Climbing Mount Everest attracts climbers worldwide. The novices are more enthusiastic to experience the thrill of the first climb. The more experienced ones improve their feats. And they help to guide the newcomers. Moreover, a greater number come to climb Mount Everest. As it is far safer to climb as compared to K2 or Nanga Parbat. Still. So, there are risky zones and allied dangers posed by climatic conditions, winds, and altitude sickness above 8000m. Climbing Mount Everest is also listed as a dangerous sport. And the climbing Mount Everest season starts before the monsoons when the wind speeds are less so reduce resultant risks.
Where is Mount Everest Located?
Peak name: Mount Everest, Survey Mark XV, Sagarmatha (Nepali), Chomolungma (Tibetian), Zhumulangma (Chinese)
Height: 8848m (29029 ft.)
Location: On the Nepal and Tibet border in the Himalayan Range, Asia.
How Much Does it Cost to Climb Mount Everest?
Mountaineering on the highest peak is very costly. Therefore, the experienced guides charge heavy fees for a turnaround climbing Mount Everest. The government of Nepal has a fixed permit fee of US$ 25’000 per person. It is a good revenue source.
How many people have Climbed Mount Everest?
Moreover, the Mount Everest has been summited by about 3’000 individuals so far. Although less difficult about 200 persons died, mostly while descending. It is quite interesting to know that while being the highest mountain peak, it has a vast number as compared to the summits and expeditions at K2, the second highest.
Retrieving bodies from the death zone is simply impossible. However, they stay there where they fall and are often visible from climbing Mount Everest routes.
Mount Everest Height by (GTS)
The Great Trigonometric Survey (GTS)
A survey of India was also conducted to establish the highest mountain. They also determined in 1856 the height of Mount Everest was 29’002 ft. (8840m.). Moreover, another accurate survey also fixed the rock top level at 29’017 ft in 2005. The ice and snow topping was 3.5m and the final height totaled 29’029 ft. (8848m). The GTS started in 1808 in Southern India. That team was equipped with 500 kg theodolites, carried by 12 men each. They reached the Himalayas by 1830. Nepal refused entry for political reasons and did not budge.
Moreover, the British resumed survey in 1847 from border locations 240 km away. Till then Mount Kangchenjunga was the highest. The British Surveyor General noted a higher peak 230km away. He marked it peak XV. This finding started a series of detailed observations, months-long calculations, and verifications. In 1852, an Indian mathematician Radhanath Sikdar was the first to declare peak XV highest in the World. After more study, the British also confirmed in 1856 that peak XV was the highest.
For comparative analysis, MOUNT MAUNA KEA in Hawaii and MOUNT McKINLEY in Alaska are taller than Everest when measured from the sea bed. Mount Mauna Kea totals 10200m, but it is only 4205m above sea level.
Naming the Peak XV
The British surveyors became prejudiced too. As they were not allowed to enter Nepal. So they ignored Nepali and Tibetan local names. Although against the rules of GTS. After much debating, it put forward to name the peak XV after Colonel Sir George Everest, like Mount Everest. Besides this, the Royal Geographic Society officially adopted this name in 1865.
Climbing Mount Everest Routes – Mainly Two
• The Southeast Ridge from Nepal, is technically easy and most preferred.
• Northern Ridge from Tibet, China, seldom used.
This route was also discovered by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing in 1953. Moreover, a Base Camp was set up at 5380m (17700 ft) on the south side. Air travelers fly to Lukla (2860m) from Kathmandu and trek to Base Camp in 6 / 8 days. The equipment is also carried by Yaks or porters. The climbers acclimatize for a few days while Sherpas set ropes across dangerous Khumbu Icefalls. Seracs, Crevices, and shifting ice blocks have killed many Sherpas. Climbers move before dawn to reach Lhotse Face Advance Base Camp (ABC) at 6500m. Therefore, they cross near Nuptse Base via the narrow passage or “Nuptse Corner” or “Valley of Silence”. From ABC, fixed ropes are used to reach Camp III (7470m.) A quick trot of 500m to Camp IV, crossing “Geneva Spur” and “Yellow Band”, (inter-layered marble, etc.). On the South Col at 7920m (26000ft.) or “Death Zone”.
Now the climbers have just a few days to attempt a summit bid. As soon the weather is favorable descend to Base Camp. From Camp IV, climbers move at midnight so as to reach the summit by midday. On the way, they pass “Balcony (8400m)” for a brief rest and to see the serene view of peaks and valleys around. Furthermore, they cross rock steps with waist-deep snow and serious avalanche hazards. At 8750m South Summit is indicated by a Dome of Ice. Then “Cornice Traverse” where snow clings between rocks. One wrong step on this dangerous portion, to the right, means a fall of 3000m on Kangshung’s face while one step to the left means 2400m down the Southwest face.
Along with all this technical aspect, climbers must carry the most reliable and heavy protection climbing pants and boots for hiking or skiing in these terrifying conditions. The final obstacle is the 12-meter rock wall or Hillary step at 8760m. Climbers have about half an hour of stay to enjoy success before commencing a tough descent.
The Northeast Ridge route starts in Northside Tibet. Rongbuk Glacier is traversed to reach Base Camp at 5180m. Climbers ascend Glacier up to the base of Changtse for Camp II at 6100m. Camp III (ABC) is at North Col 6500m. Camp IV at 7010m is reached by fixed ropes. Onwards ascends the rocky ridge to Camp V at 7775m. The route crosses the North Face to the base of “Yellow Band” and reaches Camp VI at 8230m (27000 ft.). The next difficult traverses are First Step 27890-28000 ft, Second Step 28140-28300 ft (includes climbing Mount Everest by metal “Chinese Ladder” left in 1975), and Third Step 28510-28870 ft. From here 50-degree snow slope takes you to the final Summit top.
Early Climbing Mount Everest History
- In 1921, George Mallory explored the Everest base and discovered the northern approach making a non-serious attempt to climb up to 7000m.
- George Finch (1922) reached 8320m using bottled oxygen.
- Mallory (1922) and Bruce attempted but failed by the weather.
- In 1924, again Norton and Somervell climbed 8558m in good weather.
- On 8th June 1924, George Mallory and Andrew Irvine went via North Col. – and Never Returned.
- In 1952, a Swiss expedition led by Edouard Wyss–Dunant reached Khumbu Icefall and ascended South Col. To 7986m.
- British Expedition led by John Hunt. Tom Bourbon and Charles Evans were just 100m short of Summit but returned exhausted on 26th May 1953. Two days later Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay (Sherpa) reached Summit at 11:30 am on 29th May 1953. British Queen Elizabeth II immediately made him a Knight in the Order of the British Empire (KBE) and Tenzing was awarded the George Medal by the UK.
First attempt without Oxygen
On 8th May 1978, Reinhold Messner (Italy) and Peter Habeler (Austria) Summited successfully, without oxygen. Messner went solo, without help and oxygen for the first time via the more difficult Northwest route successfully on 20th August 1980.
Climbing Mount Everest without (bottled) oxygen. Sometime between 1 and 2 in the afternoon on May 8, 1978, Messner and Peter Habeler achieved what was believed to be impossible — the first ascent of Mt. Everest
First Winter Ascend
In 1980, the Polish team led by Andrzej Zawada, Leszek Cichy, and Krzysztof Wielicki became the first to reach Summit during the winter season.
In 1996 season 15 climbers died while climbing Mount Everest descending. Eight of them died on 11th May alone and reportedly oxygen level in the air fell suddenly by 14% on that day. Therefore, this disaster has been in worldwide coverage by all media.
In 2006, a climber got stranded 450m below Summit, under an overhung rock. No one attempted his rescue. When descending, people are tiresome, low on oxygen, and lack strength for a pull-up. Any rescue attempting to be physically unfit could end in more deaths. Lincoln Hall (Australian Climber) was rescued by ascending four climbers. But they had to give up their Summit attempt. Therefore, fully equipped Sherpa Rescue teams are essential, for retrieving the injured and disabled.
2008 Summer Olympic Torch Mount Everest Summit
China has recently constructed a 30 km long road from its Tingri County to Base Camp on the Northeast route. And China also routed the 2008 Olympic Torch Relay over Everest, on the way to Beijing.
Mount Everest Death Zone
The term death zone applies to altitudes higher than 8000m (26246 ft) and the potential risks are gets higher. The oxygen level in the air is lessens by 30%. Because storms are stronger exposing climbers to death by slipping and falling. The temperatures can fall suddenly resulting in frostbites. Moreover, the high winds could last days causing survival problems and making retreat difficult. An injured person cannot walk, impossible to be carried by climbers or by helicopter, and left behind 150 dead bodies so far, cannot be retrieved, and can be seen lying frozen below along the climbing Mount Everest routes.
Using Bottled Oxygen
Above 8000m use of Oxygen is considered a standard. Climbers need mental alertness in low-oxygen air, low temperatures, and tough weather. The critics claim that oxygen encourages immature climbers to take chances of risking their own and others’ lives and on the day of the disaster, of 11th May 1996, there were 34 climbers jammed at Hillary Step (8760m) delayed all.
Thefts and Other Crimes
Reports of theft of supplies while climbing Mount Everest are repeating and could be life-threatening. Moreover, Michael Kolas in his book, High Crimes, such as gambling and prostitution by unethical guides and Sherpa is taking place en route to Summit, including frauds in the sale of oxygen bottles.
Records of Successful Ultimate Climbers
- The youngest Summiter-15-year-old Nepali Sherpa girl, Ming Kipa.
- Non-Nepali 17-year-old Malibu resident Johnny Strange (2009, The youngest).
- Apa Sherpa has climbed maximum, 19 times till May 2009
- Climber 76 years old Min Bahadur Sherchan (25th May 2009, The oldest)
- Austrian Christian Stangl, from Camp III to Summit, 10 km distance in 16 hours and 42 minutes (The fastest ascending in 2007).
- The fastest ascend over Southeast Ridge, 17 km by a French Marc Batard in 22 hours and 30 minutes (in 1988).
- Also, the fastest ascend over Southeast Ridge, 17 km by a Nepali Pemba Dorjie Sherpa in 8 hours and 10 minutes, using oxygen (2004).
Animal Life at High Altitude
Moreover, climbers have spotted while climbing Mount Everest a black jumping Spider at about 7000m in Crevices feeding on probably stray insects pushed up by high winds. Birds seen include Chough and Bar-headed, Geese probably living on food and even corpses left behind.