Mount Everest

Mount Everest,
part of the Himalaya range in Nepal, is the world’s highest
mountain

at 29,035ft or 8850m. 
Nepal has 10 of the worlds highest 14 peaks.

The Himalaya range formed 60 million years ago when the
Indo-Australian tectonic plate collided with
the Eurasian continent.  As the former was pushed under Eurasia, the Earth’s
crust buckled and folded and the Himalayas were born.

Seeing Mount Everest

As a tourist the best place to see Mount Everest is from
the small town of Nagarkot
, 32km from Kathmandu.  This town has amazing
views of the Himalaya range, but Mount Everest is barely more than a dot on
the Horizon.

To see Mount Everest more closely you need to trek to
Everest Base Camp, but there is no actual view at the base camp, so stopping
before the actual camp is the best view. In fact the Everest Base Camp
Trek is surprisingly light on views as the trek goes across valleys rather than
down them.  The base camp is at 5545m and takes 10 days to reach from
Jiri, or 7 days if you fly to Lukla first.  And of course you
need to walk or fly back again.

Climbing Mount Everest

Climbing Mount Everest has been the draw of many people
over the years.  It is not trekking, it is mountaineering and requires
considerable training.

During the 1920s and 1930s, reaching the top of Mt
Everest came to dominate the Western imagination.  Political constraints
added to the already difficult physical problems of an ascent.
Nepal was total isolated, so attempts had to be made from the
Tibetan side.

British assaults were made during the 1920s, with the
1924 expedition fell just 300m short of the top.  This expedition
used at least 350 porters.  Such levels of support staff continued until
recent years.

In 1999 the body of British climber George Mallory,
frozen near the summit, was a new chapter in one of the enduring mysteries of
mountaineering history.  In 1924, Mallory, and his climbing partner, Andrew Irvine,
disappeared within sight of the top.  No one knows if they reached
the summit.

In 1951 New Zealander Edmund Hillary took part in an
exploratory expedition to Everest.  In 1952 Sherpa climber Norgay Tenzing
reached 7500m.  The conquest of Everest finally took place in 1953 when the British team led by
John Hunt put those two climbers, Tenzing and Hillary, atop the world’s
highest peak.

Mount Everest facts

Informative facts include:

  • The Sanskrit word Himalaya means adobe (alaya) of the
    snows (himal).

  • Mount Everest’s real name is its Tibetan name,
    Chomolangma, which translates as ‘Goddess Mother of the Universe’.  The
    Nepali name is Sagmartha, which is Sanskrit for ‘Brow of the Ocean’.

Impressive facts include:

  • The first ascent without oxygen was in 1978
  • The first summit with an artificial leg was is 1998
  • The first ski descent was in 2000
  • The first blind ascent was in 2001
  • The youngest person to climb Everest was 16
  • The oldest person was 64
  • The fastest ascent took 8 hours
  • Sherpa Babu Chiru spent an amazing 21 hours on the top
    of Everest without oxygen in 1999

Silly facts include:

  • Maurice Wilson planned to crash his Gipsy Moth plane
    halfway up the mountain and then climb to the top, with no experience of
    mountaineering or flying.  He eventually froze to death at Camp III
    dressed in a light sweater.

  • A team of Brits trekked all the way to Everest Base
    Camp to play the “world’s highest game of rugby” at 5140m, which they lost.

  • A pair of Brits carried an ironing board up Everest to
    5440m to do some extreme ironing.

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