more of a lifestyle than a goal. The best way to physically prepare for Mount Everest is to live, climb, and train at altitude. You may consider moving to the Rockies or the Sierras a few months prior to your climb. Definitely take time off to do training climbs. Aconcagua in Argentina, or Denali in Alaska are two good choices. Even better are Cho Oyu in Nepal or Shishapangma in Tibet – two of the easier 8000 meter peaks that would help you condition your body to the demands that Mount Everest will exact.
Finally, you have to prepare yourself mentally for the challenge. From beginning to end, your Mount Everest adventure will probably run about 68 days. Seven weeks of that (approximately) will be spent on the mountain itself, but only 21 days or so will be spent actively climbing. The rest will be days spent acclimatizing, resting, waiting out bad weather, building up your energy, and resting some more. You’ll need patience, a constantly positive attitude, and the ability to be the epitome of a team player. With luck, your conditioning, skill, and good judgment under stressful conditions will result in a positive expedition experience and a safe return home.
How tall is Mt. Everest?
The official altitude of the world’s highest peak is 29,029 feet (8,848m). However, the National Geographic Society has determined the height to be 6 feet taller, 29,035 feet, but the Nepali government has not yet been made this new altitude official.
Shifting tectonic plates continue to push Everest upward, along with the whole Himalaya mountain range, at 1.6 to 3.9 inches (4 to 10 centimeters) per year.
Where is Mt. Everest?
Everest is part of the Himalaya mountain range along the border of Nepal and Tibet. It is located 27° 59′ North latitude, 86° 55′ East longitude.
Why is it called Everest?
In 1841, Sir George Everest, Surveyor General of India from 1830 to 1843, first recorded the location of Everest. It was subsequently named “Peak XV”. In 1865, it was renamed Mt. Everest to honor Sir George.
Everest is also called Chomolungma in Tibet and Sagarmatha in Nepal.
Is it windy at the top of Everest?
Yes. Blowing with the strength of a hurricane at 118+ miles/hour, the Jet Stream blasts the rocky, icy summit of Everest nearly all year long. The Jet Stream is a constant wind force at 4 – 6 miles above the earth. Observers can tell when the Jet Stream is blowing on the summit of Everest from the long while stream of ice crystals extending out from the tip of the mountain. Those wishing to actually stand on the summit have to choose their moment carefully: the mountain is most inviting in early May, when the Jet Stream is pushed northward over Tibet by the arrival of the monsoon. There is also a window of opportunity in the Fall when the Jet Stream is again pushed northward.
Is the air very thin on Everest?
As the altitude increases, the oxygen content of the air decreases dramatically. At 9,800 feet, for example, there’s about 2/3 of the oxygen in the air than at sea level. At 20,000 ft, there is roughly half the oxygen content in the air. At 29,035ft, the summit of Everest, there is only a third of the oxygen in the air.
How does your body get used to the altitude?
Mountaineers climbing Everest establish a camp at the base of the mountain, and four higher camps before reaching the summit. For the next 30 days or so, they will move up, then down again, allowing their bodies to get used to the reduced oxygen content of the air. This process is called acclimatization.
Acclimatizing properly is essential to safely ascend to high altitudes. Climbers acclimatize by ascending slowly, resting one day for every 1,000 feet they climb in one day. They drink plenty of liquids and eat healthy food. They also practice a rule of thumb: climb high, sleep low. Climbing high, then descending to lower altitudes allows the body to build up and gain strength with fresh oxygen, digest food better, get sounder sleep and any wounds can heal and they’ll feel much stronger by descending. It was also allow them to build up their bodies, worn from the low O2 content, with fresh oxygen.
Some climbers don’t like to go down, but the significant benefits on the body from staying at lower altitudes make it worth it. It’s important that the climbers don’t stay down too long because it’s possible to lose some acclimatization in the process.
How high are the camps?
The approximate elevations of each of the camps are:
Camp One at 21,000ft
Base Camp – 17,500ft (5,400m)
Camp 1 – 20,000ft (6,100m)
Camp 2 – 21,300ft (6,500m)
Camp 3 – 24,000ft (7,400m)
Camp 4 – 26,000ft (8,000m)
Summit – 29,035ft (8,850)
What is the temperature high on Everest?
At the summit, the temperature can be 100°F below zero. But on a good summit day, a climber can expect around -15°F
What is the hardest part about climbing Everest?
Tunc Findic crossing Khumbu IcefallEach climber has a different opinion about what is the most difficult part of climbing Everest. Most would agree, though, that the altitude is tough to deal with. And most will also have stories about crossing the infamous Khumbu Icefall going from Base Camp to Camp One. Mountaineers climb through this moving sea of ice using ordinary aluminum garden ladders.
When was Everest first climbed?
On May 29, 1953, Tenzing Norgay Sherpa of Nepal & Edmund Percival Hillary of New Zealand climbed to the summit of Everest via the Southeast Ridge Route
How may people climbed the mount everest ?
I am doing an investigation still and I havent found the right number of people, if anyone has found, please e-mail me here email@example.com
Mount Everest (Tibetan: ཇོ་མོ་གླང་མ, Jomolungma, “Holy Mother”; Chinese: 珠穆朗玛峰, Mandarin: Zhūmùlǎngmǎ Fēng, “Jomolungma Peak”; Nepali: सगरमाथा, Sagarmāthā) is the world’s highest mountain at 8,848 metres (29,029 ft) above sea level. Mount Everest is located in Nepal at the Mahalangur section of the Himalaya on the Nepal-China (Tibet) border. Its massif includes neighboring peaks Lhotse (8516m), Nuptse (7855m), and Changtse (7580m).
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.
The highest mountain in the world attracts many well-experienced mountaineers as well as novice climbers who are willing to pay substantial sums to professional mountain guides to complete a successful climb. The mountain, while not posing substantial technical climbing difficulty on the standard route (other eight-thousanders such as K2 or Nanga Parbat are much more difficult), still has many inherent dangers such as altitude sickness, weather, and wind.
By the end of the 2008 climbing season, there had been 4,102 ascents to the summit by about 2,700 individuals.Climbers are a significant source of tourist revenue for Nepal, whose government also requires all prospective climbers to obtain an expensive permit, costing up to US$25,000 per person. By the end of 2009 Everest had claimed 216 lives, including eight who perished during a 1996 storm high on the mountain. Conditions are so difficult in the death zone—altitudes higher than 8,000 metres (26,000 ft)—that most corpses have been left where they fell. Some of them are visible from standard climbing routes.
Identifying the highest mountain
Mount Everest relief map
In 1808, the British began the Great Trigonometric Survey of India to determine the location and names of the world’s highest mountains. Starting in southern India, the survey teams moved northward using giant 500 kg (1,100 lb) theodolites (each requiring 12 men to carry) to measure heights as accurately as possible. They reached the Himalayan foothills by the 1830s, but Nepal was unwilling to allow the British to enter the country because of suspicions of political aggression and possible annexation. Several requests by the surveyors to enter Nepal were turned down.”
The British were forced to continue their observations from Terai, a region south of Nepal which is parallel to the Himalayas. Conditions in Terai were difficult owing to torrential rains and malaria—three survey officers died from malaria while two others had to retire owing to failing health.
Nonetheless, in 1847, the British pressed on and began detailed observations of the Himalayan peaks from observation stations up to 240 km (150 mi) away. Weather restricted work to the last three months of the year. In November 1847, Andrew Waugh, the British Surveyor General of India made several observations from Sawajpore station located in the eastern end of the Himalayas. Kangchenjunga was then considered the highest peak in the world, and with interest he noted a peak beyond it, some 230 km (140 mi) away. John Armstrong, one of Waugh’s officials, also saw the peak from a location farther west and called it peak ‘b’. Waugh would later write that the observations indicated that peak ‘b’ was higher than Kangchenjunga, but given the great distance of the observations, closer observations were required for verification. The following year, Waugh sent a survey official back to Terai to make closer observations of peak ‘b’, but clouds thwarted all attempts.
In 1849, Waugh dispatched James Nicolson to the area. Nicolson made two observations from Jirol, 190 km (120 mi) away. Nicolson then took the largest theodolite and headed east, obtaining over 30 observations from five different locations, with the closest being 174 km (108 mi) away from the peak.
Nicolson retreated to Patna on the Ganges to perform the necessary calculations based on his observations. His raw data gave an average height of 9,200 m (30,200 ft) for peak ‘b’, but this did not consider light refraction, which distorts heights. The number clearly indicated, however, that peak ‘b’ was higher than Kangchenjunga. However, Nicolson came down with malaria and was forced to return home, calculations unfinished. Michael Hennessy, one of Waugh’s assistants, had begun designating peaks based on roman numerals, with Kangchenjunga named Peak IX, while peak ‘b’ now became known as Peak XV.
In 1852, stationed at the survey’s headquarters in Dehradun, Radhanath Sikdar, an Indian mathematician and surveyor from Bengal, was the first to identify Everest as the world’s highest peak, using trigonometric calculations based on Nicolson’s measurements. An official announcement that Peak XV was the highest was delayed for several years as the calculations were repeatedly verified. Waugh began work on Nicolson’s data in 1854, and along with his staff spent almost two years working on the calculations, having to deal with the problems of light refraction, barometric pressure, and temperature over the vast distances of the observations. Finally, in March 1856 he announced his findings in a letter to his deputy in Kolkata. Kangchenjunga was declared to be 28,156 ft (8,582 m), while Peak XV was given the height of 29,002 ft (8,840 m). Waugh concluded that Peak XV was “most probably the highest in the world”. Peak XV (measured in feet) was calculated to be exactly 29,000 ft (8,839.2 m) high, but was publicly declared to be 29,002 ft (8,839.8 m). The arbitrary addition of 2 ft (61 cm) was to avoid the impression that an exact height of 29,000 feet (8,839.2 m) was nothing more than a rounded estimate.
With the height now established, what to name the peak was clearly the next challenge. While the survey was anxious to preserve local names if possible (e.g. Kangchenjunga and Dhaulagiri), Waugh argued that he could not find any commonly used local name. Waugh’s search for a local name was hampered by Nepal and Tibet’s exclusion of foreigners. Many local names existed, including “Deodungha” (“Holy Mountain”) in Darjeeling and the Tibetan “Jomolungma” (ཇོ་མོ་གླིང་མ), which appeared as “Chomolungma” on a 1733 map published in Paris by the French geographer D’Anville. In the late 19th century, many European cartographers further believed (incorrectly) that a native name for the mountain was “Gaurisankar”, although this was a result of confusion of Mount Everest with Gauri Sankar, which, when viewed from Kathmandu, stands almost directly in front of Everest.
Waugh argued that with the plethora of local names, it would be difficult to favour one name over all others. So, he decided that Peak XV should be named after George Everest, his predecessor as Surveyor General of India.He wrote:
I was taught by my respected chief and predecessor, Colonel Sir George Everest to assign to every geographical object its true local or native appellation. But here is a mountain, most probably the highest in the world, without any local name that we can discover, whose native appellation, if it has any, will not very likely be ascertained before we are allowed to penetrate into Nepal. In the meantime the privilege as well as the duty devolves on me to assign…a name whereby it may be known among citizens and geographers and become a household word among civilized nations.
George Everest opposed the name suggested by Waugh and told the Royal Geographical Society in 1857 that Everest could not be written in Hindi nor pronounced by “the native of India”. Waugh’s proposed name prevailed despite the objections, and in 1865, the Royal Geographical Society officially adopted Mount Everest as the name for the highest mountain in the world.Interestingly, the modern pronunciation of Everest ˈɛvərɨst, ˈɛvrɨst is in fact different from Sir George’s pronunciation of his surname, which was
Aerial view of Mount Everest from the south
The modern Tibetan name for Mount Everest is ཇོ་མོ་གླིང་མ (Wylie: Jomolungma; also transliterated Chomolungma in the West and Qomolangma in China), meaning “Holy Mother”. The official Chinese name is Zhūmùlǎngmǎ Fēng (simplified Chinese: 珠穆朗玛峰; traditional Chinese: 珠穆朗瑪峰), “Jomolungma Peak,” although it is sometimes known as Shèngmǔ Fēng (simplified Chinese: 圣母峰; traditional Chinese: 聖母峰), the Chinese for “Holy Mother”.
In the early 1960s, the Nepalese government gave Mount Everest the official name Sagarmāthā (सगरमाथा), although this name had not previously been used. The local inhabitants knew the mountain as Jomolungma. The mountain was not previously named in Nepali. The government set out to find a Nepalese name for the mountain because the government felt the Tibetan name Jomolungma was not acceptable.
In 2002, the Chinese People’s Daily newspaper published an article making a case against the continued use of the English name for the mountain in the Western world, insisting that it should be referred to by its Tibetan name. The newspaper argued that the Chinese use of the Tibetan name preceded the English one, as “Mount Qomolangma” was marked on a Chinese map more than 280 years ago.
Another aerial view of Mount Everest from the south, with Lhotse in front and Nuptse on the left
In 1856, Andrew Waugh announced Everest (then known as Peak XV) as 29,002 ft (8,840 m) high, after several years of calculations based on observations made by the Great Trigonometric Survey.
The 8,848 m (29,029 ft) height given in this article is officially recognised by Nepal and China. On 9 October 2005, after several months of measurement and calculation, the Chinese Academy of Sciences and State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping officially announced the height of Everest as 8,844.43 m (29,017.16 ft) with accuracy of ±0.21 m (0.69 ft). They claimed it was the most accurate and precise measurement to date.This height is based on the actual highest point of rock and not on the snow and ice covering it. The Chinese team also measured a snow/ice depth of 3.5 m (11 ft), which is in agreement with a net elevation of 8,848 m (29,029 ft). The snow and ice thickness varies over time, making a definitive height of the snow cap impossible to determine.
Camps visible on northeast ridge as seen from north base camp area, Tibet on May 20, 2011
The elevation of 8,848 m (29,029 ft) was first determined by an Indian survey in 1955, made closer to the mountain, also using theodolites. It was subsequently reaffirmed by a 1975 Chinese measurement 8,848.13 m (29,029.30 ft). In both cases the snow cap, not the rock head, was measured. In May 1999 an American Everest Expedition, directed by Bradford Washburn, anchored a GPS unit into the highest bedrock. A rock head elevation of 8,850 m (29,035 ft), and a snow/ice elevation 1 m (3 ft) higher, were obtained via this device. Although it has not been officially recognized by Nepal,this figure is widely quoted. Geoid uncertainty casts doubt upon the accuracy claimed by both the 1999 and 2005 surveys.
A detailed photogrammetric map (at a scale of 1:50,000) of the Khumbu region, including the south side of Mount Everest, was made by Erwin Schneider as part of the 1955 International Himalayan Expedition, which also attempted Lhotse. An even more detailed topographic map of the Everest area was made in the late 1980s under the direction of Bradford Washburn, using extensive aerial photography.
It is thought that the plate tectonics of the area are adding to the height and moving the summit northeastwards. Two accounts suggest the rates of change are 4 mm (0.16 in) per year (upwards) and 3 to 6 mm (0.12 to 0.24 in) per year (northeastwards),but another account mentions more lateral movement (27 mm/1.1 in),and even shrinkage has been suggested.
The summit of Everest is the point at which the Earth’s surface reaches the greatest distance above sea level. Several other mountains are sometimes claimed as alternative “tallest mountains on Earth”. Mauna Kea in Hawaii is tallest when measured from its base it rises over 10,200 m (6.3 mi) when measured from its base on the mid-ocean floor, but only attains 4,205 m (13,796 ft) above sea level.
By the same measure of baseto summit, Mount McKinley, in Alaska, is also taller than Everest. Despite its height above sea level of only 6,193.6 m (20,320 ft), Mount McKinley sits atop a sloping plain with elevations from 300 m (980 ft) to 900 m (3,000 ft), yielding a height above base in the range of 5,300 to 5,900 m (17,400 to 19,400 ft); a commonly quoted figure is 5,600 m (18,400 ft). By comparison, reasonable base elevations for Everest range from 4,200 m (13,800 ft) on the south side to 5,200 m (17,100 ft) on the Tibetan Plateau, yielding a height above base in the range of 3,650 to 4,650 m (11,980 to 15,260 ft).
The summit of Chimborazo in Ecuador is 2,168 m (7,113 ft) farther from the Earth’s centre (6,384.4 km (3,967.1 mi)) than that of Everest (6,382.3 km (3,965.8 mi)), because the Earth bulges at the Equator. However, Chimborazo attains a height of only 6,267 m (20,561 ft) above sea level, and by this criterion it is not even the highest peak of the Andes.
Southern and northern climbing routes as seen from the International Space Station.
Mt. Everest has two main climbing routes, the southeast ridge from Nepal and the northeast ridge from Tibet, as well as many other less frequently climbed routes. Of the two main routes, the southeast ridge is technically easier and is the more frequently used route. It was the route used by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay in 1953 and the first recognized of fifteen routes to the top by 1996.This was, however, a route decision dictated more by politics than by design as the Chinese border was closed to the western world in the 1950s after the People’s Republic of China invaded Tibet.
View from space showing South Col route and North Col/Ridge route
Most attempts are made during May before the summer monsoon season. As the monsoon season approaches, a change in the jet stream at this time pushes it northward, thereby reducing the average wind speeds high on the mountain. While attempts are sometimes made after the monsoons in September and October, when the jet stream is again temporarily pushed northward, the additional snow deposited by the monsoons and the less stable weather patterns (tail end of the monsoon) makes climbing extremely difficult.
The ascent via the southeast ridge begins with a trek to Base Camp at 5,380 m (17,700 ft) on the south side of Everest in Nepal. Expeditions usually fly into Lukla (2,860 m) from Kathmandu and pass through Namche Bazaar. Climbers then hike to Base Camp, which usually takes six to eight days, allowing for proper altitude acclimatization in order to prevent altitude sickness. Climbing equipment and supplies are carried by yaks, dzopkyos (yak-cow hybrids) and human porters to Base Camp on the Khumbu Glacier. When Hillary and Tenzing climbed Everest in 1953, they started from Kathmandu Valley, as there were no roads further east at that time.
Climbers will spend a couple of weeks in Base Camp, acclimatizing to the altitude. During that time, Sherpas and some expedition climbers will set up ropes and ladders in the treacherous Khumbu Icefall. Seracs, crevasses and shifting blocks of ice make the icefall one of the most dangerous sections of the route. Many climbers and Sherpas have been killed in this section. To reduce the hazard, climbers will usually begin their ascent well before dawn, when the freezing temperatures glue ice blocks in place. Above the icefall is Camp I at 6,065 metres (19,900 ft).
From Camp I, climbers make their way up the Western Cwm to the base of the Lhotse face, where Camp II or Advanced Base Camp (ABC) is established at 6,500 m (21,300 ft). The Western Cwm is a flat, gently rising glacial valley, marked by huge lateral crevasses in the centre, which prevent direct access to the upper reaches of the Cwm. Climbers are forced to cross on the far right near the base of Nuptse to a small passageway known as the “Nuptse corner”. The Western Cwm is also called the “Valley of Silence” as the topography of the area generally cuts off wind from the climbing route. The high altitude and a clear, windless day can make the Western Cwm unbearably hot for climbers.
From ABC, climbers ascend the Lhotse face on fixed ropes up to Camp III, located on a small ledge at 7,470 m (24,500 ft). From there, it is another 500 metres to Camp IV on the South Col at 7,920 m (26,000 ft). From Camp III to Camp IV, climbers are faced with two additional challenges: The Geneva Spur and The Yellow Band. The Geneva Spur is an anvil shaped rib of black rock named by the 1952 Swiss expedition. Fixed ropes assist climbers in scrambling over this snow covered rock band. The Yellow Band is a section of interlayered marble, phyllite, and semischist, which also requires about 100 metres of rope for traversing it.
On the South Col, climbers enter the death zone. Climbers typically only have a maximum of two or three days they can endure at this altitude for making summit bids. Clear weather and low winds are critical factors in deciding whether to make a summit attempt. If weather does not cooperate within these short few days, climbers are forced to descend, many all the way back down to Base Camp.
A view of Everest southeast ridge base camp. The Khumbu Icefall can be seen in the left. In the center are the remnants of a helicopter that crashed in 2003.
From Camp IV, climbers will begin their summit push around midnight with hopes of reaching the summit (still another 1,000 metres above) within 10 to 12 hours. Climbers will first reach “The Balcony” at 8,400 m (27,600 ft), a small platform where they can rest and gaze at peaks to the south and east in the early light of dawn. Continuing up the ridge, climbers are then faced with a series of imposing rock steps which usually forces them to the east into waist-deep snow, a serious avalanche hazard. At 8,750 m (28,700 ft), a small table-sized dome of ice and snow marks the South Summit.
From the South Summit, climbers follow the knife-edge southeast ridge along what is known as the “Cornice traverse”, where snow clings to intermittent rock. This is the most exposed section of the climb as a misstep to the left would send one 2,400 m (8,000 ft) down the southwest face, while to the immediate right is the 3,050 m (10,000 ft) Kangshung face. At the end of this traverse is an imposing 12 m (40 ft) rock wall called the “Hillary Step” at 8,760 m (28,740 ft).
Hillary and Tenzing were the first climbers to ascend this step and they did it with primitive ice climbing equipment and ropes. Nowadays, climbers will ascend this step using fixed ropes previously set up by Sherpas. Once above the step, it is a comparatively easy climb to the top on moderately angled snow slopes–though the exposure on the ridge is extreme, especially while traversing large cornices of snow. With increasing numbers of people climbing the mountain in recent years, the Step has frequently become a bottleneck, with climbers forced to wait significant amounts of time for their turn on the ropes, leading to problems in getting climbers efficiently up and down the mountain. After the Hillary Step, climbers also must traverse a loose and rocky section that has a large entanglement of fixed ropes that can be troublesome in bad weather. Climbers will typically spend less than a half-hour at the summit, to allow time to descend to Camp IV before darkness sets in, afternoon weather becomes a serious problem, or supplemental oxygen tanks run out.
Mount Everest north face from Rongbuk in Tibet
The northeast ridge route begins from the north side of Everest in Tibet. Expeditions trek to the Rongbuk Glacier, setting up Base Camp at 5,180 m (16,990 ft) on a gravel plain just below the glacier. To reach Camp II, climbers ascend the medial moraine of the east Rongbuk Glacier up to the base of Changtse at around 6,100 m (20,000 ft). Camp III (ABC – Advanced Base Camp) is situated below the North Col at 6,500 m (21,300 ft). To reach Camp IV on the north col, climbers ascend the glacier to the foot of the col where fixed ropes are used to reach the North Col at 7,010 m (23,000 ft). From the North Col, climbers ascend the rocky north ridge to set up Camp V at around 7,775 m (25,500 ft). The route crosses the North Face in a diagonal climb to the base of the Yellow Band reaching the site of Camp VI at 8,230 m (27,000 ft). From Camp VI, climbers will make their final summit push. Climbers face a treacherous traverse from the base of the First Step: 27,890 feet (8,500 m) – 28,000 feet (8,500 m), to the crux of the climb, the Second Step: 28,140 feet (8,580 m) – 28,300 feet. (The Second Step includes a climbing aid called the “Chinese ladder”, a metal ladder placed semi-permanently in 1975 by a party of Chinese climbers. It has been almost continuously in place since, and ladders have been used by virtually all climbers on the route.) Once above the Second Step the inconsequential Third Step is clambered over: 28,510 feet (8,690 m) – 28,870 feet (8,800 m). Once above these steps, the summit pyramid is climbed by a snow slope of 50 degrees, to the final summit ridge along which the top is reached.
In spring 2009, four of the most accomplished climbers in the world had just one thing on their minds: conquering Mount Everest—again.
The team, sponsored by Eddie Bauer’s First Ascent Clothing and Gear Line, began its ascent on March 30. Over the next two months, the climbers made their way up the world’s tallest mountain in dangerous conditions, fighting hypothermia, altitude sickness, and sheer physical exhaustion to achieve something few can boast.
Mountaineer Peter Whittaker gathered the group as part of a quest to continue his family legacy; he is the nephew of legendary explorer Jim Whittaker, the first American to summit Mount Everest in 1963. Joining Whittaker was Ed Viesturs, a veteran mountaineer who has summitted all 14 of the world’s highest peaks without the aid of bottled oxygen; Dave Hahn, who was going for a record 11th Everest ascent; and Melissa Arnot, who was attempting to become the first female American to summit Everest without supplemental oxygen.
Follow the team’s progress up the mountain through dispatches, photos, and videos—direct from Everest.
More Information click here :-http://adventure.nationalgeographic.com/everest.html
Summit route as seen from camp 4, the South Col. The true summit is not visible from this angle. It was still 6 hours to the summit from where I turned around. It is about 1.07 miles from the south col to the summit and usually takes about 12 hours or more.
The summit bid starts before midnight with a steep climb up the South side of Everest. Reaching the Balcony at 27,500 feet, you turn West up the ridge to the South Summit, over the Hillary Step onto the Summit Ridge and then … the summit. I don’t know what this is like since I turned around just below the Balcony.
In 2002, we were fortunate that there was no wind – no wind, incredible! And the temps were around zero. It was very comfortable in our down suits. We arrived in C4 between noon and two and rested, drank and ate until 9:00.
We were woken up by the Sherpas who then took full control. This was where they shined in interacting with us. While they had been working hard for the past five weeks, we saw them occasionally at BC or other camps and spoke with them rarely. However at C4, they knew each of us and called us by name – as we did them. They checked our crampons for tightness, that our harnesses were doubled-backed and that our Oxygen was set properly with the regulators. They helped us on with packs and then lead the climb to the summit.
It was obviously dark at 10:30PM when we set out. Headlamps lighting up the way, the departure from C4 was like boarding an airplane. Everyone milling around for position and then when one group started, every group started for fear of getting stuck in long lines up the mountain.
The frenzy and disorganization was real and alarming considering we had taken six weeks to get to this point! Our team left in small groups, not all together. At this point it felt like ‘every person for themselves’, except for the Sherpas. Each climber had been assigned to a Sherpa. There was Ang Dorge in the lead, Sherpas assigned to the middle and one bringing up the rear. So actually, each climber had several eyes upon them the entire time. Also each Sherpa and Guide had a radio.
We started up the Triangular Face towards the Balcony. The activity was fast paced. Climbers passing climbers. People stopping to adjust Oxygen or gear. The lines took over two hours to spread out. At some points you simply stood in place waiting for the person ahead of you to move, not wanting -or able -to pass them.
It was about two hours in that I started to feel worse. Extreme coughing episodes ending with vomiting or gagging. I continued like this over another hour when I concluded that I would never make the summit and going higher would put me, my Sherpas and the team at risk.
I made the decision to turn around at that point. It ended up that I had contracted a lung infection a few days earlier and it was preventing my lungs from working properly thus causing fatigue and dehydration. Upon my return to BC, three days later, the expedition Doctor heard ‘crackling’ sounds in my lungs and put me on antibiotics immediately. She also gave me two liters of fluids via IV to get me re hydrated. I was in bad shape as it turned out.
In 2008, I reached the Balcony proper so to add to this narrative, the climb from the South Col is some of the steepest, sustained climbing on a South Col route climb. In low snow years, the crampon on rock movement creates slips that robs energy. On good snow years, there is usually a well-worn path developed on the route. The fixed line becomes a bit cumbersome and requires careful manipulation of your carabineer and jumar in heavy gloves at each anchor. This also slows climbers.
But most summit attempts are on low wind days with clear skies and is awesome. The views of the surrounding mountains are simply amazing.