Mount Everest Interesting Facts | Interesting Facts About Mount Everest

Mount Everest Interesting Facts | Interesting Facts About Mount Everest
Mount Everest Interesting Facts | Interesting Facts About Mount Everest

GENERAL FACTS

In this section, some interesting facts about Mount Everest are presented.

  • Mount Everest, is known in Nepali language as Sagarmāthā and in Tibetan language as Chomolungma.
    It is the highest mountain on earth above mean sea level. Its peak is at 8,848 meters (29,029 ft.) above sea level. This height is as per measurement by 1955 Indian survey and was subsequently confirmed by a Chinese survey in 1975. In 2005, China remeasured the height of the mountain and got a result of 8844.43 m. An argument about the height lasted five years from 2005 to 2010 between China and Nepal. China argued it should be measured by its rock height of 8,844 m, but Nepal said it should be measured by its snow height of 8,848 m. In 2010, an agreement was finally reached by both sides that the height of Everest is 8,848 m, and Nepal recognizes China’s claim that the rock height of Everest is 8,844 m.
  • In 1856, the Great Trigonometrical Survey of India established the first published height at 8,840 m (29,002 ft.) and designated it as Peak XV. In 1865, it was renamed as Mount Everest by the Royal Geographical Society, upon a recommendation by Andrew Waugh, the British Surveyor General of India. As the mountain had several different local names, it was thought to be incorrect to favour any particular local name so it was named by Waugh after his predecessor in the post as Surveyor-General of India, Sir George Everest, despite objections from George Everest.
  • Mount Everest is located in the Mahalangur Range of Himalayas. The international border between China (Tibet Autonomous Region) and Nepal runs across Everest’s summit point. Peaks near to Mount Everest includes Lhotse, 8,516 m (27,940 ft.); Nuptse, 7,855 m (25,771 ft.), and Changtse, 7,580 m (24,870 ft.) among others. All these are located in the Great Himalayan region of the Himalayas.

Main Features Of Everest

  • Everest is shaped like a three-sided pyramid. The three generally flat planes constituting the sides are called faces, and the line by which two faces join is known as a ridge.
  • The North Face rises above Tibet and is bounded by the North Ridge (which meets the Northeast Ridge) and the West Ridge; Key features of this side of the mountain include the Great and Hornbein couloirs (steep gullies) and the North Col at the start of the North Ridge.
  • The Southwest Face rises above Nepal and is bounded by the West Ridge and the Southeast Ridge;
  • Notable features on this side include the South Col (at the start of the Southeast Ridge) and the Khumbu Icefall, the latter a jumble of large blocks of ice that has long been a daunting challenge for climbers.
  • The East Face—or Kangshung (Kangxung) Face—also rises above Tibet and is bounded by the
  • Southeast Ridge and the Northeast Ridge. The barren Southeast, Northeast, and West ridges culminate in the Everest summit; a short distance away is the South Summit, a minor bump on the Southeast Ridge with an elevation of 28,700 feet (8,748 meters).

Glaciers On The Everest

Glacial action has been the primary force behind the heavy and continuous erosion of Everest and the other high Himalayan peaks. Glaciers cover the slopes of Everest to its base. Some of the main glaciers and rivers originating from them are

  1. Kangshung Glacier to the east;
  2. East, Central, and West Rongbuk (Rongpu) glaciers to the north and northwest;
  3. Pumori Glacier to the northwest; and
  4. Khumbu Glacier to the west and south, which is fed by the glacier bed of the Western Cwm, an enclosed valley of ice between Everest and the Lhotse-Nuptse Ridge to the south. Khumbu Glacier melts into the
  5. Lobujya (Lobuche) River of Nepal.
  6. The Rong River originates from the Pumori and Rongbuk glaciers in Tibet
  7. The Kama River originates from the Kangshung Glacier:
  8. Both Rong river and Kama river flows into the Arun River, which cuts through the Himalayas into Nepal.

Climate Of Everest:

The climate of Everest is always hostile to living things. The warmest average daytime temperature (in July) is only about −2 °F (−19 °C) on the summit; in January, the coldest month, summit temperatures average −33 °F (−36 °C) and can drop as low as −76 °F (−60 °C).

There are only two brief time periods when the weather on Everest is the most hospitable for an ascent. The best one is in April and May, right before the monsoon. Once the monsoon comes, the snow is too soft and the likelihood of avalanche too great. For a few weeks in September, after the monsoon, weather conditions may also permit an attempt; by October, however, the winter storms begin and persist until March, making climbing then nearly impossible.

Everest is so high the jet stream can hit it. Climbers can be faced with winds beyond 320 km/h (200 mph) when the weather shifts. At certain times of the year the jet stream shifts north, providing periods of relative calm at the mountain. Other dangers include blizzards and avalanches.

Climbing Mount Everest

EARLY CLIMBING EFFORTS

  • The first recorded efforts to reach Everest’s summit were made by British mountaineers. As Nepal did not allow foreigners into the country at the time, the attempts were from the north ridge route from the Tibetan side.
  • The first reconnaissance expedition by the British in 1921 reached 7,000 m (22,970ft.) on the North Col.
  • The 1922 expedition pushed up the north ridge route to 8,320 m (27,300 ft.), marking the first time a human had climbed above 8,000 m (26,247 ft.). Seven porters were killed in an avalanche on the descent from the North Col.
  • The 1924 expedition resulted in one of the greatest mysteries on Everest to this day: George Mallory and Andrew Irvine made a final summit attempt on 8 June but never returned, sparking debate as to whether or not they were the first to reach the top. They had been spotted high on the mountain that day but disappeared in the clouds, never to be seen again, until Mallory’s body was found in 1999 at 8,155 m (26,755 ft.) on the north face.
  • Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary made the first official ascent of Everest in 1953, using the southeast ridge route. Tenzing had reached 8,595 m (28,199 ft.) the previous year as a member of the 1952 Swiss expedition.
  • The Chinese mountaineering team of Wang Fuzhou, Gonpo, and Qu Yinhua made the first reported ascent of the peak from the north ridge on 25 May 1960.
  • The East Face, Everest’s biggest, is rarely climbed. An American team made the first ascent of it in 1983, and Carlos Buhler, Kim Momb, and Lou Reichardt reached the summit.

ROUTES OF CLIMBING

There are sixteen routes to climb Everest but out of these there are two main climbing routes, one approaching the summit from the southeast in Nepal (known as the “standard route”) and the other from the north in Tibet, China. Most attempts are made during May, before the summer monsoon season. As the monsoon season approaches, the jet stream shifts northward, thereby reducing the average wind speeds high on the mountain. While attempts are sometimes made in September and October, after the monsoons, when the jet stream is again temporarily pushed northward, the additional snow deposited by the monsoons and the less stable weather patterns at the moons’ tail end make climbing extremely difficult.

Camps are established along the route about every 1,500 feet (450 metres) of vertical elevation and are given designations of Camp I, Camp II, and so on. Finally, a last camp is set up close enough to the summit (usually about 3,000 feet [900 metres] below) to allow a small group (called the “assault” team) to reach the peak.

While not posing substantial technical climbing challenges on the standard route, Everest presents dangers such as altitude sickness, weather, and wind, as well as significant hazards from avalanches and the Khumbu Ice fall. As of 2016 there are well over 200 corpses on the mountain, some of which serve as landmarks.

HAZARDS IN CLIMBING AND DEATH ZONE

At the higher regions of Mount Everest, climbers seeking the summit typically spend substantial time within the death zone (altitudes higher than 8,000 meters (26,000 ft.)), and face significant challenges to survival. Temperatures can dip to very low levels, resulting in frostbite of any body part exposed to the air. Since temperatures are so low, snow is well-frozen in certain areas and death or injury by slipping and falling can occur. High winds at these altitudes on Everest are also a potential threat to climbers.

Another significant threat to climbers is low atmospheric pressure. The atmospheric pressure at the top of Everest is about a third of sea level pressure or 0.333 standard atmospheres (337 mbar), resulting in the availability of only about a third as much oxygen to breathe

Debilitating effects of the death zone are so great that it takes most climbers up to 12 hours to walk the distance of 1.72 kilometers (1.07 mi) from South Col to the summit. Achieving even this level of performance requires prolonged altitude acclimatization, which takes 40–60 days for a typical expedition. A sea-level dweller exposed to the atmospheric conditions at the altitude above 8,500 m (27,900 ft.) without acclimatization would likely lose consciousness within 2 to 3 minutes.

In May 2007, the Caudwell Xtreme Everest undertook a medical study of oxygen levels in human blood at extreme altitude. Over 200 volunteers climbed to Everest Base Camp where various medical tests were performed to examine blood oxygen levels. A small team also performed tests on the way to the summit. Even at base camp, the low partial pressure of oxygen had direct effect on blood oxygen saturation levels. At sea level, blood oxygen saturation is generally 98–99%. At base camp, blood saturation fell to between 85 and 87%. Blood samples taken at the summit indicated very low oxygen levels in the blood. A side effect of low blood oxygen is a greatly increased breathing rate, often 80–90 breaths per minute as opposed to a more typical 20–30. Exhaustion can occur merely attempting to breathe.

Lack of oxygen, exhaustion, extreme cold, and climbing hazards all contribute to the death toll. An injured person who cannot walk is in serious trouble, since rescue by helicopter is generally impractical and carrying the person off the mountain is very risky. People who die during the climb are typically left behind. As of 2006, about 150 bodies had never been recovered. It is not uncommon to find corpses near the standard climbing routes.

Debilitating symptoms consistent with high altitude cerebral oedema commonly present during descent from the summit of Mount Everest. Profound fatigue and late times in reaching the summit are early features associated with subsequent death.

MORTALITY ON MOUNT EVEREST, 1921–2006: DESCRIPTIVE STUDY

A 2008 study noted that the “death zone” is indeed where most Everest deaths occur, but also noted that most deaths occur during descent from the summit. A 2014 article in the magazine, The Atlantic, about deaths on Everest noted that while falling is one of the greatest dangers the DZ presents for all 8000ers, avalanches are a more common cause of death at lower altitudes. However, Everest climbing is more deadly than BASE jumping, although some have combined extreme sports and Everest including a beverage company that had someone base-jumping off Everest in a wingsuit (they did survive, though).

Despite this, Everest is safer for climbers than a number of peaks by some measurements, but it depends on the period. Some examples are Kangchenjunga, K2, Annapurna, Nanga Parbat, and the Eiger (especially the nordwand). Mont Blanc has more deaths each year than Everest, with over one hundred dying in a typical year and over eight thousand killed since records were kept. Some factors that affect total mountain lethality include the level of popularity of the mountain, the skill of those climbing, and of course the difficulty of the climb.

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