Soaring 29,029 feet (8,848 meters) above the majestic Himalayas, Mount Everest is the highest mountain on earth. Often referred to as the “roof of the world”, Mt Everest’s location straddles the borders of Nepal and China.
Climbing Mount Everest
Being the tallest mountain in the world, Mt. Everest attracts both seasoned and novice climbers.
But making the climb is no easy feat - sudden weather changes, extreme cold and wind, falls, avalanches, and life-threatening altitude sickness all make the climb extremely perilous, despite major advances in climbing technology. Out of the 5,000 people who have climbed Mt. Everest, 219 people have died on their attempt.
Everest was first conquered by New Zealand climber Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay in 1953. There are 2 primary routes that can be taken to the summit - a ridge on the North from Tibet, and the southeast ridge from Nepal, which is an easier climb and the one most frequently used.
These days, the journey to the top of Everest is much easier than when Hillary and Norgay made their historic climb. Adventure trekking companies will take relative novices (under heavy criticism from experienced mountaineers), with prices as low as $36,000 (though prices can easily range to $110,000). These costs include:
- Flight to Nepal
- Personal climbing gear and equipment
- Sherpas, guides, and support staff
- Running basecamp and accommodation
- $10,000 permit fee to the Nepalese government for each expedition
Of course, this doesn’t include the cost of training. Typical preparation for an Everest climb involves years of climbing experience, each expedition bearing its own costs.
The Increasing Commercialization Of Everest
In recent years, many experienced mountaineers have criticized the increasing commercialization of Everest, citing the dangers of the climb for the unwary. Thanks to guides, fixed ropes, and modern climbing gear, many relatively inexperienced climbers are making the climb in order to boast that they’ve stood at the top of the world.
But despite the fact that climbing Everest has never been easier, the potential for sudden deadly weather changes and the challenges of the Everest death zone - where altitude sickness can cause confusion and even death - can create a situation for novices that they simply aren’t experienced enough to deal with. Reducing the number of climbers on Everest would not only protect novices, but it would make the climb safer and more enjoyable for everyone.
Unfortunately, unless the government of Nepal steps in, the overcrowding of Everest will continue.
Facts About Mt Everest
Here are some interesting facts about Mount Everest you may or may not know:
- Mount Everest was formed over 60 million years ago
- In Nepal, the mountain is called Sagarmatha, meaning Goddess of the sky
- In Tibet, the mountain is called Chomolungman, meaning Mother goddess of the universe
- The English name - Everest - was named after Sir George Everest, the British surveyor-general of India in 1865. Before, it was only known as Peak 15.
- Every year, Mt. Everest rises a few millimeters due to natural geological forces
- On the way to the summit, a climber will pass over 200 bodies of previous climbers. Many of these bodies are extremely well preserved due to the extreme cold.
- In 1996, 16 people died during the climbing season, the highest death toll in a single year on Everest.
- The first successful ascent was made by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay
- The first solo ascent was made by Reinhold Messner on August 20, 1980.
- Messner also made the first ever oxygenless ascent on May 8, 1979.
- The youngest person to summit Everest was only 13 years old. This was accomplished by Jordan Romero on May 22, 2010.
- The oldest person to summit Everest was 76 years, 340 days old. This was accomplished by Min Bahadur Sherchan on May 25, 2008.
- The leading cause of death on Everest is avalanches
- The second leading cause of death are falls
- Aba Sherpa has made it to the summit of Everest 21 times.
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