Mt. Everest

Mt. Everest is the tallest mountain in the world above sea surface. It is known in various names such as Tibetan: Qomolangma; Nepali: Sagarmāthā; Chinese: Zhumulangma Peak basic Chinese; pinyin: Zhūmùlǎngmǎ Fēng); Limbu Chajamlangma), or Mount Chomolungma.

About Mt. Everest

The elevation of Mount Everest is 8,848 meters or 29,029 ft. The peak is situated in the Himalayas on the border of Nepal and China, which is also known as the Sagarmatha Zone.

In 1856, when India was under the British reign, the Great Trigonometric Survey of British India ascertained the first released elevation of Mount Everest, then named as Peak XV, at 8,840 m or 29,002 feet. The formal English Name “Everest” was conferred by the Royal Geographical Society. Andrew Waugh, the then British Surveyor General of India, made the proposal. The name was given after his forerunner and erstwhile Surveyor General of India, Sir George Everest. The people of Tibet have been referring to Mount Everest as Chomolungma for more than 100 years. However, Waugh could not suggest a recognized regional name since entry to Tibet and Nepal were prohibited for outsiders.

The tallest mountain in the world draws a large number of mountaineering professionals and beginners in the domain who are ready to pay a considerable amount to expert mountaineering guides to accomplish a good ascent. In spite of the fact that Mount Everest does not create any significant problems in mountaineering on the normal route (other peaks such as Nanga Parbat or K2 are quite hard), yet it has a number of underlying risks like climate, storm, and altitude illness.

By the conclusion of the 2008 mountaineering spell, there were 4,102 climbs to the peak by approximately 2,700 people. Mountaineers are a major source of income from tourism in Nepal. The Government of Nepal necessitates all potential mountaineers to get a costly permission, priced up to US $25,000 per individual. By the conclusion of 2009, 216 lives were lost in an effort of climbing the peak. Eight of them died during the 1996 Everest Disaster. Situations are so challenging in the death zone (elevations of more than 8,000 meters or 26,246 ft) that dead bodies have been remaining where they descended. You can see these areas from the normal mountaineering route.

Naming of Mt. Everest

It was the British Surveyor General Andrew Waugh’s decision that Mount Everest was named after the erstwhile Surveyor General of India. He was clearly of the opinion that any local or regional name would create confusion and there would be problems to prefer one particular name over the other names. Hence, he made a decision that Peak XV would be named after Sir George Everest, his forerunner as the British Surveyor General.

Sir George Everest debated the name proposed by Andrew Waugh and informed the Royal Geographical Society in 1857. He opined that the name Everest could not be penned down in Hindi nor articulated by the indigenous people of India. The name triumphed in spite of the protests made by Sir George Everest. The mountain was made known to the world as Mount Everest by the Royal Geographical Society in 1865.

In Tibetan Language, Mount Everest is known as Qomolangma or Chomolungma, which stands for Saint Mother. In Chinese Language, it has been phonetically transcribed as Zhūmùlǎngmǎ Fēng (basic and conventional Chinese) or interpreted as implying as Shèngmǔ Fēng (basic and conventional Chinese), plainly meaning “holy mother”. As mentioned by the chronicles of the mid 19th century, the regional name for Mount Everest was Deogundha (stands for sacred mountain).

In the latter part of 19th century, a number of cartographers from Europe wrongly assumed that an indigenous name for the mountain existed and it was Gaurishankar. This was an outcome of uncertainty of the peak with the original Gauri Shankar, which while seen from Kathmandu, is located almost opposite Mount Everest.

In the former part of 1960s, the Government of Nepal had given the formal name of Sagarmatha to Mount Everest. This name was not utilized previously and the residents recognized the peak as Chomolungma. The mountain became popular in this name in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, and the bordering regions.

Measurement of Mount Everest

Andrew Waugh, the then British Surveyor General, declared Mount Everest (named at that time as Peak XV) as 8,840 m (29,002 ft) tall. This was ascertained after a long period of computation on the basis of examinations performed by the Great Trigonometric Survey.

The elevation of 8,848 m (29,029 ft) is now formally acknowledged by both China and Nepal. This measurement was ascertained by a study performed in India in 1955 and theodolites were utilized in measuring the peak. However, there are debates related to the height of Mount Everest.


Mount Everest has frequently faced competitions from other mountains in the world, which include the following:

  • Mauna Kea in Hawaii (assumed to be higher than Mt. Everest when calculated from its foundation)
  • Mount McKinley in Alaska (assumed to be taller than Mt. Everest when measured from base to peak)

The peak of Chimborazo in Ecuador is 2,168 m (7,113 ft) away from the core of the Earth (6,384.4 km (3,967.1 mi)) as compared to Everest (6,382.3 km (3,965.8 mi)), since the Earth protrudes at the Equator. Nevertheless, Chimborazo reaches an elevation of just 6,267 m (20,561 ft) over sea surface, and by this standard, it is not even the tallest summit of the Andes.

Mountaineering routes of Mt. Everest

The mountaineering routes of Mount Everest can be broadly categorized into the following:

The Southeast Ridge:

The southeast ridge can be accessed from Nepal. The route of the southeast ridge is comparatively simple and is a more regularly used route. In 1953, Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary used this route to conquer Mt. Everest. This route is also the oldest route to be approved out of 15 routes to reach the summit by 1996.

The climb via the southeast ridge starts with a hike to the Base Camp at an elevation of 17,700 feet or 5,380 m on the southern slopes of Everest in Nepal. Mountaineers normally fly from Kathmandu to Lukla (2,860 m) and move across Namche Bazaar. They subsequently trek to the Base Camp, which normally requires 6 to 8 days, taking into consideration appropriate height adaptation for avoiding hypobaropathy (or altitude illness). Mountaineering gears and provisions are transported by human porters, Dzopkyos (yak hybrids), and yaks. They carry them to the Base Camp on the Khumbu Glacier. When Tenzing and Hillary began their journey in 1953, they set off from Kathmandu Basin since there were no routes further east during that period. The Khumbu Icefall is one of the riskiest phases of the route. A number of mountaineers and sherpas have died in this area. Crevices, seracs, and shifting ice slabs make the Khumbu Icefall one of the most perilous segments of the itinerary. The Western Cwm glacial basin is one important glacial basin in this route and it is also known as Valley of Silence. The Yellow Band and the Geneva Spur are two difficult barriers that the mountaineers face in this area. The death zone in Camp IV is the most difficult challenge that you will face.

The Northeast Ridge:

The Northeast Ridge can be accessed from Tibet. The Northeast Ridge itinerary starts from the northern slopes of Everest in the Tibetan Territory. Voyagers hike to the Rongbuk Glacier, establishing the Base Camp in that area at an elevation of 16,990 ft or 5,180 m on a pebbled terrain just beneath the glacier. For attaining Camp II, mountaineers climb the median ground of the east Rongbuk Glacier till the foothills of Changtse at approximately 20,000 feet or 6,100 meters. The Advanced Base Camp (ABC) or Camp III is located beneath the North Col at 6,500 meters or 21,300 feet.

The Three Steps are three important stony steps towards the northeast of Mt. Everest. They are situated at elevations of 8,564 meters, 8,610 meters, and 8,710 meters. Of these steps, the second step is particularly important both in terms of rock climbing and chronology. Any mountaineer who wishes to ascend on the standard route from the north of the peak, has to deal with these three steps.

Flora and Fauna of Mt. Everest

A small black jumping spider, Europhrys omnisuperstes, has been noticed at heights as tall as 6,700 m (22,000 feet), probably making it the utmost non-microscopic lasting inhabitant on earth. The spider hangs around in crevasses and may eat ice-covered bugs that have been carried there by breeze. It is worth mentioning that there is a significant probability of microscopic organism at even upper elevations. Birds like bar-headed Goose are noticed to fly at the higher elevations of the hills. You will also see birds like the Chough at elevations of 7,920 m, feeding on dead bodies remaining as a result of previous mountaineering voyages.

Everest Base Camp

There are two base camps in front of Mt. Everest; one is to the north of Tibet and another is to the south in Nepal. The first one is known as the South Base Camp and the second one is known as North Base Camp.

  • The South Base Camp is situated at an elevation of 5,360 meters (17,590 ft) and the coordinates are 28°0′26″N 86°51′34″E.
  • The North Base Camp is situated at an elevation of 5,545 meters (18,192 ft) and the coordinates are 28°14′28″N 86°51′6″E.

Last Updated on 02 February 2011