Mount Everest

Mount Everest

Overview
Mount Everest is the world's highest mountain, with a peak at 8848 metres (29,029 ft) above sea level
Sea level
Mean sea level is a measure of the average height of the ocean's surface ; used as a standard in reckoning land elevation...

. It is located in the Mahalangur
Mahalangur Himal
Mahālangūr Himāl is a section of the Himalaya in northeast Nepal and south-central Tibet extending from the pass Nangpa La between Rolwaling Himal and Cho Oyu east to the Arun River. It includes Mount Everest, Lhotse, Makalu, and Cho Oyu) -- four of Earth's six highest peaks...

 section of the Himalayas
Himalayas
The Himalaya Range or Himalaya Mountains Sanskrit: Devanagari: हिमालय, literally "abode of snow"), usually called the Himalayas or Himalaya for short, is a mountain range in Asia, separating the Indian subcontinent from the Tibetan Plateau...

. The international boundary runs across the precise summit point. Its massif
Massif
In geology, a massif is a section of a planet's crust that is demarcated by faults or flexures. In the movement of the crust, a massif tends to retain its internal structure while being displaced as a whole...

 includes neighboring peaks Lhotse
Lhotse
Lhotse is the fourth highest mountain on Earth and is connected to Everest via the South Col. In addition to the main summit at 8,516 metres above sea level, Lhotse Middle is and Lhotse Shar is...

 (8516 m), Nuptse
Nuptse
Nuptse is a mountain in the Khumbu region of the Mahalangur Himal, in the Nepalese Himalayas. It lies two kilometres WSW of Mount Everest. Nuptse is Tibetan for "west peak", as it is the western segment of the Lhotse-Nuptse massif....

 (7855 m) and Changtse
Changtse
Changtse is a mountain situated between the Main Rongbuk and East Rongbuk Glaciers in Tibet immediately north of Mount Everest. It is connected to Mount Everest via the North Col....

 (7580 m).

In 1856, the Great Trigonometric Survey
Great Trigonometric Survey
The Great Trigonometric Survey was a project of the Survey of India throughout most of the 19th century. It was piloted in its initial stages by William Lambton, and later by George Everest. Among the many accomplishments of the Survey were the demarcation of the British territories in India and...

 of British India established the first published height of Everest, then known as Peak XV, at 29002 ft (8,840 m).
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Encyclopedia
Mount Everest is the world's highest mountain, with a peak at 8848 metres (29,029 ft) above sea level
Sea level
Mean sea level is a measure of the average height of the ocean's surface ; used as a standard in reckoning land elevation...

. It is located in the Mahalangur
Mahalangur Himal
Mahālangūr Himāl is a section of the Himalaya in northeast Nepal and south-central Tibet extending from the pass Nangpa La between Rolwaling Himal and Cho Oyu east to the Arun River. It includes Mount Everest, Lhotse, Makalu, and Cho Oyu) -- four of Earth's six highest peaks...

 section of the Himalayas
Himalayas
The Himalaya Range or Himalaya Mountains Sanskrit: Devanagari: हिमालय, literally "abode of snow"), usually called the Himalayas or Himalaya for short, is a mountain range in Asia, separating the Indian subcontinent from the Tibetan Plateau...

. The international boundary runs across the precise summit point. Its massif
Massif
In geology, a massif is a section of a planet's crust that is demarcated by faults or flexures. In the movement of the crust, a massif tends to retain its internal structure while being displaced as a whole...

 includes neighboring peaks Lhotse
Lhotse
Lhotse is the fourth highest mountain on Earth and is connected to Everest via the South Col. In addition to the main summit at 8,516 metres above sea level, Lhotse Middle is and Lhotse Shar is...

 (8516 m), Nuptse
Nuptse
Nuptse is a mountain in the Khumbu region of the Mahalangur Himal, in the Nepalese Himalayas. It lies two kilometres WSW of Mount Everest. Nuptse is Tibetan for "west peak", as it is the western segment of the Lhotse-Nuptse massif....

 (7855 m) and Changtse
Changtse
Changtse is a mountain situated between the Main Rongbuk and East Rongbuk Glaciers in Tibet immediately north of Mount Everest. It is connected to Mount Everest via the North Col....

 (7580 m).

In 1856, the Great Trigonometric Survey
Great Trigonometric Survey
The Great Trigonometric Survey was a project of the Survey of India throughout most of the 19th century. It was piloted in its initial stages by William Lambton, and later by George Everest. Among the many accomplishments of the Survey were the demarcation of the British territories in India and...

 of British India established the first published height of Everest, then known as Peak XV, at 29002 ft (8,840 m). In 1865, Everest was given its official English name by the Royal Geographical Society
Royal Geographical Society
The Royal Geographical Society is a British learned society founded in 1830 for the advancement of geographical sciences...

 upon a recommendation by Andrew Waugh
Andrew Scott Waugh
Major General Sir Andrew Scott Waugh was a British army officer and surveyor now remembered as the man who named the highest mountain in the world after Sir George Everest, his predecessor in the post of Surveyor-General of India.-Career:Waugh began work on the Great Trigonometric Survey of India...

, the British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 Surveyor General of India. Waugh named the mountain after his predecessor in the post, Sir George Everest. Although Tibetans had called Everest "Chomolungma" for centuries, Waugh was unaware of this because Nepal
Nepal
Nepal , officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a landlocked sovereign state located in South Asia. It is located in the Himalayas and bordered to the north by the People's Republic of China, and to the south, east, and west by the Republic of India...

 and Tibet
Tibet
Tibet is a plateau region in Asia, north-east of the Himalayas. It is the traditional homeland of the Tibetan people as well as some other ethnic groups such as Monpas, Qiang, and Lhobas, and is now also inhabited by considerable numbers of Han and Hui people...

 were closed to foreigners.

The highest mountain in the world attracts many well-experienced mountaineers as well as novice climbers willing to hire professional guides. While not posing substantial technical climbing challenges on the standard route, Everest presents dangers such as altitude sickness
Altitude sickness
Altitude sickness—also known as acute mountain sickness , altitude illness, hypobaropathy, or soroche—is a pathological effect of high altitude on humans, caused by acute exposure to low partial pressure of oxygen at high altitude...

, weather and wind.

By the end of the 2010 climbing season, there had been 5,104 ascents to the summit by about 3,142 individuals. Climbers are a significant source of tourist revenue for Nepal, whose government also requires all prospective climbers to obtain an expensive permit, costing up to US$
United States dollar
The United States dollar , also referred to as the American dollar, is the official currency of the United States of America. It is divided into 100 smaller units called cents or pennies....

25,000 per person. By the end of 2010 Everest had claimed 219 lives, including eight who perished during a 1996 storm high on the mountain
1996 Everest Disaster
The 1996 Mount Everest disaster refers to the events of 10-11 May 1996, when eight people died on Mount Everest during summit attempts. In the entire season, fifteen people died trying to reach the summit, making it the deadliest single year in Mount Everest's history...

. Conditions are so difficult in the death zone
Effects of high altitude on humans
The effects of high altitude on humans are considerable. The percentage saturation of hemoglobin with oxygen determines the content of oxygen in our blood. After the human body reaches around 2,100 m above sea level, the saturation of oxyhemoglobin begins to plummet...

—altitudes higher than 8000 metres (26,246.7 ft)—that most corpses have been left where they fell. Some of them are visible from standard climbing routes.

Identifying the highest mountain



In 1808, the British began the Great Trigonometric Survey
Great Trigonometric Survey
The Great Trigonometric Survey was a project of the Survey of India throughout most of the 19th century. It was piloted in its initial stages by William Lambton, and later by George Everest. Among the many accomplishments of the Survey were the demarcation of the British territories in India and...

 of India to determine the location and names of the world's highest mountains. Starting in southern India, the survey teams moved northward using giant 500 kg (1,102.3 lb) theodolite
Theodolite
A theodolite is a precision instrument for measuring angles in the horizontal and vertical planes. Theodolites are mainly used for surveying applications, and have been adapted for specialized purposes in fields like metrology and rocket launch technology...

s (each requiring 12 men to carry) to measure heights as accurately as possible. They reached the Himalayan foothills by the 1830s, but Nepal was unwilling to allow the British to enter the country because of suspicions of political aggression and possible annexation. Several requests by the surveyors to enter Nepal were turned down.

The British were forced to continue their observations from Terai
Terai
The Terai is a belt of marshy grasslands, savannas, and forests located south of the outer foothills of the Himalaya, the Siwalik Hills, and north of the Indo-Gangetic Plain of the Ganges, Brahmaputra and their tributaries. The Terai belongs to the Terai-Duar savanna and grasslands ecoregion...

, a region south of Nepal which is parallel to the Himalayas. Conditions in Terai were difficult owing to torrential rains and malaria
Malaria
Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease of humans and other animals caused by eukaryotic protists of the genus Plasmodium. The disease results from the multiplication of Plasmodium parasites within red blood cells, causing symptoms that typically include fever and headache, in severe cases...

—three survey officers died from malaria while two others had to retire owing to failing health.

Nonetheless, in 1847, the British pressed on and began detailed observations of the Himalayan peaks from observation stations up to 240 km (149.1 mi) away. Weather restricted work to the last three months of the year. In November 1847, Andrew Waugh
Andrew Scott Waugh
Major General Sir Andrew Scott Waugh was a British army officer and surveyor now remembered as the man who named the highest mountain in the world after Sir George Everest, his predecessor in the post of Surveyor-General of India.-Career:Waugh began work on the Great Trigonometric Survey of India...

, the British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 Surveyor General of India made several observations from Sawajpore station located in the eastern end of the Himalayas. Kangchenjunga
Kangchenjunga
Kangchenjunga is the third highest mountain of the world with an elevation of and located along the India-Nepal border in the Himalayas.Kangchenjunga is also the name of the section of the Himalayas and means "The Five Treasures of Snows", as it contains five peaks, four of them over...

 was then considered the highest peak in the world, and with interest he noted a peak beyond it, some 230 km (142.9 mi) away. John Armstrong, one of Waugh's officials, also saw the peak from a location farther west and called it peak 'b'. Waugh would later write that the observations indicated that peak 'b' was higher than Kangchenjunga, but given the great distance of the observations, closer observations were required for verification. The following year, Waugh sent a survey official back to Terai to make closer observations of peak 'b', but clouds thwarted all attempts.

In 1849, Waugh dispatched James Nicolson to the area. Nicolson made two observations from Jirol, 190 km (118.1 mi) away. Nicolson then took the largest theodolite
Theodolite
A theodolite is a precision instrument for measuring angles in the horizontal and vertical planes. Theodolites are mainly used for surveying applications, and have been adapted for specialized purposes in fields like metrology and rocket launch technology...

 and headed east, obtaining over 30 observations from five different locations, with the closest being 174 km (108.1 mi) away from the peak.

Nicolson retreated to Patna
Patna
Paṭnā , is the capital of the Indian state of Bihar and the second largest city in Eastern India . Patna is one of the oldest continuously inhabited places in the world...

 on the Ganges to perform the necessary calculations based on his observations. His raw data gave an average height of 9200 m (30,183.7 ft) for peak 'b', but this did not consider light refraction, which distorts heights. The number clearly indicated, however, that peak 'b' was higher than Kangchenjunga. However, Nicolson came down with malaria and was forced to return home, calculations unfinished. Michael Hennessy, one of Waugh's assistants, had begun designating peaks based on roman numerals
Roman numerals
The numeral system of ancient Rome, or Roman numerals, uses combinations of letters from the Latin alphabet to signify values. The numbers 1 to 10 can be expressed in Roman numerals as:...

, with Kangchenjunga named Peak IX, while peak 'b' now became known as Peak XV.

In 1852, stationed at the survey's headquarters in Dehradun
Dehradun
- Geography :The Dehradun district has various types of physical geography from Himalayan mountains to Plains. Raiwala is the lowest point at 315 meters above sea level, and the highest points are within the Tiuni hills, rising to 3700 m above sea level...

, Radhanath Sikdar
Radhanath Sikdar
Radhanath Sikdar was an Indian mathematician who, among many other things, calculated the height of Peak XV in the Himalaya and showed it to be the tallest mountain above sea level. Peak XV was later named Mount Everest.-Early life:Radhanath was born as youngest child of Tituram, a resident of...

, an Indian mathematician and surveyor from Bengal
Bengal
Bengal is a historical and geographical region in the northeast region of the Indian Subcontinent at the apex of the Bay of Bengal. Today, it is mainly divided between the sovereign land of People's Republic of Bangladesh and the Indian state of West Bengal, although some regions of the previous...

, was the first to identify Everest as the world's highest peak, using trigonometric
Trigonometry
Trigonometry is a branch of mathematics that studies triangles and the relationships between their sides and the angles between these sides. Trigonometry defines the trigonometric functions, which describe those relationships and have applicability to cyclical phenomena, such as waves...

 calculations based on Nicolson's measurements. An official announcement that Peak XV was the highest was delayed for several years as the calculations were repeatedly verified. Waugh began work on Nicolson's data in 1854, and along with his staff spent almost two years working on the calculations, having to deal with the problems of light refraction, barometric pressure, and temperature over the vast distances of the observations. Finally, in March 1856 he announced his findings in a letter to his deputy in Calcutta
Kolkata
Kolkata , formerly known as Calcutta, is the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal. Located on the east bank of the Hooghly River, it was the commercial capital of East India...

. Kangchenjunga was declared to be 28156 ft (8,581.9 m), while Peak XV was given the height of 29002 ft (8,839.8 m). Waugh concluded that Peak XV was "most probably the highest in the world". Peak XV (measured in feet) was calculated to be exactly 29000 ft (8,839.2 m) high, but was publicly declared to be 29002 ft (8,839.8 m). The arbitrary addition of 2 ft (61 cm) was to avoid the impression that an exact height of 29000 feet (8,839.2 m) was nothing more than a rounded estimate.

Naming


With the height now established, what to name the peak was clearly the next challenge. While the survey was anxious to preserve local names if possible (e.g. Kangchenjunga
Kangchenjunga
Kangchenjunga is the third highest mountain of the world with an elevation of and located along the India-Nepal border in the Himalayas.Kangchenjunga is also the name of the section of the Himalayas and means "The Five Treasures of Snows", as it contains five peaks, four of them over...

 and Dhaulagiri
Dhaulagiri
Dhaulagiri is Earth's seventh highest mountain at ; one of fourteen over eight thousand metres. Dhaulagiri was first climbed May 13, 1960 by a Swiss/Austrian expedition....

), Waugh argued that he could not find any commonly used local name. Waugh's search for a local name was hampered by Nepal and Tibet's exclusion of foreigners. Many local names existed, including "Deodungha" ("Holy Mountain") in Darjeeling and the Tibetan "Chomolungma", which appeared on a 1733 map published in Paris by the French geographer D'Anville
Jean Baptiste Bourguignon d'Anville
Jean Baptiste Bourguignon d'Anville , was both a geographer and cartographer who greatly improved the standards of map-making. His maps of ancient geography, characterized by careful, accurate work and based largely on original research, are especially valuable...

. In the late 19th century, many European cartographers
Cartography
Cartography is the study and practice of making maps. Combining science, aesthetics, and technique, cartography builds on the premise that reality can be modeled in ways that communicate spatial information effectively.The fundamental problems of traditional cartography are to:*Set the map's...

 further believed (incorrectly) that a native name for the mountain was "Gaurisankar", although this was a result of confusion of Mount Everest with Gauri Sankar
Gauri Sankar
Gauri Sankar is a mountain in the Himalayas, the second highest peak of the Rolwaling Himal, behind Melungtse...

, which, when viewed from Kathmandu, stands almost directly in front of Everest.

Waugh argued that with the plethora of local names, it would be difficult to favour one name over all others. So, he decided that Peak XV should be named after George Everest
George Everest
Colonel Sir George Everest was a Welsh surveyor, geographer and Surveyor-General of India from 1830 to 1843.Sir George was largely responsible for completing the section of the Great Trigonometric Survey of India along the meridian arc from the south of India extending north to Nepal, a distance...

, his predecessor as Surveyor General of India. He wrote:
I was taught by my respected chief and predecessor, Colonel Sir George Everest to assign to every geographical object its true local or native appellation. But here is a mountain, most probably the highest in the world, without any local name that we can discover, whose native appellation, if it has any, will not very likely be ascertained before we are allowed to penetrate into Nepal. In the meantime the privilege as well as the duty devolves on me to assign...a name whereby it may be known among citizens and geographers and become a household word among civilized nations.


George Everest opposed the name suggested by Waugh and told the Royal Geographical Society
Royal Geographical Society
The Royal Geographical Society is a British learned society founded in 1830 for the advancement of geographical sciences...

 in 1857 that Everest could not be written in Hindi
Hindi
Standard Hindi, or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi, also known as Manak Hindi , High Hindi, Nagari Hindi, and Literary Hindi, is a standardized and sanskritized register of the Hindustani language derived from the Khariboli dialect of Delhi...

 nor pronounced by "the native of India". Waugh's proposed name prevailed despite the objections, and in 1865, the Royal Geographical Society officially adopted Mount Everest as the name for the highest mountain in the world. Interestingly, the modern pronunciation of Everest ˈɛvərɨst, ˈɛvrɨst is in fact different from Sir George's pronunciation of his surname, which was /ˈiːvrɨst/.
The official Tibetan
Tibetan language
The Tibetan languages are a cluster of mutually-unintelligible Tibeto-Burman languages spoken primarily by Tibetan peoples who live across a wide area of eastern Central Asia bordering the Indian subcontinent, including the Tibetan Plateau and the northern Indian subcontinent in Baltistan, Ladakh,...

 name for Mount Everest is Qomolangma . The official Chinese
Chinese language
The Chinese language is a language or language family consisting of varieties which are mutually intelligible to varying degrees. Originally the indigenous languages spoken by the Han Chinese in China, it forms one of the branches of Sino-Tibetan family of languages...

 name is Zhumulangma although it is sometimes known as Shengmu Feng . In the early 1960s, the Nepalese government
Nepal
Nepal , officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a landlocked sovereign state located in South Asia. It is located in the Himalayas and bordered to the north by the People's Republic of China, and to the south, east, and west by the Republic of India...

 coined a Nepali name for Mount Everest, Sagarmāthā (सगरमाथा), allegedly to supplant the Tibetan name among the locals, which the Nepali government felt was "not acceptable".

In 2002, the Chinese People's Daily
People's Daily
The People's Daily is a daily newspaper in the People's Republic of China. The paper is an organ of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China , published worldwide with a circulation of 3 to 4 million. In addition to its main Chinese-language edition, it has editions in English,...

newspaper published an article making a case against the use of "Mount Everest" for the mountain in English, insisting that it should be referred to as "Mount Qomolangma", based on the local Tibetan name. The article argued that British colonialists did not "first discover" the mountain, as it had been known to the Tibetans and mapped by the Chinese as "Qomolangma" since at least 1719.

Measurement


The 8848 m (29,029 ft) height given in this article is officially recognised by Nepal and China, although Nepal is planning a new survey.

On 9 October 2005, after several months of measurement and calculation, the Chinese Academy of Sciences
Chinese Academy of Sciences
The Chinese Academy of Sciences , formerly known as Academia Sinica, is the national academy for the natural sciences of the People's Republic of China. It is an institution of the State Council of China. It is headquartered in Beijing, with institutes all over the People's Republic of China...

 and State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping officially announced the height of Everest as 8844.43 m (29,017.16 ft) with accuracy of ±0.21 m (0.688976377952756 ft). They claimed it was the most accurate and precise measurement to date. This height is based on the actual highest point of rock and not on the snow and ice covering it. The Chinese team also measured a snow/ice depth of 3.5 m (11 ft), which is in agreement with a net elevation of 8848 m (29,029 ft). The snow and ice thickness varies over time, making a definitive height of the snow cap impossible to determine.

History


In 1856, Andrew Waugh announced Everest (then known as Peak XV) as 29002 ft (8,839.8 m) high, after several years of calculations based on observations made by the Great Trigonometric Survey
Great Trigonometric Survey
The Great Trigonometric Survey was a project of the Survey of India throughout most of the 19th century. It was piloted in its initial stages by William Lambton, and later by George Everest. Among the many accomplishments of the Survey were the demarcation of the British territories in India and...

.

The elevation of 8848 m (29,029 ft) was first determined by an Indian survey in 1955, made closer to the mountain, also using theodolite
Theodolite
A theodolite is a precision instrument for measuring angles in the horizontal and vertical planes. Theodolites are mainly used for surveying applications, and have been adapted for specialized purposes in fields like metrology and rocket launch technology...

s. It was subsequently reaffirmed by a 1975 Chinese measurement 8848.13 m (29,029.3 ft). In both cases the snow cap, not the rock head, was measured. In May 1999 an American Everest Expedition, directed by Bradford Washburn
Bradford Washburn
Henry Bradford Washburn, Jr. was an American explorer, mountaineer, photographer, and cartographer. He established the Boston Museum of Science, served as its director from 1939–1980, and from 1985 until his death served as its Honorary Director .Washburn is especially noted for exploits in four...

, anchored a GPS
Global Positioning System
The Global Positioning System is a space-based global navigation satellite system that provides location and time information in all weather, anywhere on or near the Earth, where there is an unobstructed line of sight to four or more GPS satellites...

 unit into the highest bedrock. A rock head elevation of 8850 m (29,035 ft), and a snow/ice elevation 1 m (3 ft) higher, were obtained via this device. Although it has not been officially recognized by Nepal, this figure is widely quoted. Geoid
Geoid
The geoid is that equipotential surface which would coincide exactly with the mean ocean surface of the Earth, if the oceans were in equilibrium, at rest , and extended through the continents . According to C.F...

 uncertainty casts doubt upon the accuracy claimed by both the 1999 and 2005 surveys.

A detailed photogrammetric
Photogrammetry
Photogrammetry is the practice of determining the geometric properties of objects from photographic images. Photogrammetry is as old as modern photography and can be dated to the mid-nineteenth century....

 map (at a scale of 1:50,000) of the Khumbu
Khumbu
Khumbu is located in northeastern Nepal on the Nepalese side of Mount Everest. It is part of the Solukhumbu District, which in turn is part of the Sagarmatha Zone. Khumbu is one of three subregions of the main Khambu and Sherpa settlement of the Himalaya, the other two being Solu and Pharak...

 region, including the south side of Mount Everest, was made by Erwin Schneider as part of the 1955 International Himalayan Expedition, which also attempted Lhotse
Lhotse
Lhotse is the fourth highest mountain on Earth and is connected to Everest via the South Col. In addition to the main summit at 8,516 metres above sea level, Lhotse Middle is and Lhotse Shar is...

. An even more detailed topographic
Topography
Topography is the study of Earth's surface shape and features or those ofplanets, moons, and asteroids...

 map of the Everest area was made in the late 1980s under the direction of Bradford Washburn, using extensive aerial photography
Aerial photography
Aerial photography is the taking of photographs of the ground from an elevated position. The term usually refers to images in which the camera is not supported by a ground-based structure. Cameras may be hand held or mounted, and photographs may be taken by a photographer, triggered remotely or...

.

It is thought that the plate tectonics
Plate tectonics
Plate tectonics is a scientific theory that describes the large scale motions of Earth's lithosphere...

 of the area are adding to the height and moving the summit northeastwards. Two accounts suggest the rates of change are 4 mm (0.15748031496063 in) per year (upwards) and 3 to 6 mm (0.118110236220472 to 0.236220472440945 in) per year (northeastwards), but another account mentions more lateral movement (27 mm (1.1 in)),
and even shrinkage has been suggested.

Comparisons



The summit of Everest is the point at which the Earth's surface reaches the greatest distance above sea level
Sea level
Mean sea level is a measure of the average height of the ocean's surface ; used as a standard in reckoning land elevation...

. Several other mountains are sometimes claimed as alternative "tallest mountains on Earth". Mauna Kea
Mauna Kea
Mauna Kea is a volcano on the island of Hawaii. Standing above sea level, its peak is the highest point in the state of Hawaii. However, much of the mountain is under water; when measured from its oceanic base, Mauna Kea is over tall—significantly taller than Mount Everest...

 in Hawaii
Hawaii
Hawaii is the newest of the 50 U.S. states , and is the only U.S. state made up entirely of islands. It is the northernmost island group in Polynesia, occupying most of an archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean, southwest of the continental United States, southeast of Japan, and northeast of...

 is tallest when measured from its base; it rises over 10200 m (6.3 mi) when measured from its base on the mid-ocean floor, but only attains 4205 m (13,796 ft) above sea level.

By the same measure of base to summit, Mount McKinley
Mount McKinley
Mount McKinley or Denali in Alaska, United States is the highest mountain peak in North America and the United States, with a summit elevation of above sea level. It is the centerpiece of Denali National Park and Preserve.- Geology and features :Mount McKinley is a granitic pluton...

, in Alaska
Alaska
Alaska is the largest state in the United States by area. It is situated in the northwest extremity of the North American continent, with Canada to the east, the Arctic Ocean to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south, with Russia further west across the Bering Strait...

, is also taller than Everest. Despite its height above sea level of only 6193.6 m (20,320 ft), Mount McKinley sits atop a sloping plain with elevations from 300 m (984.3 ft) to 900 m (2,952.8 ft), yielding a height above base in the range of 5300 to 5900 m (17,388.5 to 19,357 ft); a commonly quoted figure is 5600 m (18,372.7 ft). By comparison, reasonable base elevations for Everest range from 4200 m (13,779.5 ft) on the south side to 5200 m (17,060.4 ft) on the Tibetan Plateau
Tibetan Plateau
The Tibetan Plateau , also known as the Qinghai–Tibetan Plateau is a vast, elevated plateau in Central Asia covering most of the Tibet Autonomous Region and Qinghai, in addition to smaller portions of western Sichuan, southwestern Gansu, and northern Yunnan in Western China and Ladakh in...

, yielding a height above base in the range of 3650 to 4650 m (11,975.1 to 15,255.9 ft).

The summit of Chimborazo
Chimborazo (volcano)
Chimborazo is a currently inactive stratovolcano located in the Cordillera Occidental range of the Andes. Its last known eruption is believed to have occurred around 550 AD....

 in Ecuador
Ecuador
Ecuador , officially the Republic of Ecuador is a representative democratic republic in South America, bordered by Colombia on the north, Peru on the east and south, and by the Pacific Ocean to the west. It is one of only two countries in South America, along with Chile, that do not have a border...

 is 2168 m (7,113 ft) farther from the Earth's centre (6384.4 km (3,967.1 mi)) than that of Everest (6382.3 km (3,965.8 mi)), because the Earth bulges at the Equator. For this reason Chimborazo
Chimborazo (volcano)
Chimborazo is a currently inactive stratovolcano located in the Cordillera Occidental range of the Andes. Its last known eruption is believed to have occurred around 550 AD....

 is the closest point to outer space.

Climbing routes



Image:Himalaya_annotated.jpg|thumb|left|Southern and northern climbing routes as seen from the International Space Station
International Space Station
The International Space Station is a habitable, artificial satellite in low Earth orbit. The ISS follows the Salyut, Almaz, Cosmos, Skylab, and Mir space stations, as the 11th space station launched, not including the Genesis I and II prototypes...

.
rect 58 14 160 49 58 14 160 49 58 14 160 49 Chomo Lonzo
Chomo Lonzo
Chomo Lonzo is a mountain in Tibet, 5 km northeast of Makalu in the Mahalungur or Khumbu Himalayas. Alternate spellings of the same name include Chomolonzo, Chomolönzo, Chomo Lönzo, Jomolönzo, and Lhamalangcho....


rect 200 28 335 52 Makalu
Makalu
Makalu is the fifth highest mountain in the world at and is located southeast of Mount Everest, on the border between Nepal and China...


rect 378 24 566 45 Everest
rect 188 581 920 656 Tibetan Plateau
Tibetan Plateau
The Tibetan Plateau , also known as the Qinghai–Tibetan Plateau is a vast, elevated plateau in Central Asia covering most of the Tibet Autonomous Region and Qinghai, in addition to smaller portions of western Sichuan, southwestern Gansu, and northern Yunnan in Western China and Ladakh in...


rect 250 406 340 427 Rong River
rect 333 149 409 186 Changtse
Changtse
Changtse is a mountain situated between the Main Rongbuk and East Rongbuk Glaciers in Tibet immediately north of Mount Everest. It is connected to Mount Everest via the North Col....


rect 550 284 677 303 Rongbuk Glacier
Rongbuk Glacier
Image:Himalaya_annotated.jpg|thumb|250px|right|Rongbuk Glacier and Mount Everest as seen from the International Space Station.rect 58 14 160 49 Chomo Lonzorect 200 28 335 52 Makalurect 378 24 566 45 Mount Everestrect 188 581 920 656 Tibetan Plateau...


rect 478 196 570 218 North Face
rect 237 231 346 267 East Rongbuk Glacier
rect 314 290 536 309 North Col north ridge route
rect 531 79 663 105 Lhotse
Lhotse
Lhotse is the fourth highest mountain on Earth and is connected to Everest via the South Col. In addition to the main summit at 8,516 metres above sea level, Lhotse Middle is and Lhotse Shar is...


rect 582 112 711 130 Nuptse
Nuptse
Nuptse is a mountain in the Khumbu region of the Mahalangur Himal, in the Nepalese Himalayas. It lies two kilometres WSW of Mount Everest. Nuptse is Tibetan for "west peak", as it is the western segment of the Lhotse-Nuptse massif....


rect 603 232 733 254 South Col route
South Col
The South Col usually refers to the southern col between Mount Everest and Lhotse, the first and fourth highest mountains in the world. When climbers attempt to climb Everest from the southeast ridge in Nepal, their final camp is situated on the South Col...


rect 716 165 839 206 Gyachung Kang
Gyachung Kang
Gyachung Kang is a mountain in the Mahalangur Himal section of the Himalaya, and is the highest peak between Cho Oyu and Mount Everest . It lies on the border between Nepal and China...


rect 882 147 967 183 Cho Oyu
Cho Oyu
Cho Oyu is the sixth highest mountain in the world at above sea level. Cho Oyu lies in the Himalayas and is 20 km west of Mount Everest, at the border between China and Nepal...


rect 1 1 999 661

desc bottom-left


Mt. Everest has two main climbing routes, the southeast ridge from Nepal
Nepal
Nepal , officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a landlocked sovereign state located in South Asia. It is located in the Himalayas and bordered to the north by the People's Republic of China, and to the south, east, and west by the Republic of India...

 and the northeast ridge from Tibet
Tibet
Tibet is a plateau region in Asia, north-east of the Himalayas. It is the traditional homeland of the Tibetan people as well as some other ethnic groups such as Monpas, Qiang, and Lhobas, and is now also inhabited by considerable numbers of Han and Hui people...

, as well as many other less frequently climbed routes. Of the two main routes, the southeast ridge is technically easier and is the more frequently used route. It was the route used by Edmund Hillary
Edmund Hillary
Sir Edmund Percival Hillary, KG, ONZ, KBE , was a New Zealand mountaineer, explorer and philanthropist. On 29 May 1953 at the age of 33, he and Sherpa mountaineer Tenzing Norgay became the first climbers known to have reached the summit of Mount Everest – see Timeline of climbing Mount Everest...

 and Tenzing Norgay
Tenzing Norgay
Padma Bhushan, Supradipta-Manyabara-Nepal-Tara Tenzing Norgay, GM born Namgyal Wangdi and often referred to as Sherpa Tenzing, was a Nepalese Sherpa mountaineer...

 in 1953 and the first recognized of fifteen routes to the top by 1996. This was, however, a route decision dictated more by politics than by design as the Chinese border was closed to the western world in the 1950s after the People's Republic of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

 invaded Tibet.

Most attempts are made during May before the summer monsoon
Monsoon
Monsoon is traditionally defined as a seasonal reversing wind accompanied by corresponding changes in precipitation, but is now used to describe seasonal changes in atmospheric circulation and precipitation associated with the asymmetric heating of land and sea...

 season. As the monsoon season approaches, a change in the jet stream
Jet stream
Jet streams are fast flowing, narrow air currents found in the atmospheres of some planets, including Earth. The main jet streams are located near the tropopause, the transition between the troposphere and the stratosphere . The major jet streams on Earth are westerly winds...

 at this time pushes it northward, thereby reducing the average wind speeds high on the mountain. While attempts are sometimes made after the monsoons in September and October, when the jet stream is again temporarily pushed northward, the additional snow deposited by the monsoons and the less stable weather patterns (tail end of the monsoon) makes climbing extremely difficult.

Southeast ridge


The ascent via the southeast ridge begins with a trek to Base Camp
Everest Base Camp
There are two base camps on opposite sides of Mount Everest. South Base Camp is in Nepal at an altitude of , and North Base Camp is in Tibet at ). These camps are rudimentary campsites on Mount Everest that are used by mountain climbers during their ascent and descent...

 at 5380 m (17,650.9 ft) on the south side of Everest in Nepal. Expeditions usually fly into Lukla
Lukla
Lukla is a town in the Khumbu area of the Solukhumbu District in the Sagarmatha Zone of north-eastern Nepal. Situated at , it is a popular place for visitors to the Himalayas near Mount Everest to arrive...

 (2,860 m) from Kathmandu and pass through Namche Bazaar
Namche Bazaar
Namche Bazaar is a village and Village Development Committee in Solukhumbu District in the Sagarmatha Zone of north-eastern Nepal. It is located within the Khumbu area at , populating the sides of a hill...

. Climbers then hike to Base Camp, which usually takes six to eight days, allowing for proper altitude acclimatization in order to prevent altitude sickness
Altitude sickness
Altitude sickness—also known as acute mountain sickness , altitude illness, hypobaropathy, or soroche—is a pathological effect of high altitude on humans, caused by acute exposure to low partial pressure of oxygen at high altitude...

. Climbing equipment and supplies are carried by yak
Yak
The yak, Bos grunniens or Bos mutus, is a long-haired bovine found throughout the Himalayan region of south Central Asia, the Tibetan Plateau and as far north as Mongolia and Russia. In addition to a large domestic population, there is a small, vulnerable wild yak population...

s, dzo
Dzo
A dzo is a hybrid of yak and domestic cattle. The word dzo technically refers to a male hybrid, while a female is known as a dzomo or zhom. Alternative Romanizations of the Tibetan names include zho and zo. In Mongolian it is called khainag...

pkyos (yak-cow hybrids) and human porters to Base Camp on the Khumbu Glacier
Khumbu Glacier
The Khumbu Glacier is located in the Khumbu region of northeastern Nepal between Mount Everest and the Lhotse-Nuptse ridge. With elevations of at its terminus to at its source, it is the world's highest glacier. The Khumbu Glacier is followed for the final part of the trail to Everest Base Camp....

. When Hillary and Tenzing climbed Everest in 1953, they started from Kathmandu Valley, as there were no roads further east at that time.

Climbers will spend a couple of weeks in Base Camp, acclimatizing to the altitude. During that time, Sherpas and some expedition climbers will set up ropes and ladders in the treacherous Khumbu Icefall
Khumbu Icefall
The Khumbu Icefall is an icefall at the head of the Khumbu Glacier.The icefall is found at on the Nepali slopes of Mount Everest not far above Base Camp and southwest of the summit. The icefall is regarded as one of the most dangerous stages of the South Col route to Everest's summit...

. Serac
Serac
A serac is a block or column of ice formed by intersecting crevasses on a glacier. Often house-sized or larger, they are dangerous to mountaineers since they may topple with little warning...

s, crevasses and shifting blocks of ice make the icefall one of the most dangerous sections of the route. Many climbers and Sherpas have been killed in this section. To reduce the hazard, climbers will usually begin their ascent well before dawn, when the freezing temperatures glue ice
Ice
Ice is water frozen into the solid state. Usually ice is the phase known as ice Ih, which is the most abundant of the varying solid phases on the Earth's surface. It can appear transparent or opaque bluish-white color, depending on the presence of impurities or air inclusions...

 blocks in place. Above the icefall is Camp I at 6065 metres (19,898.3 ft).

From Camp I, climbers make their way up the Western Cwm
Western Cwm
Often called the Valley of Silence, the Western Cwm is a broad, flat, gently undulating glacial valley basin terminating at the foot of the Lhotse Face of Mount Everest. It was named by George Leigh Mallory when he first saw it in 1921...

 to the base of the Lhotse
Lhotse
Lhotse is the fourth highest mountain on Earth and is connected to Everest via the South Col. In addition to the main summit at 8,516 metres above sea level, Lhotse Middle is and Lhotse Shar is...

 face, where Camp II or Advanced Base Camp (ABC) is established at 6500 m (21,325.5 ft). The Western Cwm is a flat, gently rising glacial valley, marked by huge lateral crevasse
Crevasse
A crevasse is a deep crack in an ice sheet rhys glacier . Crevasses form as a result of the movement and resulting stress associated with the sheer stress generated when two semi-rigid pieces above a plastic substrate have different rates of movement...

s in the centre, which prevent direct access to the upper reaches of the Cwm. Climbers are forced to cross on the far right near the base of Nuptse
Nuptse
Nuptse is a mountain in the Khumbu region of the Mahalangur Himal, in the Nepalese Himalayas. It lies two kilometres WSW of Mount Everest. Nuptse is Tibetan for "west peak", as it is the western segment of the Lhotse-Nuptse massif....

 to a small passageway known as the "Nuptse corner". The Western Cwm is also called the "Valley of Silence" as the topography of the area generally cuts off wind from the climbing route. The high altitude and a clear, windless day can make the Western Cwm unbearably hot for climbers.

From ABC, climbers ascend the Lhotse face on fixed rope
Fixed rope
Fixed rope is the practice of fixing in place bolted ropes to assist climbers and walkers in exposed mountain locations. They are used widely on American and European climbing routes but disdained by purist mountaineers. Many guided expeditions to any of the eight-thousanders normally set up fixed...

s up to Camp III, located on a small ledge at 7470 m (24,507.9 ft). From there, it is another 500 metres to Camp IV on the South Col
South Col
The South Col usually refers to the southern col between Mount Everest and Lhotse, the first and fourth highest mountains in the world. When climbers attempt to climb Everest from the southeast ridge in Nepal, their final camp is situated on the South Col...

 at 7920 m (25,984.3 ft). From Camp III to Camp IV, climbers are faced with two additional challenges: The Geneva Spur and The Yellow Band. The Geneva Spur is an anvil shaped rib of black rock named by the 1952 Swiss expedition
1952 Swiss Mount Everest Expedition
Led by Edouard Wyss-Dunant, the 1952 Swiss Mount Everest Expedition saw Raymond Lambert and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay reach a height of about on the southeast ridge, setting a new climbing altitude record, opening up a new route to Mount Everest and the paving way for further successes by other...

. Fixed ropes assist climbers in scrambling
Scrambling
Scrambling is a method of ascending rocky faces and ridges. It is an ambiguous term that lies somewhere between hillwalking and rock climbing. It is often distinguished from hillwalking by defining a scramble as a route where hands must be used in the ascent...

 over this snow covered rock band. The Yellow Band is a section of interlayered marble
Marble
Marble is a metamorphic rock composed of recrystallized carbonate minerals, most commonly calcite or dolomite.Geologists use the term "marble" to refer to metamorphosed limestone; however stonemasons use the term more broadly to encompass unmetamorphosed limestone.Marble is commonly used for...

, phyllite
Phyllite
Phyllite is a type of foliated metamorphic rock primarily composed of quartz, sericite mica, and chlorite; the rock represents a gradation in the degree of metamorphism between slate and mica schist. Minute crystals of graphite, sericite, or chlorite impart a silky, sometimes golden sheen to the...

, and semischist
Schist
The schists constitute a group of medium-grade metamorphic rocks, chiefly notable for the preponderance of lamellar minerals such as micas, chlorite, talc, hornblende, graphite, and others. Quartz often occurs in drawn-out grains to such an extent that a particular form called quartz schist is...

, which also requires about 100 metres of rope for traversing it.

On the South Col, climbers enter the death zone. Climbers typically only have a maximum of two or three days they can endure at this altitude for making summit bids. Clear weather and low winds are critical factors in deciding whether to make a summit attempt. If weather does not cooperate within these short few days, climbers are forced to descend, many all the way back down to Base Camp.
From Camp IV, climbers will begin their summit push around midnight with hopes of reaching the summit (still another 1,000 metres above) within 10 to 12 hours. Climbers will first reach "The Balcony" at 8400 m (27,559.1 ft), a small platform where they can rest and gaze at peaks to the south and east in the early light of dawn. Continuing up the ridge, climbers are then faced with a series of imposing rock steps which usually forces them to the east into waist-deep snow, a serious avalanche
Avalanche
An avalanche is a sudden rapid flow of snow down a slope, occurring when either natural triggers or human activity causes a critical escalating transition from the slow equilibrium evolution of the snow pack. Typically occurring in mountainous terrain, an avalanche can mix air and water with the...

 hazard. At 8750 m (28,707.3 ft), a small table-sized dome of ice and snow marks the South Summit.

From the South Summit, climbers follow the knife-edge southeast ridge along what is known as the "Cornice traverse", where snow clings to intermittent rock. This is the most exposed section of the climb as a misstep to the left would send one 2,400 m (8,000 ft) down the southwest face, while to the immediate right is the 3,050 m (10,000 ft) Kangshung face. At the end of this traverse is an imposing 12 m (40 ft) rock wall called the "Hillary Step" at 8760 m (28,740.2 ft).

Hillary and Tenzing were the first climbers to ascend this step and they did it with primitive ice climbing equipment and ropes. Nowadays, climbers will ascend this step using fixed ropes previously set up by Sherpas. Once above the step, it is a comparatively easy climb to the top on moderately angled snow slopes–though the exposure on the ridge is extreme, especially while traversing large cornices of snow. With increasing numbers of people climbing the mountain in recent years, the Step has frequently become a bottleneck
Bottleneck
A bottleneck is a phenomenon where the performance or capacity of an entire system is limited by a single or limited number of components or resources. The term bottleneck is taken from the 'assets are water' metaphor. As water is poured out of a bottle, the rate of outflow is limited by the width...

, with climbers forced to wait significant amounts of time for their turn on the ropes, leading to problems in getting climbers efficiently up and down the mountain. After the Hillary Step, climbers also must traverse a loose and rocky section that has a large entanglement of fixed ropes that can be troublesome in bad weather. Climbers will typically spend less than half an hour at the summit to allow time to descend to Camp IV before darkness sets in, to avoid serious problems with afternoon weather, or because supplemental oxygen tanks run out.

Northeast ridge



The northeast ridge route begins from the north side of Everest in Tibet. Expeditions trek to the Rongbuk Glacier
Rongbuk Glacier
Image:Himalaya_annotated.jpg|thumb|250px|right|Rongbuk Glacier and Mount Everest as seen from the International Space Station.rect 58 14 160 49 Chomo Lonzorect 200 28 335 52 Makalurect 378 24 566 45 Mount Everestrect 188 581 920 656 Tibetan Plateau...

, setting up Base Camp
Everest Base Camp
There are two base camps on opposite sides of Mount Everest. South Base Camp is in Nepal at an altitude of , and North Base Camp is in Tibet at ). These camps are rudimentary campsites on Mount Everest that are used by mountain climbers during their ascent and descent...

 at 5180 m (16,994.8 ft) on a gravel plain just below the glacier. To reach Camp II, climbers ascend the medial moraine of the east Rongbuk Glacier up to the base of Changtse
Changtse
Changtse is a mountain situated between the Main Rongbuk and East Rongbuk Glaciers in Tibet immediately north of Mount Everest. It is connected to Mount Everest via the North Col....

 at around 6100 m (20,013.1 ft). Camp III (ABC – Advanced Base Camp) is situated below the North Col
North Col
The North Col refers to a sharp-edged pass or col carved by glaciers connecting Mount Everest and Changtse in Tibet. It forms the head of the East Rongbuk Glacier....

 at 6,500 m (21,300 ft). To reach Camp IV on the north col, climbers ascend the glacier to the foot of the col where fixed ropes are used to reach the North Col at 7010 m (22,998.7 ft). From the North Col, climbers ascend the rocky north ridge to set up Camp V at around 7775 m (25,508.5 ft). The route crosses the North Face in a diagonal climb to the base of the Yellow Band reaching the site of Camp VI at 8230 m (27,001.3 ft). From Camp VI, climbers will make their final summit push. Climbers face a treacherous traverse from the base of the First Step: 27890 feet (8,500.9 m) – 28000 feet (8,534.4 m), to the crux of the climb, the Second Step: 28140 feet (8,577.1 m) – 28,300 feet. (The Second Step includes a climbing aid called the "Chinese ladder", a metal ladder placed semi-permanently in 1975 by a party of Chinese climbers. It has been almost continuously in place since, and ladders have been used by virtually all climbers on the route.) Once above the Second Step the inconsequential Third Step is clambered over: 28510 feet (8,689.8 m) – 28870 feet (8,799.6 m). Once above these steps, the summit pyramid is climbed by a snow slope of 50 degrees, to the final summit ridge along which the top is reached.
See also: the Three Steps
Three Steps
The Three Steps are three prominent rocky steps to the northeast of Mount Everest. They are located at altitudes of , , and . The Second Step is especially significant both historically and in mountaineering terms...


Early expeditions



In 1885, Clinton Thomas Dent
Clinton Thomas Dent
Clinton Thomas Dent FRCS was an English surgeon, author and mountaineer.-Early life:The fourth surviving son of Thomas Dent, he was educated at Eton College and Trinity College, Cambridge.-Alpinism:...

, president of the Alpine Club
Alpine Club (UK)
The Alpine Club was founded in London in 1857 and was probably the world's first mountaineering club. It is UK mountaineering's acknowledged 'senior club'.-History:...

, suggested that climbing Mount Everest was possible in his book Above the Snow Line.

The northern approach to the mountain was discovered by George Mallory
George Mallory
George Herbert Leigh Mallory was an English mountaineer who took part in the first three British expeditions to Mount Everest in the early 1920s....

 on the first expedition in 1921. It was an exploratory expedition not equipped for a serious attempt to climb the mountain. With Mallory leading (and thus becoming the first European to set foot on Everest's flanks) they climbed the North Col 7007 metres (22,989 ft). From there, Mallory espied a route to the top, but the party was unprepared for the great task of climbing any further and descended.

The British returned for a 1922 expedition
British Mount Everest Expedition 1922
The 1922 British Mount Everest Expedition was the first mountaineering expedition with the express aim of making the first ascent of Mount Everest. This was also the first expedition that attempted to climb Everest using bottled oxygen. The expedition would attempt to climb Everest from the...

. George Finch
George Finch (chemist)
George Ingle Finch FRS was a chemist and mountaineer.He was born in Australia but educated in German-speaking Switzerland and studied physical sciences at Geneva University....

 ("The other George") climbed using oxygen for the first time. He ascended at a remarkable speed—950 feet (290 m) per hour, and reached an altitude of 8320 m (27,296.6 ft), the first time a human climbed higher than 8,000m. This feat was entirely lost on the British climbing establishment—except for its "unsporting" nature. Mallory and Col. Felix Norton
Edward Felix Norton
Edward Felix Norton DSO MC was a British army officer and mountaineer.He was educated at Charterhouse School and the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, and then joined artillery units in India and served in World War I. He had been introduced to mountain climbing at the home in the Alps of his...

 made a second unsuccessful attempt. Mallory was faulted for leading a group down from the North Col which got caught in an avalanche. Mallory was pulled down too, but seven native porters were killed.

The next Expedition was in 1924
British Mount Everest Expedition 1924
The 1924 British Mount Everest Expedition was—after the 1922 British Mount Everest Expedition—the second expedition with the goal of achieving the first ascent of Mount Everest. After two summit attempts in which Edward Norton set a world altitude record, the mountaineers George Mallory and Andrew...

. The initial attempt by Mallory and Bruce was aborted when weather conditions precluded the establishment of Camp VI. The next attempt was that of Norton and Somervell, who climbed without oxygen and in perfect weather, traversing the North Face into the Great Couloir. Norton managed to reach 8558 metres (28,077 ft), though he ascended only 100 feet (30 m) or so in the last hour. Mallory rustled up oxygen equipment for a last-ditch effort. He chose young Andrew Irvine as his partner.

On 8 June 1924, George Mallory and Andrew Irvine
Andrew Irvine (mountaineer)
Andrew "Sandy" Comyn Irvine was an English mountaineer who took part in 1924 British Everest Expedition, the third British expedition to the world's highest mountain, Mount Everest....

 made an attempt on the summit via the North Col/North Ridge/Northeast Ridge route from which they never returned. On 1 May 1999, the Mallory and Irvine Research Expedition
Mallory and Irvine Research Expedition
The goal of the Mallory and Irvine Research Expedition of 1999 was to discover evidence of whether George Mallory and Andrew Irvine had been the first to summit Mt. Everest in their ill-fated attempt of 8–9 June 1924...

 found Mallory's body on the North Face in a snow basin below and to the west of the traditional site of Camp VI. Controversy has raged in the mountaineering community whether one or both of them reached the summit 29 years before the confirmed ascent (and of course, safe descent) of Everest by Sir Edmund Hillary
Edmund Hillary
Sir Edmund Percival Hillary, KG, ONZ, KBE , was a New Zealand mountaineer, explorer and philanthropist. On 29 May 1953 at the age of 33, he and Sherpa mountaineer Tenzing Norgay became the first climbers known to have reached the summit of Mount Everest – see Timeline of climbing Mount Everest...

 and Tenzing Norgay
Tenzing Norgay
Padma Bhushan, Supradipta-Manyabara-Nepal-Tara Tenzing Norgay, GM born Namgyal Wangdi and often referred to as Sherpa Tenzing, was a Nepalese Sherpa mountaineer...

 in 1953.

In 1933, Lady Houston
Lucy, Lady Houston
Lucy, Lady Houston, DBE , born Fanny Lucy Radmall, was an English benefactor, philanthropist, adventuress and patriot.-Early life:...

, a British millionairess, funded the Houston Everest Flight of 1933, which saw a formation of aircraft
Westland Wallace
The Westland Wallace was a British two-seat, general-purpose biplane of the Royal Air Force, developed by Westland as a follow-on to their successful Wapiti. As the last of the inter-war general purpose biplanes, it was used by a number of frontline and Auxiliary Air Force Squadrons...

 led by the Marquess of Clydesdale
Douglas Douglas-Hamilton, 14th Duke of Hamilton
Air Commodore Douglas Douglas-Hamilton, 14th Duke of Hamilton and 11th Duke of Brandon, KT, GCVO, AFC, PC, DL, FRCSE, FRGS, was a Scottish nobleman and pioneering aviator....

 fly over the summit
Summit (topography)
In topography, a summit is a point on a surface that is higher in elevation than all points immediately adjacent to it. Mathematically, a summit is a local maximum in elevation...

 in an effort to deploy the British Union Flag
Union Flag
The Union Flag, also known as the Union Jack, is the flag of the United Kingdom. It retains an official or semi-official status in some Commonwealth Realms; for example, it is known as the Royal Union Flag in Canada. It is also used as an official flag in some of the smaller British overseas...

 at the top.

Early expeditions—such as Bruce's in the 1920s and Hugh Ruttledge
Hugh Ruttledge
Hugh Ruttledge was an English civil servant and mountaineer who was the leader of two expeditions to Mount Everest in 1933 and 1936.-Early life:...

's two unsuccessful attempts in 1933 and 1936—tried to make an ascent of the mountain from Tibet
Tibet
Tibet is a plateau region in Asia, north-east of the Himalayas. It is the traditional homeland of the Tibetan people as well as some other ethnic groups such as Monpas, Qiang, and Lhobas, and is now also inhabited by considerable numbers of Han and Hui people...

, via the north face. Access was closed from the north to western expeditions in 1950, after the Chinese asserted control over Tibet. In 1950, Bill Tilman
Bill Tilman
Major Harold William "Bill" Tilman, CBE, DSO, MC and Bar was an English mountaineer and explorer, renowned for his Himalayan climbs and sailing voyages.-Early years and Africa:...

 and a small party which included Charles Houston
Charles Snead Houston
-References:-External links:* - Daily Telegraph obituary* Independent obituary, 1 October 2009.-Notes:...

, Oscar Houston and Betsy Cowles undertook an exploratory expedition to Everest through Nepal along the route which has now become the standard approach to Everest from the south.

The Swiss expedition
1952 Swiss Mount Everest Expedition
Led by Edouard Wyss-Dunant, the 1952 Swiss Mount Everest Expedition saw Raymond Lambert and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay reach a height of about on the southeast ridge, setting a new climbing altitude record, opening up a new route to Mount Everest and the paving way for further successes by other...

 of 1952, led by Edouard Wyss-Dunant
Edouard Wyss-Dunant
Dr. Edouard Wyss-Dunant is a Swiss physician and alpinist. He had a distinguished career in medicine, both in his own country and abroad. He published a number of treatises in hi s professional capacity and was the author of several mountaineering books...

, was granted permission to attempt a climb from Nepal. The expedition established a route through the Khumbu ice fall and ascended to the South Col at an elevation of 7986 metres (26,201 ft). No attempt at an ascent of Everest was ever under consideration in this case. Raymond Lambert
Raymond Lambert
Raymond Lambert was a Swiss mountaineer, who with Sherpa Tenzing Norgay reached an altitude of 8611 metres of Mount Everest in May 1952. At the time it was the highest point that a climber had ever reached...

 and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay
Tenzing Norgay
Padma Bhushan, Supradipta-Manyabara-Nepal-Tara Tenzing Norgay, GM born Namgyal Wangdi and often referred to as Sherpa Tenzing, was a Nepalese Sherpa mountaineer...

 were able to reach a height of about 8595 metres (28,199 ft) on the southeast ridge, setting a new climbing altitude record. Tenzing's experience was useful when he was hired to be part of the British expedition in 1953.

First successful ascent by Tenzing and Hillary



In 1953, a ninth British expedition, led by John Hunt
John Hunt, Baron Hunt
Brigadier Henry Cecil John Hunt, Baron Hunt KG, PC, CBE, DSO, was a British army officer who is best known as the leader of the successful 1953 British Expedition to Mount Everest.-Early life and career:...

, returned to Nepal. Hunt selected two climbing pairs to attempt to reach the summit. The first pair (Tom Bourdillon
Tom Bourdillon
Thomas Duncan Bourdillon, known as Tom Bourdillon , was an English mountaineer, a member of the team which made the first ascent of Mount Everest in 1953....

 and Charles Evans) came within 100 m (300 feet) of the summit on 26 May 1953, but turned back after running into oxygen problems. As planned, their work in route finding and breaking trail and their caches of extra oxygen were of great aid to the following pair. Two days later, the expedition made its second and final assault on the summit with its second climbing pair, the New Zealander Edmund Hillary
Edmund Hillary
Sir Edmund Percival Hillary, KG, ONZ, KBE , was a New Zealand mountaineer, explorer and philanthropist. On 29 May 1953 at the age of 33, he and Sherpa mountaineer Tenzing Norgay became the first climbers known to have reached the summit of Mount Everest – see Timeline of climbing Mount Everest...

 and Tenzing Norgay
Tenzing Norgay
Padma Bhushan, Supradipta-Manyabara-Nepal-Tara Tenzing Norgay, GM born Namgyal Wangdi and often referred to as Sherpa Tenzing, was a Nepalese Sherpa mountaineer...

, a Nepal
Nepal
Nepal , officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a landlocked sovereign state located in South Asia. It is located in the Himalayas and bordered to the north by the People's Republic of China, and to the south, east, and west by the Republic of India...

i sherpa climber. They reached the summit at 11:30 a.m. local time on 29 May 1953 via the South Col Route. At the time, both acknowledged it as a team effort by the whole expedition, but Tenzing revealed a few years later that Hillary had put his foot on the summit first. They paused at the summit to take photographs and buried a few sweets and a small cross in the snow before descending.

News of the expedition's success reached London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

 on the morning of Queen Elizabeth II's
Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom
Elizabeth II is the constitutional monarch of 16 sovereign states known as the Commonwealth realms: the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize,...

 coronation
Coronation
A coronation is a ceremony marking the formal investiture of a monarch and/or their consort with regal power, usually involving the placement of a crown upon their head and the presentation of other items of regalia...

, 2 June. Returning to Kathmandu a few days later, Hunt (a Briton) and Hillary (a New Zealander) discovered that they had been promptly knighted in the Order of the British Empire
Order of the British Empire
The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is an order of chivalry established on 4 June 1917 by George V of the United Kingdom. The Order comprises five classes in civil and military divisions...

, a KBE, for the ascent. Tenzing (a subject of the King of Nepal) was granted the George Medal
George Medal
The George Medal is the second level civil decoration of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth.The GM was instituted on 24 September 1940 by King George VI. At this time, during the height of The Blitz, there was a strong desire to reward the many acts of civilian courage...

 by the UK. Hunt was ultimately made a life peer
Life peer
In the United Kingdom, life peers are appointed members of the Peerage whose titles cannot be inherited. Nowadays life peerages, always of baronial rank, are created under the Life Peerages Act 1958 and entitle the holders to seats in the House of Lords, presuming they meet qualifications such as...

 in Britain, while Hillary became a founding member of the Order of New Zealand
Order of New Zealand
The Order of New Zealand is the highest honour in New Zealand's honours system, created "to recognise outstanding service to the Crown and people of New Zealand in a civil or military capacity"...

. Hillary and Tenzing are also nationally recognized in Nepal, where annual ceremonies in schools and offices celebrate their accomplishment.

First ascents without supplemental oxygen and first solo ascent


On 8 May 1978, Reinhold Messner
Reinhold Messner
Reinhold Messner is an Italian mountaineer and explorer from Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol "whose astonishing feats on Everest and on peaks throughout the world have earned him the status of the greatest climber in history." He is renowned for making the first solo ascent of Mount Everest without...

 (Italy) and Peter Habeler
Peter Habeler
Peter Habeler is an Austrian mountaineer. He was born in Mayrhofen, Austria.Among his accomplishments as a mountaineer are his first ascents in the Rocky Mountains. He was also the first European to climb on the Big Walls in Yosemite National Park.He began climbing with Reinhold Messner in 1969. ...

 (Austria) made the first ascent without supplemental oxygen, using the southeast ridge route. On 20 August 1980, Messner reached the summit of the mountain solo for the first time, without supplementary oxygen or support, on the more difficult Northwest route via the North Col to the North Face and the Great Couloir. He climbed for three days entirely alone from his base camp at 6500 metres (21,325.5 ft).

First winter ascent


In 1980, a team from Poland led by Andrzej Zawada, Leszek Cichy
Leszek Cichy
Leszek Cichy is a Polish mountaineer, geodesist, financier, and entrepreneur. He was born in Pruszków, Poland on November 14, 1951. He is best known for making the first winter ascent of Mount Everest together with Krzysztof Wielicki in 1980 which established the winter ascent record of 8,848 meters...

, and Krzysztof Wielicki
Krzysztof Wielicki
Krzysztof Wielicki is a Polish retired alpine and high-altitude climber. He is the fifth man to climb all fourteen eight-thousanders and the first ever to climb Mount Everest, Kangchenjunga, and Lhotse in the winter. He is a member of The Explorers Club...

 became the first to reach the summit during the winter season.

First ascent by a woman


The first woman to get to the top was Junko Tabei
Junko Tabei
is a Japanese mountain-climber, who became the first woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest on May 16, 1975.-Early climbing history:After obtaining a degree in English literature from Showa Women's University where she was a member of the mountain climbing club, Tabei formed the "Ladies...

, in 1975, after being rescued from an avalanche by her sherpa.

First ascent from sea level


In 1990 Australian Tim Macartney-Snape
Tim Macartney-Snape
Tim Macartney-Snape is a mountaineer and author. On 3 October 1984 Macartney-Snape and Greg Mortimer were the first Australians to reach the summit of Mount Everest. They reached the summit, climbing without supplementary oxygen, via a new route on the North Face...

 became the first person to climb from sea level to the summit.

1996 disaster



During the 1996 season, 16 people died while climbing on Mount Everest, the highest number of fatalities in a single year in the mountain's history. Eight of them died on 11 May alone. The disaster gained wide publicity and raised questions about the commercialization of climbing Mount Everest.

Journalist Jon Krakauer
Jon Krakauer
Jon Krakauer is an American writer and mountaineer, primarily known for his writing about the outdoors and mountain-climbing...

, on assignment from Outside
Outside (magazine)
Outside is an American magazine focused on the outdoors. The first issue debuted in September 1977 with its mission statement declaring that the publication was "dedicated to covering the people, sports and activities, politics, art, literature, and hardware of the outdoors..."Its founders were...

magazine, was in one of the affected parties, and afterwards published the bestseller Into Thin Air
Into Thin Air
Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster is a 1997 bestselling non-fiction book written by Jon Krakauer. It details the author's presence at Mount Everest during the 1996 Mount Everest disaster when eight climbers were killed and several others were stranded by a 'rogue storm'...

, which related his experience. Anatoli Boukreev
Anatoli Boukreev
Anatoli Nikoliavich Boukreev, , was a Kazakhstani climber who made ascents of seven of the 8,000 metre peaks without supplemental oxygen. In total he made 18 successful ascents on peaks above 8000 m . Boukreev was lost under an avalanche on Annapurna...

, a guide who felt impugned by Krakauer's book, co-authored a rebuttal book called The Climb
The Climb (book)
The Climb is an account by Russian mountaineer Anatoli Boukreev of the 1996 Everest Disaster, during which eight climbers lost their lives on Mount Everest. The co-author, G...

.
The dispute sparked a debate within the climbing community. In May 2004, Kent Moore, a physicist, and John L. Semple, a surgeon, both researchers from the University of Toronto
University of Toronto
The University of Toronto is a public research university in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, situated on the grounds that surround Queen's Park. It was founded by royal charter in 1827 as King's College, the first institution of higher learning in Upper Canada...

, told New Scientist
New Scientist
New Scientist is a weekly non-peer-reviewed English-language international science magazine, which since 1996 has also run a website, covering recent developments in science and technology for a general audience. Founded in 1956, it is published by Reed Business Information Ltd, a subsidiary of...

magazine that an analysis of weather conditions on 11 May suggested that freak weather caused oxygen levels to plunge approximately 14%.

The storm's impact on climbers on the North Ridge of Mount Everest, where several climbers also died, was detailed in a first-hand account by British filmmaker and writer Matt Dickinson
Matt Dickinson
Matt Dickinson is a film-maker and writer who is best known for his best selling novels and his documentary work for National Geographic Television, Discovery Channel and the BBC...

 in his book The Other Side of Everest. 16-year-old Mark Pfetzer was on the climb and wrote about it in his account, Within Reach: My Everest Story.

2005: Helicopter landing


On 14 May 2005, pilot Didier Delsalle (:fr:Didier Delsalle) of France landed a Eurocopter AS350 helicopter on the summit of Mount Everest and took off after about four minutes. His rotors were continually engaged, constituting a "hover landing", and avoiding the risks of relying on the snow to support the aircraft. He thereby set rotorcraft
Rotorcraft
A rotorcraft or rotary wing aircraft is a heavier-than-air flying machine that uses lift generated by wings, called rotor blades, that revolve around a mast. Several rotor blades mounted to a single mast are referred to as a rotor. The International Civil Aviation Organization defines a rotorcraft...

 world records, for highest of both landing and take-off.

Delsalle had also performed, two days earlier, a take-off from the South Col; some press reports suggested that the report of the summit landing was a misunderstanding of a South Col landing, but the summit landing was confirmed by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale
Fédération Aéronautique Internationale
The Fédération Aéronautique Internationale is the world governing body for air sports and aeronautics and astronautics world records. Its head office is in Lausanne, Switzerland. This includes man-carrying aerospace vehicles from balloons to spacecraft, and unmanned aerial vehicles...

.

2006: David Sharp controversy


Double-amputee climber Mark Inglis
Mark Inglis
Mark Joseph Inglis is a mountaineer, researcher, winemaker and motivational speaker. He holds a degree in Human Biochemistry from Lincoln University, New Zealand, and has conducted research in Leukemia...

 revealed in an interview with the press on 23 May 2006, that his climbing party, and many others, had passed a distressed climber, David Sharp, on 15 May, sheltering under a rock overhang 450 metres (1,476.4 ft) below the summit, without attempting a rescue. The revelation sparked wide debate on climbing ethics, especially as applied to Everest. The climbers who left him said that the rescue efforts would have been useless and only have caused more deaths.
Much of this controversy was captured by the Discovery Channel
Discovery Channel
Discovery Channel is an American satellite and cable specialty channel , founded by John Hendricks and distributed by Discovery Communications. It is a publicly traded company run by CEO David Zaslav...

 while filming the television program Everest: Beyond the Limit
Everest: Beyond the Limit
Everest: Beyond the Limit is a Discovery Channel reality television series about yearly attempts to summit Mount Everest organized and led by New Zealander Russell Brice.-Plot summary:...

. A crucial decision affecting the fate of Sharp is shown in the program, where an early returning climber (Max Chaya) is descending and radios to his base camp manager (Russell Brice
Russell Brice
Russell Reginald Brice is a New Zealand mountaineer. He is also the owner/manager of Himalayan Experience Ltd., a climbing expedition company...

) that he has found a climber in distress. He is unable to identify Sharp, who had chosen to climb solo without any support and so did not identify himself to other climbers. The base camp manager assumes that Sharp is part of a group that has abandoned him, and informs his climber that there is no chance of him being able to help Sharp. As Sharp's condition deteriorates through the day and other descending climbers pass him, his opportunities for rescue diminish: his legs and feet curl from frostbite
Frostbite
Frostbite is the medical condition where localized damage is caused to skin and other tissues due to extreme cold. Frostbite is most likely to happen in body parts farthest from the heart and those with large exposed areas...

, preventing him from walking; the later descending climbers are lower on oxygen and lack the strength to offer aid; time runs out for any Sherpas to return and rescue him. Most importantly, Sharp's decision to forgo all support left him with no margin for recovery.

As this debate raged, on 26 May, Australian climber Lincoln Hall
Lincoln Hall (climber)
Lincoln Hall is a veteran Australian mountain climber and author. Hall is the author of White Limbo, the story of the first Australian team to climb Mount Everest. While others in the team made it to the top, Hall was forced to turn back close to the summit due to illness...

 was found alive, after being declared dead the day before. He was found by a party of four climbers (Dan Mazur, Andrew Brash, Myles Osborne and Jangbu Sherpa) who, giving up their own summit attempt, stayed with Hall and descended with him and a party of 11 Sherpas sent up to carry him down. Hall later fully recovered. Similar actions have been recorded since, including on 21 May 2007, when Canadian climber Meagan McGrath initiated the successful high-altitude rescue of Nepal
Nepal
Nepal , officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a landlocked sovereign state located in South Asia. It is located in the Himalayas and bordered to the north by the People's Republic of China, and to the south, east, and west by the Republic of India...

i Usha Bista. Recognizing her heroic rescue, Major Meagan McGrath was selected as a 2011 recipient of the Sir Edmund Hillary Foundation of Canada Humanitarian Award, which recognizes a Canadian who has personally or administratively contributed a significant service or act in the Himalayan Region of Nepal.

Various records


The youngest person to climb Mount Everest was 13-year-old Jordan Romero
Jordan Romero
Jordan David Romero is an American mountain climber who, on May 22, 2010, became the youngest person to climb Mount Everest. He was 13 years 10 months 10 days old when he reached the summit. Romero was accompanied by his father Paul Romero, his father's girlfriend Karen Lundgren, and three...

 in May 2010 from the Tibetan side. His ascent, as part of an apparent "race" to bring younger and younger children to the mountain (shortly after Romero's ascent, Pemba Dorjie Sherpa
Pemba Dorjie
Pemba Dorjie is a Sherpa who currently holds the world record for the quickest climb of Mount Everest. On May 23, 2003, he reached the peak in 12 hours and 46 minutes. Lhakpa Gelu beat his record three days later, reaching the peak in 10 hours and 46 minutes. On May 21, 2004, Dorjie beat that...

 announced plans to bring his 9 year old son to the summit), triggered a wave of criticism that prompted Chinese authorities to establish age limits on Mt Everest. At the present time, China no longer grants permits to prospective climbers under 18 or over 60. Nepal sets the minimum age at 16 but has no maximum age.

Apa Sherpa holds the record for reaching the summit more times than any other person (21 times ).

The fastest ascent via the northeast ridge was accomplished in 2007 by Austrian climber Christian Stangl
Christian Stangl
Christian Stangl is an alpine style professional mountain climber. He practices what he calls "skyrunning": rapidly climbing or running up very high mountains, directly from the base camp to the summit and back, alone, without supplementary oxygen, intermediate camps, resupplies by Sherpas, or...

, who took 16h 42min for the 10 km distance from Camp III (Advanced Base Camp) to the summit, just barely beating Italian Hans Kammerlander's record of 17 hours, accomplished in 1996. Both men climbed alone and without supplementary oxygen. The fastest oxygen-supported ascent over the southeast ridge was Nepalese Pemba Dorjie Sherpa's 2004 climb, taking 8h 10min for the 17-km route from Base Camp to the summit. The fastest ascent without supplementary oxygen via the southeast ridge was accomplished by French Marc Batard, who reached the summit in 22h 30min in 1988.

The first descent by paraglider was by Jean-Marc Boivin
Jean-Marc Boivin
Jean-Marc Boivin was a French mountaineer, extreme skier, hang glider and paraglider pilot, speleologist, BASE jumper, award-winning film maker, and author...

 on 26 September 1988 and the first descent by ski was in 2000 by Davo Karnicar
Davo Karnicar
Davorin "Davo" Karničar is a Slovenian climber and an extreme skier.As an active Alpine skier, he was a member of the National Alpine Ski Team between 1975 and 1982. An Alpine climber since 1980, he has so far recorded over 1.400 Alpine climbs and ski descents...

.

The oldest climber to reach Mount Everest's summit is 76-year-old Min Bahadur Sherchan, on 25 May 2008 from the Nepalese side. Sherchan beat the previous record set in 2007 by 71-year-old Katsusuke Yanagisawa. The oldest climber to reach the summit of Mount Everest from both sides (Nepal and Tibet) of the mountain is 60-year-old Julio Bird, a Puerto Rican
Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico , officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico , is an unincorporated territory of the United States, located in the northeastern Caribbean, east of the Dominican Republic and west of both the United States Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands.Puerto Rico comprises an...

 cardiologist who reached the summit of Mount Everest from the north side on 17 May 2010.

The first self-propelled ascent of Mount Everest, the highest point on the earth's surface, starting from the lowest point on the earth's surface – the Dead Sea
Dead Sea
The Dead Sea , also called the Salt Sea, is a salt lake bordering Jordan to the east and Israel and the West Bank to the west. Its surface and shores are below sea level, the lowest elevation on the Earth's surface. The Dead Sea is deep, the deepest hypersaline lake in the world...

 – was by Phil and Pauline Sanderson in 2006.

Statistics


By the end of the 2010 climbing season, there had been 5,104 ascents to the summit by about 3,142 individuals. 80% of these ascents took place since 2000. In 2007, the record number of 633 ascents has been recorded, by 350 climbers and 253 sherpas
Sherpa people
The Sherpa are an ethnic group from the most mountainous region of Nepal, high in the Himalayas. Sherpas migrated from the Kham region in eastern Tibet to Nepal within the last 300–400 years.The initial mountainous migration from Tibet was a search for beyul...

.

A remarkable illustration of the explosion of popularity of Everest is provided by the numbers of daily ascents. As mentioned below, the 1996 disaster was partly blamed on the number of climbers (33 to 36) attempting to summit on the same day; this was considered unusually high at the time. By comparison, on May 23, 2010, the summit of Mount Everest was reached by 169 climbers.

Nearly all attempts at the summit are done using one of the two main routes. The traffic seen by each route varies from year to year. In 2005-07, more than half of all climbers elected to use the more challenging, but cheaper northeast route. In 2008, the northeast route was closed by the Chinese government for entire climbing season, and the only people able to reach the summit from the north that year were athletes responsible for carrying the Olympic torch
2008 Summer Olympics summit of Mt. Everest
The 2008 Summer Olympics summit of Mt. Everest was the special route of the torch relay as part of the 2008 Summer Olympics taking place in Mount Everest. Torchbearers reached Mt. Everest at 9.20 in the morning on May 8, in parallel with the Shenzhen route...

 for the 2008 Summer Olympics
2008 Summer Olympics
The 2008 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXIX Olympiad, was a major international multi-sport event that took place in Beijing, China, from August 8 to August 24, 2008. A total of 11,028 athletes from 204 National Olympic Committees competed in 28 sports and 302 events...

. The route was closed to foreigners once again in 2009 in the run-up to the 50th anniversary of the Dalai Lama's exile. These closures led to declining interest in the north route, and, in 2010, two thirds of the climbers reached the summit from the south.

There were 219 fatalities recorded on Mount Everest since the 1922 British Mount Everest Expedition through the end of 2010. 54 of these occurred after 2000: 33 on the northeast ridge, 17 on the southeast ridge, 2 on southwest face, and 2 on north face.

Cost and commercialization


Climbing Mount Everest is an expensive undertaking. Just the climbing gear required to reach the summit may cost in excess of US$8,000. Most climbers use bottled oxygen, which adds around $3,000 to the cost. The permit to enter the Everest area from the south via Nepal costs $10,000 to $25,000 per person, depending on the size of the team. The ascent typically starts in one of the two base camps near the mountain, both of which are approximately 100 km from Kathmandu and 300 km from Lhasa
Lhasa
Lhasa is the administrative capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region in the People's Republic of China and the second most populous city on the Tibetan Plateau, after Xining. At an altitude of , Lhasa is one of the highest cities in the world...

 (the two nearest cities with major airports); transferring one's equipment from the airport to the base camp may add as much as $2,000.

Beyond this point, costs may vary widely. It is technically possible to reach the summit with minimal additional expenses, and there are 'budget' travel agencies which offer logistical support for such trips. However, this is considered difficult and dangerous (as illustrated by the case of David Sharp). Many climbers hire "full service" guide companies, which provide a wide spectrum of services, including acquisition of permits, transportation to/from base camp, food, tents, fixed ropes, medical assistance while on the mountain, an experienced mountaineer guide, and even personal porters to carry one's backpack and cook one's meals. The cost of such a guide service may range from $40,000 to $80,000 per person. Since most equipment is moved by sherpas
Sherpa people
The Sherpa are an ethnic group from the most mountainous region of Nepal, high in the Himalayas. Sherpas migrated from the Kham region in eastern Tibet to Nepal within the last 300–400 years.The initial mountainous migration from Tibet was a search for beyul...

, clients of full-service guide companies can often keep their backpack weights under 10 kg, or hire a sherpa to carry their backpack for them. This can be contrasted with expeditions to less commercialized peaks (for example, climbers attempting Mount McKinley
Mount McKinley
Mount McKinley or Denali in Alaska, United States is the highest mountain peak in North America and the United States, with a summit elevation of above sea level. It is the centerpiece of Denali National Park and Preserve.- Geology and features :Mount McKinley is a granitic pluton...

 are often expected to carry 30+ kg backpacks and occasionally to tow a sled
Sled
A sled, sledge, or sleigh is a land vehicle with a smooth underside or possessing a separate body supported by two or more smooth, relatively narrow, longitudinal runners that travels by sliding across a surface. Most sleds are used on surfaces with low friction, such as snow or ice. In some cases,...

 with 35 kg of gear and food.)

According to Jon Krakauer
Jon Krakauer
Jon Krakauer is an American writer and mountaineer, primarily known for his writing about the outdoors and mountain-climbing...

, the era of commercialization of Everest started in 1985, when the summit was reached by a guided expedition led by David Breashears
David Breashears
David Breashears is an American mountaineer and filmmaker. In 1985, he became the first American to reach the summit of Mount Everest twice...

 that included Richard Bass
Richard Bass
Richard "Dick" Bass is the owner of Snowbird Ski Resort in Utah and the first man to climb the "Seven Summits," the tallest mountain on each continent. There is no relation with the Bass Family of Fort Worth, Texas.-Early life:...

, a wealthy 55 year old businessman and an amateur mountain climber with only 4 years of climbing experience. By the early 1990's, multiple companies were offering guided tours to the mountain. Rob Hall
Rob Hall
Rob Hall , a native of New Zealand, was a mountaineer best known for being head guide of a 1996 Mount Everest expedition in which he, a fellow guide, and two clients perished. A best-selling account of the expedition was given in Jon Krakauer's Into Thin Air...

, the mountaineer who died in the 1996 disaster, had successfully guided 39 clients to the summit prior to that incident.

The degree of commercialization of Mount Everest is a frequent subject of criticism. Jamling Tenzing Norgay
Jamling Tenzing Norgay
Jamling Tenzing Norgay is an Indian-Nepalese Sherpa mountain climber.He is the son of Tenzing Norgay and Daku, his third wife...

, the son of Tenzing Norgay
Tenzing Norgay
Padma Bhushan, Supradipta-Manyabara-Nepal-Tara Tenzing Norgay, GM born Namgyal Wangdi and often referred to as Sherpa Tenzing, was a Nepalese Sherpa mountaineer...

, said in a 2003 interview that his late father would have been shocked to discover that rich thrill-seekers with no climbing experience were now routinely reaching the summit:
Reinhold Messner
Reinhold Messner
Reinhold Messner is an Italian mountaineer and explorer from Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol "whose astonishing feats on Everest and on peaks throughout the world have earned him the status of the greatest climber in history." He is renowned for making the first solo ascent of Mount Everest without...

 concurred in 2004:
However, not all opinions on the subject among prominent mountaineers are strictly negative. For example, Edmund Hillary
Edmund Hillary
Sir Edmund Percival Hillary, KG, ONZ, KBE , was a New Zealand mountaineer, explorer and philanthropist. On 29 May 1953 at the age of 33, he and Sherpa mountaineer Tenzing Norgay became the first climbers known to have reached the summit of Mount Everest – see Timeline of climbing Mount Everest...

, who went on record saying that he hasn't liked "the commercialization of mountaineering, particularly of Mt. Everest" and claimed that "Having people pay $65,000 and then be led up the mountain by a couple of experienced guides ... isn't really mountaineering at all", nevertheless noted that he was pleased by the changes brought to Everest area by the Westerners:

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 m/26,246 ft), and face significant challenges to survival. Temperatures can dip to very low levels, resulting in frostbite
Frostbite
Frostbite is the medical condition where localized damage is caused to skin and other tissues due to extreme cold. Frostbite is most likely to happen in body parts farthest from the heart and those with large exposed areas...

 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, 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 km (1.07 miles) 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 28,000 feet 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
Partial pressure
In a mixture of ideal gases, each gas has a partial pressure which is the pressure which the gas would have if it alone occupied the volume. The total pressure of a gas mixture is the sum of the partial pressures of each individual gas in the mixture....

 of oxygen had direct effect on blood oxygen saturation levels. At sea level, blood oxygen saturation is generally 98% to 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 vastly 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. About 150 bodies have never been recovered. It is not uncommon to find corpses near the standard climbing routes.

Using bottled oxygen


Most expeditions use oxygen mask
Oxygen mask
An oxygen mask provides a method to transfer breathing oxygen gas from a storage tank to the lungs. Oxygen masks may cover the nose and mouth or the entire face...

s and tanks above 8,000 m (26,246 ft). Everest can be climbed without supplementary oxygen, but only by the most accomplished mountaineers and at increased risk. Humans do not think clearly with low oxygen, and the combination of extreme weather
Weather
Weather is the state of the atmosphere, to the degree that it is hot or cold, wet or dry, calm or stormy, clear or cloudy. Most weather phenomena occur in the troposphere, just below the stratosphere. Weather refers, generally, to day-to-day temperature and precipitation activity, whereas climate...

, low temperature
Temperature
Temperature is a physical property of matter that quantitatively expresses the common notions of hot and cold. Objects of low temperature are cold, while various degrees of higher temperatures are referred to as warm or hot...

s, and steep slopes often require quick, accurate decisions.

The use of bottled oxygen to ascend Mount Everest has been controversial. It was first used in 1922 by George Finch ("the other George") and Geoffrey Bruce who climbed up to 25500 ft (7,772.4 m) at a spectacular speed of 1000 vertical feet per hour. Pinned down by a fierce storm, they escaped death by breathing oxygen from a jury-rigged set-up during the night. The next day they climbed to 26500 ft (8,077.2 m) at 900 vf/h--nearly three times as fast as non-oxygen users. Yet the use of oxygen was considered so unsportsmanlike that none of the rest of the Alpine world recognized this high ascent rate. George Mallory himself described the use of such oxygen as unsportsmanlike, but he later concluded that it would be impossible for him to summit without it and consequently used it in his ill-fated attempt in 1924. When Tenzing
Tenzing Norgay
Padma Bhushan, Supradipta-Manyabara-Nepal-Tara Tenzing Norgay, GM born Namgyal Wangdi and often referred to as Sherpa Tenzing, was a Nepalese Sherpa mountaineer...

 and Hillary made the first successful summit in 1953, they used bottled oxygen. For the next twenty-five years, bottled oxygen was considered standard for any successful summit.

Reinhold Messner
Reinhold Messner
Reinhold Messner is an Italian mountaineer and explorer from Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol "whose astonishing feats on Everest and on peaks throughout the world have earned him the status of the greatest climber in history." He is renowned for making the first solo ascent of Mount Everest without...

 was the first climber to break the bottled oxygen tradition and in 1978, with Peter Habeler
Peter Habeler
Peter Habeler is an Austrian mountaineer. He was born in Mayrhofen, Austria.Among his accomplishments as a mountaineer are his first ascents in the Rocky Mountains. He was also the first European to climb on the Big Walls in Yosemite National Park.He began climbing with Reinhold Messner in 1969. ...

, made the first successful climb without it. Although critics alleged that he sucked mini-bottles of oxygen – a claim that Messner denied – Messner silenced them when he summited the mountain solo, without supplemental oxygen or any porters or climbing partners, on the more difficult northwest route, in 1980. Once the climbing community was satisfied that the mountain could be climbed without supplemental oxygen, many purists then took the next logical step of insisting that's how it should be climbed.

The aftermath of the 1996 disaster
1996 Everest Disaster
The 1996 Mount Everest disaster refers to the events of 10-11 May 1996, when eight people died on Mount Everest during summit attempts. In the entire season, fifteen people died trying to reach the summit, making it the deadliest single year in Mount Everest's history...

 further intensified the debate. Jon Krakauer
Jon Krakauer
Jon Krakauer is an American writer and mountaineer, primarily known for his writing about the outdoors and mountain-climbing...

's Into Thin Air
Into Thin Air
Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster is a 1997 bestselling non-fiction book written by Jon Krakauer. It details the author's presence at Mount Everest during the 1996 Mount Everest disaster when eight climbers were killed and several others were stranded by a 'rogue storm'...

(1997) expressed the author's personal criticisms of the use of bottled oxygen. Krakauer wrote that the use of bottled oxygen allowed otherwise unqualified climbers to attempt to summit, leading to dangerous situations and more deaths. The 10–11 May 1996
1996 Everest Disaster
The 1996 Mount Everest disaster refers to the events of 10-11 May 1996, when eight people died on Mount Everest during summit attempts. In the entire season, fifteen people died trying to reach the summit, making it the deadliest single year in Mount Everest's history...

 disaster was partially caused by the sheer number of climbers (34 on that day) attempting to ascend, causing bottlenecks at the Hillary Step and delaying many climbers, most of whom summitted after the usual 2 p.m. turnaround time. He proposed banning bottled oxygen except for emergency cases, arguing that this would both decrease the growing pollution on Everest—many bottles have accumulated on its slopes—and keep marginally qualified climbers off the mountain.

The 1996 disaster also introduced the issue of the guide's role in using bottled oxygen.
Guide Anatoli Boukreev
Anatoli Boukreev
Anatoli Nikoliavich Boukreev, , was a Kazakhstani climber who made ascents of seven of the 8,000 metre peaks without supplemental oxygen. In total he made 18 successful ascents on peaks above 8000 m . Boukreev was lost under an avalanche on Annapurna...

's decision not to use bottled oxygen was sharply criticized by Jon Krakauer. Boukreev's supporters (who include G. Weston DeWalt, who co-wrote The Climb
The Climb (book)
The Climb is an account by Russian mountaineer Anatoli Boukreev of the 1996 Everest Disaster, during which eight climbers lost their lives on Mount Everest. The co-author, G...

) state that using bottled oxygen gives a false sense of security. Krakauer and his supporters point out that, without bottled oxygen, Boukreev could not directly help his clients descend. They state that Boukreev said that he was going down with client Martin Adams, but just below the South Summit, Boukreev determines that Adams was doing fine on the descent and so descends at a faster pace, leaving Adams behind. Adams states in The Climb: "For me, it was business as usual, Anatoli's going by, and I had no problems with that."


Thefts and other crimes


Some climbers have reported life-threatening thefts from supply caches. Vitor Negrete
Vitor Negrete
Vitor Negrete was a prominent mountaineer and the first Brazilian to reach the summit of Mount Aconcagua, the highest peak outside Asia and one of the Seven Summits, from its south face....

, the first Brazilian to climb Everest without oxygen and part of David Sharp's party, died during his descent, and theft from his high-altitude camp may have contributed.

In addition to theft, the 2008 book High Crimes by Michael Kodas describes unethical guides and Sherpas, prostitution and gambling at the Tibet Base Camp, fraud related to the sale of oxygen bottles, and climbers collecting donations under the pretense of removing trash from the mountain.

Flora and fauna


Euophrys omnisuperstes
Euophrys omnisuperstes
Euophrys omnisuperstes is a small jumping spider that lives at elevations of up to 6,700 meters on Mount Everest, making it possibly the highest known permanent resident on earth. They are known to lurk in crevices among rocky debris...

, a minute black jumping spider
Jumping spider
The jumping spider family contains more than 500 described genera and about 5,000 described species, making it the largest family of spiders with about 13% of all species. Jumping spiders have some of the best vision among invertebrates and use it in courtship, hunting and navigation...

, has been found at elevations as high as 6700 metres (21,981.6 ft), possibly making it the highest confirmed non-microscopic permanent resident on Earth. It lurks in crevices and may feed on frozen insects that have been blown there by the wind. It should be noted that there is a high likelihood of microscopic life at even higher altitudes.
Bird
Bird
Birds are feathered, winged, bipedal, endothermic , egg-laying, vertebrate animals. Around 10,000 living species and 188 families makes them the most speciose class of tetrapod vertebrates. They inhabit ecosystems across the globe, from the Arctic to the Antarctic. Extant birds range in size from...

s, such as the Bar-headed Goose
Bar-headed Goose
The Bar-headed Goose is a goose which breeds in Central Asia in colonies of thousands near mountain lakes and winters in South Asia, as far south as peninsular India. It lays three to eight eggs at a time in a ground nest....

, have been seen flying at the higher altitudes of the mountain, while others, such as the Chough
Chough
The Red-billed Chough or Chough , Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax, is a bird in the crow family; it is one of only two species in the genus Pyrrhocorax...

, have been spotted as high as the South Col at 7920 metres (25,984.3 ft) scavenging on food, or even corpses, left by prior climbing expeditions.

Geology


Geologists have subdivided the rocks comprising Mount Everest into three units called "formations
Geologic formation
A formation or geological formation is the fundamental unit of lithostratigraphy. A formation consists of a certain number of rock strata that have a comparable lithology, facies or other similar properties...

". Each formation is separated from the other by low-angle faults, called “detachments
Detachment fault
Detachment faulting is associated with large-scale extensional tectonics. Detachment faults often have very large displacements and juxtapose unmetamorphosed hanging walls against medium to high-grade metamorphic footwalls that are called metamorphic core complexes...

”, along which they have been thrust over each other. From the summit of Mount Everest to its base these rock units are the Qomolangma Formation, the North Col
North Col
The North Col refers to a sharp-edged pass or col carved by glaciers connecting Mount Everest and Changtse in Tibet. It forms the head of the East Rongbuk Glacier....

 Formation, and the Rongbuk Formation.

From its summit to the top of the Yellow Band, about 8,600 m (28,000 ft) above sea level, the top of Mount Everest consists of the Qomolangma Formation, which has also been designated as either the Everest Formation or Jolmo Lungama Formation. It consists of grayish to dark gray or white, parallel laminated and bedded, Ordovician
Ordovician
The Ordovician is a geologic period and system, the second of six of the Paleozoic Era, and covers the time between 488.3±1.7 to 443.7±1.5 million years ago . It follows the Cambrian Period and is followed by the Silurian Period...

 limestone
Limestone
Limestone is a sedimentary rock composed largely of the minerals calcite and aragonite, which are different crystal forms of calcium carbonate . Many limestones are composed from skeletal fragments of marine organisms such as coral or foraminifera....

 inter layered with subordinate beds of recrystallized dolomite
Dolomite
Dolomite is a carbonate mineral composed of calcium magnesium carbonate CaMg2. The term is also used to describe the sedimentary carbonate rock dolostone....

 with argillaceous laminae and siltstone
Siltstone
Siltstone is a sedimentary rock which has a grain size in the silt range, finer than sandstone and coarser than claystones.- Description :As its name implies, it is primarily composed of silt sized particles, defined as grains 1/16 - 1/256 mm or 4 to 8 on the Krumbein phi scale...

. Gansser first reported finding microscopic fragments of crinoid
Crinoid
Crinoids are marine animals that make up the class Crinoidea of the echinoderms . Crinoidea comes from the Greek word krinon, "a lily", and eidos, "form". They live both in shallow water and in depths as great as 6,000 meters. Sea lilies refer to the crinoids which, in their adult form, are...

s in this limestone. Later petrographic analysis of samples of the limestone from near the summit revealed them to be composed of carbonate pellets and finely fragmented remains of trilobite
Trilobite
Trilobites are a well-known fossil group of extinct marine arthropods that form the class Trilobita. The first appearance of trilobites in the fossil record defines the base of the Atdabanian stage of the Early Cambrian period , and they flourished throughout the lower Paleozoic era before...

s, crinoids, and ostracods. Other samples were so badly sheared and recrystallized that their original constituents could not be determined. A thick, white-weathering thrombolite
Thrombolite
Thrombolites are clotted accretionary structures formed in shallow water by the trapping, binding, and cementation of sedimentary grains by biofilms of microorganisms, especially cyanobacteria . Stromatolites are similar but consist of layered accretions.-External links:*...

 bed that is 60 m (200 ft) thick comprises the foot of the "Third Step," and base of the summit pyramid of Everest. This bed, which crops out starting about 70 m (300 ft) below the summit of Mount Everest, consists of sediments trapped, bound, and cemented by the biofilms of microorganisms, especially cyanobacteria, in shallow marine waters. The Qomolangma Formation is broken up by several high-angle faults that terminate at the low angle thrust fault
Thrust fault
A thrust fault is a type of fault, or break in the Earth's crust across which there has been relative movement, in which rocks of lower stratigraphic position are pushed up and over higher strata. They are often recognized because they place older rocks above younger...

, the Qomolangma Detachment. This detachment separates it from the underlying Yellow Band. The lower five metres of the Qomolangma Formation overlying this detachment are very highly deformed.

The bulk of Mount Everest, between 7,000 and 8,600 m (23,000 and 28,200 ft), consists of the North Col
North Col
The North Col refers to a sharp-edged pass or col carved by glaciers connecting Mount Everest and Changtse in Tibet. It forms the head of the East Rongbuk Glacier....

 Formation, of which the Yellow Band forms its upper part between 8,200 to 8,600 m (26,900 to 28,200 ft). The Yellow Band consists of intercalated
Intercalation
Intercalation is the insertion of a leap day, week or month into some calendar years to make the calendar follow the seasons or moon phases. Lunisolar calendars may require intercalations of both days and months.- Solar calendars :...

 beds of Middle Cambrian
Cambrian
The Cambrian is the first geological period of the Paleozoic Era, lasting from Mya ; it is succeeded by the Ordovician. Its subdivisions, and indeed its base, are somewhat in flux. The period was established by Adam Sedgwick, who named it after Cambria, the Latin name for Wales, where Britain's...

 diopside
Diopside
Diopside is a monoclinic pyroxene mineral with composition MgCaSi2O6. It forms complete solid solution series with hedenbergite and augite, and partial solid solutions with orthopyroxene and pigeonite. It forms variably colored, but typically dull green crystals in the monoclinic prismatic class...

-epidote
Epidote
Epidote is a calcium aluminium iron sorosilicate mineral, Ca2Al2O, crystallizing in the monoclinic system. Well-developed crystals are of frequent occurrence: they are commonly prismatic in habit, the direction of elongation being perpendicular to the single plane of symmetry. The faces are often...

-bearing marble
Marble
Marble is a metamorphic rock composed of recrystallized carbonate minerals, most commonly calcite or dolomite.Geologists use the term "marble" to refer to metamorphosed limestone; however stonemasons use the term more broadly to encompass unmetamorphosed limestone.Marble is commonly used for...

, which weathers a distinctive yellowish brown, and muscovite
Muscovite
Muscovite is a phyllosilicate mineral of aluminium and potassium with formula KAl22, or 236. It has a highly-perfect basal cleavage yielding remarkably-thin laminæ which are often highly elastic...

-biotite
Biotite
Biotite is a common phyllosilicate mineral within the mica group, with the approximate chemical formula . More generally, it refers to the dark mica series, primarily a solid-solution series between the iron-endmember annite, and the magnesium-endmember phlogopite; more aluminous endmembers...

 phyllite
Phyllite
Phyllite is a type of foliated metamorphic rock primarily composed of quartz, sericite mica, and chlorite; the rock represents a gradation in the degree of metamorphism between slate and mica schist. Minute crystals of graphite, sericite, or chlorite impart a silky, sometimes golden sheen to the...

 and semischist
Schist
The schists constitute a group of medium-grade metamorphic rocks, chiefly notable for the preponderance of lamellar minerals such as micas, chlorite, talc, hornblende, graphite, and others. Quartz often occurs in drawn-out grains to such an extent that a particular form called quartz schist is...

. Petrographic analysis of marble collected from about 8,300 m (27,200 ft) found it to consist as much as five percent of the ghosts of recrystallized crinoid ossicles. The upper five metres of the Yellow Band lying adjacent to the Qomolangma Detachment is badly deformed. A 5–40 cm (2–16 in) thick fault breccia
Breccia
Breccia is a rock composed of broken fragments of minerals or rock cemented together by a fine-grained matrix, that can be either similar to or different from the composition of the fragments....

 separates it from the overlying Qomolangma Formation.

The remainder of the North Col Formation, exposed between 7,000 to 8,200 m (23,000 to 26,900 ft) on Mount Everest, consists of interlayered and deformed schist, phyllite, and minor marble. Between 7,600 and 8,200 m (24,900 and 26,900 ft), the North Col Formation consists chiefly of biotite-quartz phyllite and chlorite-biotite phyllite intercalated with minor amounts of biotite-sericite
Sericite
Sericite is a fine grained mica, similar to muscovite, illite, or paragonite. Sericite is a common alteration mineral of orthoclase or plagioclase feldspars in areas that have been subjected to hydrothermal alteration typically associated with copper, tin, or other hydrothermal ore deposits...

-quartz schist. Between 7,000 and 7,600 m (23,000 and 24,900 ft), the lower part of the North Col Formation consists of biotite-quartz schist intercalated with epidote-quartz schist, biotite-calcite-quartz schist, and thin layers of quartzose marble. These metamorphic rocks appear to be the result of the metamorphism of Middle to Early Cambrian deep sea flysch
Flysch
Flysch is a sequence of sedimentary rocks that is deposited in a deep marine facies in the foreland basin of a developing orogen. Flysch is typically deposited during an early stage of the orogenesis. When the orogen evolves the foreland basin becomes shallower and molasse is deposited on top of...

 composed of interbedded, mudstone
Mudstone
Mudstone is a fine grained sedimentary rock whose original constituents were clays or muds. Grain size is up to 0.0625 mm with individual grains too small to be distinguished without a microscope. With increased pressure over time the platey clay minerals may become aligned, with the...

, shale
Shale
Shale is a fine-grained, clastic sedimentary rock composed of mud that is a mix of flakes of clay minerals and tiny fragments of other minerals, especially quartz and calcite. The ratio of clay to other minerals is variable. Shale is characterized by breaks along thin laminae or parallel layering...

, clayey sandstone
Sandstone
Sandstone is a sedimentary rock composed mainly of sand-sized minerals or rock grains.Most sandstone is composed of quartz and/or feldspar because these are the most common minerals in the Earth's crust. Like sand, sandstone may be any colour, but the most common colours are tan, brown, yellow,...

, calcareous sandstone, graywacke, and sandy limestone. The base of the North Col Formation is a regional thrust fault called the "Lhotse detachment".

Below 7,000 m (23,000 ft), the Rongbuk Formation underlies the North Col Formation and forms the base of Mount Everest. It consists of sillminite-K-feldspar grade schist and gneiss
Gneiss
Gneiss is a common and widely distributed type of rock formed by high-grade regional metamorphic processes from pre-existing formations that were originally either igneous or sedimentary rocks.-Etymology:...

 intruded by numerous sills
Sill (geology)
In geology, a sill is a tabular sheet intrusion that has intruded between older layers of sedimentary rock, beds of volcanic lava or tuff, or even along the direction of foliation in metamorphic rock. The term sill is synonymous with concordant intrusive sheet...

 and dikes
Dike (geology)
A dike or dyke in geology is a type of sheet intrusion referring to any geologic body that cuts discordantly across* planar wall rock structures, such as bedding or foliation...

 of leucogranite
Granite
Granite is a common and widely occurring type of intrusive, felsic, igneous rock. Granite usually has a medium- to coarse-grained texture. Occasionally some individual crystals are larger than the groundmass, in which case the texture is known as porphyritic. A granitic rock with a porphyritic...

 ranging in thickness from 1 cm to 1,500 m (0.4 in to 4,900 ft).

Environment


Besides rubbish, the degradation on Himalayan peaks and other issues concerned Apa Sherpa. He said when he first started climbing Everest, the trail to the summit was covered with ice and snow. But it is now dotted with bare rocks. The melting ice has also exposed deep crevasses, making expeditions more dangerous.

See also


  • Earth Day 20 International Peace Climb
    Earth Day 20 International Peace Climb
    The Earth Day 20 International Peace Climb was an expedition to reach the summit of Mount Everest during Earth Week 1990 led by Jim Whittaker, the first American to climb Mount Everest , and marked the first time in history that mountaineers from the United States, Soviet Union and China had roped...

  • Everest Base Camp
    Everest Base Camp
    There are two base camps on opposite sides of Mount Everest. South Base Camp is in Nepal at an altitude of , and North Base Camp is in Tibet at ). These camps are rudimentary campsites on Mount Everest that are used by mountain climbers during their ascent and descent...

  • Geology of the Himalaya
    Geology of the Himalaya
    The geology of the Himalaya is a record of the most dramatic and visible creations of modern plate tectonic forces. The Himalayas, which stretch over 2400 km between the Namche Barwa syntaxis in Tibet and the Nanga Parbat syntaxis in Pakistan, are the result of an ongoing orogeny — the result...

  • Kangshung Face, Mount Everest
    Kangshung Face, Mount Everest
    The Kangshung Face is the East Face of Mount Everest, one of the Tibetan sides of the mountain. It is 3,350 metres from its base on the Kangshung Glacier to the summit. It is a broad face, topped on the right by the upper Northeast Ridge, and on the left by the Southeast Ridge and the South Col...

  • List of deaths on eight-thousanders
  • Sagarmatha National Park
    Sagarmatha National Park
    Sagarmāthā National Park is a protected area in the Himalayas of eastern Nepal containing the southern half of Mount Everest. The park was created on July 19, 1976 and was inscribed as a Natural World Heritage Site in 1979...

  • Timeline of climbing Mount Everest
    Timeline of climbing Mount Everest
    Mount Everest is the world's highest mountain, with a peak at 8,848 metres above sea level.- 1921: Reconnaissance expedition:The first British expedition – organized and financed by the newly formed Mount Everest Committee – came under the leadership of Colonel Ashton Rushton, with Kyle Carter as...



Further reading

  • Astill, Tony. Mount Everest : The Reconnaissance 1935, The Author, 2005.
  • American Alpine Journal, 2005, p. 393.
  • Hillary, Edmund
    Edmund Hillary
    Sir Edmund Percival Hillary, KG, ONZ, KBE , was a New Zealand mountaineer, explorer and philanthropist. On 29 May 1953 at the age of 33, he and Sherpa mountaineer Tenzing Norgay became the first climbers known to have reached the summit of Mount Everest – see Timeline of climbing Mount Everest...

    , High Adventure, London, Hodder & Stoughton, 1953.
  • Irving, R. L. G.
    Robert Lock Graham Irving
    Robert Lock Graham Irving , was an English schoolmaster, writer and mountaineer. As an author, he used the name R. L. G. Irving, while to his friends he was Graham Irving.-Life and family:...

    , Ten Great Mountains. London, J. M. Dent & Sons, 1940. (The climbing history up to 1939 of Snowdon
    Snowdon
    Snowdon is the highest mountain in Wales, at an altitude of above sea level, and the highest point in the British Isles outside Scotland. It is located in Snowdonia National Park in Gwynedd, and has been described as "probably the busiest mountain in Britain"...

    , Ben Nevis
    Ben Nevis
    Ben Nevis is the highest mountain in the British Isles. It is located at the western end of the Grampian Mountains in the Lochaber area of the Scottish Highlands, close to the town of Fort William....

    , Ushba
    Ushba
    Ushba is one of the most notable peaks of the Caucasus Mountains. It is located in the Svaneti region of Georgia, just south of the border with the Kabardino-Balkaria region of Russia. Although it does not rank in the 10 highest peaks of the range, Ushba is known as the "Matterhorn of the...

    , Mount Logan
    Mount Logan
    Mount Logan is the highest mountain in Canada and the second-highest peak in North America, after Mount McKinley . The mountain was named after Sir William Edmond Logan, a Canadian geologist and founder of the Geological Survey of Canada . Mount Logan is located within Kluane National Park and...

    , Everest, Nanga Parbat
    Nanga Parbat
    Nanga Parbat is the ninth highest mountain on Earth, the second highest mountain in Pakistan and among the eight-thousanders with a summit elevation of 8,126 meters...

    , Kanchenjunga
    Kangchenjunga
    Kangchenjunga is the third highest mountain of the world with an elevation of and located along the India-Nepal border in the Himalayas.Kangchenjunga is also the name of the section of the Himalayas and means "The Five Treasures of Snows", as it contains five peaks, four of them over...

    , the Matterhorn
    Matterhorn
    The Matterhorn , Monte Cervino or Mont Cervin , is a mountain in the Pennine Alps on the border between Switzerland and Italy. Its summit is 4,478 metres high, making it one of the highest peaks in the Alps. The four steep faces, rising above the surrounding glaciers, face the four compass points...

    , Aoraki/Mount Cook
    Aoraki/Mount Cook
    Aoraki / Mount Cook is the highest mountain in New Zealand, reaching .It lies in the Southern Alps, the mountain range which runs the length of the South Island. A popular tourist destination, it is also a favourite challenge for mountain climbers...

     and Mont Blanc
    Mont Blanc
    Mont Blanc or Monte Bianco , meaning "White Mountain", is the highest mountain in the Alps, Western Europe and the European Union. It rises above sea level and is ranked 11th in the world in topographic prominence...

    .)
  • Krakauer, Jon
    Jon Krakauer
    Jon Krakauer is an American writer and mountaineer, primarily known for his writing about the outdoors and mountain-climbing...

    , Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster, New York, Villard, 1997, ISBN 0-679-45752-6.
  • Messner, Reinhold
    Reinhold Messner
    Reinhold Messner is an Italian mountaineer and explorer from Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol "whose astonishing feats on Everest and on peaks throughout the world have earned him the status of the greatest climber in history." He is renowned for making the first solo ascent of Mount Everest without...

    . The Crystal Horizon : Everest--the first solo ascent, Seattle, The Mountaineers, 1989, ISBN 0898862078, ISBN 0898865743 (pbk).
  • Murray, W. H., The Story of Everest, 1921–1952, London, J. M. Dent & Sons, 1953.
  • Newby, Eric
    Eric Newby
    George Eric Newby CBE MC was an English travel author. Newby's best known works include A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush, The Last Grain Race, and Round Ireland in Low Gear.-Life:...

    , A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush, London, Hodder & Stoughton, 1958.
  • Norgay, Tenzing
    Tenzing Norgay
    Padma Bhushan, Supradipta-Manyabara-Nepal-Tara Tenzing Norgay, GM born Namgyal Wangdi and often referred to as Sherpa Tenzing, was a Nepalese Sherpa mountaineer...

     with Ullman, Ramsey James, Tiger of the Snows, New York, Putnam, 1955.
  • Tilman, H. W.
    Bill Tilman
    Major Harold William "Bill" Tilman, CBE, DSO, MC and Bar was an English mountaineer and explorer, renowned for his Himalayan climbs and sailing voyages.-Early years and Africa:...

    , Nepal Himalaya, Cambridge University Press, 1952.

External links