How much do you know about Mount Everest? It’s a famous mountain, thousands have climbed it. But Mount Everest has a long history and there’s always something new to learn.
How much do you know about Mount Everest? We start learning about Mount Everest from the moment we can understand speech. Through random sayings, news segments in the background about a disaster… it seems to always come up. But how much do you really know about Mount Everest?
How tall is Mount Everest?
Mount Everest, as we all know, is the tallest mountain on Earth. It measures 29,029 ft. (8,848 m.) The current official height is recognized by China and Nepal. The latter did make an effort to re-measure the mountain in 2019.
Did Mount Everest shrink?
A team of Nepalese scientists was on a mission to re-measure the height of Everest amid fears and concerns the mountain may have shrunk after the 2015 Everest Earthquake.
The same event is thought to be responsible for the loss of the Hillary Step, although, this too has been a debated issue since 2017. Some say the Step is still there, while others, including Kenton Cool, have come forward to say they believe it’s gone or, at least, changed.
Mount Everest’s Many Names
Mount Everest was named after Sir George Everest by Andrew Waugh, the Surveyor General of India in 1865. But before it was known as Mount Everest, it was known to local populations by unique native names. The Nepalese call it Sagarmatha. In Tibet, Mount Everest is known as Chomolungma. The Chinese refer to it as Zhumulangma.
Sir George Everest did object to having the mountain officially named after him. He cited his reasons as being because the natives could not pronounce the name well, and he felt the mountain deserved a proper native name.
Despite this, Mount Everest was chosen as the mountain’s official English name. Similar situations have cursed famous mountains. For example, a long-standing debate over the name of Mount Denali was finally resolved in 2015, when the mountain’s name was officially changed back from Mount McKinley to its native name, Denali.
The First Ascent of Mount Everest by Hillary and Norgay
Sir Edmund Hillary became the first person, alongside Tenzing Norgay Sherpa, to summit Mount Everest on 29 May 1953. Both climbed the mountain via the South Col route; together, they made history as the first successful ascent team of the highest place on Earth.
Their ascent was the result of a failed attempt by other members of their 1953 expedition team two days prior. Their expedition was led by John Hunt, who chose Tom Bourdillon and Charles Evans as the first pair to attempt the ascent that season.
Although they trail-blazed the route and set oxygen caches, they turned back on 26 May 1953 just 330 ft. (100 m) short of the summit. Their efforts paved the way for Hillary and Norgay to succeed on the 29th.
Generally, Mount Everest is climbed during Spring and Winter seasons. Ascent bids are usually may in early May for the Spring season, with very few days of clear weather for an ascent. The spring season often starts in late March, early April and ends at the end of May.
Winter ascents are somewhat intertwined with Autumn, most expeditions range between the months of September, October, November and December. Typically, climbers look for at least a 5-day stretch of clear weather where an ascent can be made, usually in early May. Climbing against the weather can result in dangerous expedition disasters.
Mount Everest Expedition Disasters
Over the years, expeditions have encountered deadly disasters caused by climbing against the weather and a whole host of bad judgment circumstances. One of the most famous events is the 1996 Everest Disaster that saw the deaths of eight very experienced climbers. Climbing past their established turnaround time, miscommunication and a raging storm brewed to bring about the most devastating mountain disaster in history to its date.
In 2015, an earthquake rocked Nepal. As a result, 15 climbers were killed in the Khumbu Icefall. This brought about a Sherpa strike, with Sherpas asking for better survivor benefits for their families and working conditions.
Overcrowding on Mount Everest
Currently, the most dangerous aspect of Mount Everest is not the climb itself, as this mountain is not a very technical climb like K2. It’s the overcrowding experienced on the mount. In 2019, China announced it was slashing permits by 33 percent, limiting permits to just 300. Nepal also considered it. In 2019, Nepal issued 381 climbing permits. That same year, over 890 climbers summited Mount Everest.
Along with the climbers who succeeded at the summit are teams of Sherpa, Base Camp teams and other climbers who did not succeed, bringing the total number of climbers on the mountain at a time to over 1,000. It’s always a disaster waiting to happen, as more feet on the ground means more room for errors.
Hopefully, you’ve learned something new about Mount Everest, but there’s still a lot more to learn and every year a new exciting adventure starts anew.
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1996 Everest Disaster Documentaries on YouTube – Updated
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