# Earth:Mount Everest

Short description: Earth's highest mountain, part of the Himalaya between Nepal and Tibet

Mount Everest
Mount Everest
Location on the border between Province No. 1, Nepal and Tibet Autonomous Region, China
Mount Everest
Mount Everest (Nepal)
Mount Everest
Mount Everest (Tibet)
Mount Everest
Mount Everest (China)
Mount Everest
Mount Everest (Asia)
Highest point
Elevation[note 2]
Ranked 1st
Prominence
Ranked 1st
(Notice special definition for Everest)
Isolationn/a
Coordinates[note 3]
Naming
EtymologySir George Everest
Native nameTemplate:Native name list  (language?)
English translationHoly Mother
Geography
LocationSolukhumbu District, Province No. 1, Nepal;[1]
Tingri County, Xigazê, Tibet Autonomous Region, China [note 1]
CountriesChina and Nepal
Parent rangeMahalangur Himal, Himalayas
Climbing
First ascent29 May 1953
Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay
Normal routeSoutheast ridge (Nepal)
Aerial photo from the south, with Mount Everest rising above the ridge connecting Nuptse and Lhotse
Everest and Lhotse from the south. In the foreground are Thamserku, Kangtega, and Ama Dablam
Mount Everest from 12,007 m

Mount Everest (Nepali: सगरमाथा, romanized: Sagarmāthā; Tibetan: Chomolungma ཇོ་མོ་གླང་མ; Chinese: 珠穆朗玛峰; pinyin: Zhūmùlǎngmǎ Fēng) is Earth's highest mountain above sea level, located in the Mahalangur Himal sub-range of the Himalayas. The China–Nepal border runs across its summit point.[2] Its elevation (snow height) of 8,848.86 m (29,031.7 ft) was most recently established in 2020 by the Chinese and Nepali authorities.[3]

Mount Everest attracts many climbers, including highly experienced mountaineers. There are two main climbing routes, one approaching the summit from the southeast in Nepal (known as the "standard route") and the other from the north in Tibet. While not posing substantial technical climbing challenges on the standard route, Everest presents dangers such as altitude sickness, weather, and wind, as well as hazards from avalanches and the Khumbu Icefall. (As of 2019), over 300 people have died on Everest,[4] many of whose bodies remain on the mountain.[5]

The first recorded efforts to reach Everest's summit were made by British mountaineers. As Nepal did not allow foreigners to enter the country at the time, the British made several attempts on the north ridge route from the Tibetan side. After the first reconnaissance expedition by the British in 1921 reached 7,000 m (22,970 ft) on the North Col, the 1922 expedition pushed the north ridge route up to 8,320 m (27,300 ft), marking the first time a human had climbed above 8,000 m (26,247 ft). The 1924 expedition resulted in one of the greatest mysteries on Everest to this day: George Mallory and Andrew Irvine made a final summit attempt on 8 June but never returned, sparking debate as to whether they were the first to reach the top. Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary made the first documented ascent of Everest in 1953, using the southeast ridge route. Norgay had reached 8,595 m (28,199 ft) the previous year as a member of the 1952 Swiss expedition. The Chinese mountaineering team of Wang Fuzhou, Gonpo, and Qu Yinhua made the first reported ascent of the peak from the north ridge on 25 May 1960.[6]

## Name

The name "Mount Everest" was first proposed in this 1856 speech, later published in 1857, in which the mountain was first confirmed as the world's highest

The Tibetan name for Everest is Qomolangma (ཇོ་མོ་གླང་མ, lit. "Holy Mother"). The name was first recorded with a Chinese transcription on the 1721 Kangxi Atlas during the reign of Emperor Kangxi of Qing China, and then appeared as Tchoumour Lancma on a 1733 map published in Paris by the French geographer D'Anville based on the former map.[7] It is also popularly romanised as Chomolungma and (in Wylie) as Jo-mo-glang-ma.[12] The official Chinese transcription is 珠穆朗玛峰 (t 珠穆朗瑪峰), whose pinyin form is Zhūmùlǎngmǎ Fēng. While other Chinese names exist, including Shèngmǔ Fēng (t 聖母峰, s 圣母峰, lit. "Holy Mother Peak"), these names largely phased out from May 1952 as the Ministry of Internal Affairs of China issued a decree to adopt 珠穆朗玛峰 as the sole name.[13] Documented local names include "Deodungha" ("Holy Mountain"), but it is unclear whether it is commonly used.[14]

In 1849, the British survey wanted to preserve local names if possible (e.g., Kangchenjunga and Dhaulagiri), and Andrew Waugh, the British Surveyor General of India argued that he could not find any commonly used local name, as his search for a local name was hampered by Nepal and Tibet's exclusion of foreigners. Waugh argued that because there were many local names, it would be difficult to favour one name over all others; he decided that Peak XV should be named after British surveyor Sir George Everest, his predecessor as Surveyor General of India.[15][16][17] Everest himself opposed the name suggested by Waugh and told the Royal Geographical Society in 1857 that "Everest" could not be written in Hindi 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.[15][18] The modern pronunciation of Everest (/ˈɛvərɪst/)[19] is different from Sir George's pronunciation of his surname (/ˈvrɪst/ EEV-rist).[20] In the late 19th century, many European cartographers incorrectly believed that a native name for the mountain was Gaurishankar, a mountain between Kathmandu and Everest.[21]

In the early 1960s, the Nepali government coined the Nepali name Sagarmāthā (IAST transcription) or Sagar-Matha[22] (सगर-माथा, Template:IPA-ne, lit. "goddess of the sky"[23]).[24] The Nepali name for Everest is Sagarmāthā (सगरमाथा) which means "the Head in the Great Blue Sky" derived from सगर (sagar) meaning "sky" and माथा (māthā) meaning "head" in the Nepali Language.

## Surveys

### 19th-century surveys

Location on Earth
Mount Everest relief map

In 1802, the British began the Great Trigonometric Survey of India to fix the locations, heights, and names of the world's highest mountains. Starting in southern India, the survey teams moved northward using giant theodolites, each weighing 500 kg (1,100 lb) and 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 due to suspicions of their intentions. Several requests by the surveyors to enter Nepal were denied.[15]

The British were forced to continue their observations from Terai, a region south of Nepal which is parallel to the Himalayas. Conditions in Terai were difficult because of torrential rains and malaria. Three survey officers died from malaria while two others had to retire because of failing health.[15]

Nonetheless, in 1847, the British continued the survey and began detailed observations of the Himalayan peaks from observation stations up to 240 km (150 mi) distant. Weather restricted work to the last three months of the year. In November 1847, Andrew Waugh, the British Surveyor General of India, made several observations from the Sawajpore station at the east end of the Himalayas. Kangchenjunga was then considered the highest peak in the world, and with interest, he noted a peak beyond it, about 230 km (140 mi) away. John Armstrong, one of Waugh's subordinates, also saw the peak from a site 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 his attempts.[15]

In 1849, Waugh dispatched James Nicolson to the area, who made two observations from Jirol, 190 km (120 mi) away. Nicolson then took the largest theodolite and headed east, obtaining over 30 observations from five different locations, with the closest being 174 km (108 mi) from the peak.[15]

Nicolson retreated to Patna on the Ganges to perform the necessary calculations based on his observations. His raw data gave an average height of 9,200 m (30,200 ft) for peak "b", but this did not consider light refraction, which distorts heights. However, the number clearly indicated that peak "b" was higher than Kangchenjunga. Nicolson contracted malaria and was forced to return home without finishing his calculations. Michael Hennessy, one of Waugh's assistants, had begun designating peaks based on Roman numerals, with Kangchenjunga named Peak IX. Peak "b" now became known as Peak XV.[15]

In 1852, stationed at the survey headquarters in Dehradun, Radhanath Sikdar, an Indian mathematician and surveyor from Bengal was the first to identify Everest as the world's highest peak, using trigonometric calculations based on Nicolson's measurements.[25] 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 numbers, 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. Kangchenjunga was declared to be 8,582 m (28,156 ft), while Peak XV was given the height of 8,840 m (29,002 ft). Waugh concluded that Peak XV was "most probably the highest in the world".[15] Peak XV (measured in feet) was calculated to be exactly 29,000 ft (8,839.2 m) high, but was publicly declared to be 29,002 ft (8,839.8 m) in order to avoid the impression that an exact height of 29,000 feet (8,839.2 m) was nothing more than a rounded estimate.[26] Waugh is sometimes playfully credited with being "the first person to put two feet on top of Mount Everest".[27]

### 20th-century surveys

Published by the Survey of Nepal, this is Map 50 of the 57 map set at 1:50,000 scale "attached to the main text on the First Joint Inspection Survey, 1979–80, Nepal-China border." At the top centre, a boundary line, identified as separating "China" and "Nepal", passes through the summit contour. The boundary here and for much of the China–Nepal border follows the main Himalayan watershed divide.
Kangshung Face (the east face) as seen from orbit

In 1856, Andrew Waugh announced Everest (then known as Peak XV) as 8,840 m (29,002 ft) high, after several years of calculations based on observations made by the Great Trigonometric Survey.[28] In 1955, the elevation of 8,848 m (29,029 ft) was first determined by an Indian survey, made closer to the mountain, also using theodolites. In 1975 it was subsequently reaffirmed by a Chinese measurement of 8,848.13 m (29,029.30 ft).[29] In both cases the snow cap, not the rock head, was measured. The 8,848 m (29,029 ft) height given was officially recognised by Nepal and China.[30] Nepal planned a new survey in 2019 to determine if the April 2015 Nepal earthquake affected the height of the mountain.[31]

In May 1999, an American Everest expedition directed by Bradford Washburn anchored a GPS unit into the highest bedrock. A rock head elevation of 8,850 m (29,035 ft), and a snow/ice elevation 1 m (3 ft) higher, were obtained via this device.[32] Although as of 2001, it has not been officially recognised by Nepal,[33] this figure is widely quoted. Geoid uncertainty casts doubt upon the accuracy claimed by both the 1999 and 2005 (see § 21st-century surveys) surveys.[34]

In 1955, a detailed photogrammetric map (at a scale of 1:50,000) of the Khumbu 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.

In the late 1980s, an even more detailed topographic map of the Everest area was made under the direction of Bradford Washburn, using extensive aerial photography.[35]

### 21st-century surveys

On 9 October 2005, after several months of measurement and calculation, the Chinese Academy of Sciences and State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping announced the height of Everest as 8,844.43 m (29,017.16 ft) with accuracy of ±0.21 m (8.3 in), claiming it was the most accurate and precise measurement to date.[36][37] This height is based on the highest point of rock and not the snow and ice covering it. The Chinese team measured a snow-ice depth of 3.5 m (11 ft),[29] which is in agreement with a net elevation of 8,848 m (29,029 ft). An argument arose between China and Nepal as to whether the official height should be the rock height (8,844 m, China) or the snow height (8,848 m, Nepal). In 2010, both sides agreed that the height of Everest is 8,848 m, and Nepal recognises China's claim that the rock height of Everest is 8,844 m.[38]

It is thought that the plate tectonics of the area are adding to the height and moving the summit northeastwards. Two accounts suggest the rates of change are 4 mm (0.16 in) per year vertically and 3 to 6 mm (0.12 to 0.24 in) per year horizontally,[32][39] but another account mentions more lateral movement (27 mm or 1.1 in),[40] and even shrinkage has been suggested.[41]

#### China—Nepal compromise

The actual height of the mountain had been disputed by Nepal and China, the two countries that share the mountain. On 8 December 2020, it was jointly announced by the two countries that the new official height is 8,848.86 metres (29,031.7 ft).[42][43] This was 86 cm (2.82 ft) higher than had been previously officially calculated. Chinese authorities had argued previously Everest should be measured to its rock height, while Nepali authorities asserted the snow on top of the summit should be included.[43]

### Comparisons

The summit of Everest is the point at which Earth's surface reaches the greatest distance above sea level. Several other mountains are sometimes claimed to be the "tallest mountains on Earth". Mauna Kea in Hawaii is tallest when measured from its base;[note 4] it rises over 10,200 m (33,464.6 ft) when measured from its base on the mid-ocean floor, but only attains 4,205 m (13,796 ft) above sea level.

By the same measure of base to summit, Denali, in Alaska, also known as Mount McKinley, is taller than Everest as well.[note 4] Despite its height above sea level of only 6,190 m (20,308 ft), Denali sits atop a sloping plain with elevations from 300 to 900 m (980 to 2,950 ft), yielding a height above base in the range of 5,300 to 5,900 m (17,400 to 19,400 ft); a commonly quoted figure is 5,600 m (18,400 ft).[44][45] By comparison, reasonable base elevations for Everest range from 4,200 m (13,800 ft) on the south side to 5,200 m (17,100 ft) on the Tibetan Plateau, yielding a height above base in the range of 3,650 to 4,650 m (11,980 to 15,260 ft).[35]

The summit of Chimborazo in Ecuador is 2,168 m (7,113 ft) farther from Earth's centre (6,384.4 km, 3,967.1 mi) than that of Everest (6,382.3 km, 3,965.8 mi), because the Earth bulges at the equator.[46] This is despite Chimborazo having a peak 6,268 m (20,564.3 ft) above sea level versus Mount Everest's 8,848 m (29,028.9 ft).

## Geology

Mount Everest with snow melted, showing upper geologic layers in bands.

Geologists have subdivided the rocks comprising Mount Everest into three units called formations.[47][48] Each formation is separated from the other by low-angle faults, called detachments, along which they have been thrust southward over each other. From the summit of Mount Everest to its base these rock units are the Qomolangma Formation, the North Col Formation, and the Rongbuk Formation.

The Qomolangma Formation, also known as the Jolmo Lungama Formation,[49] runs from the summit to the top of the Yellow Band, about 8,600 m (28,200 ft) above sea level. It consists of greyish to dark grey or white, parallel laminated and bedded, Ordovician limestone interlayered with subordinate beds of recrystallised dolomite with argillaceous laminae and siltstone. Gansser first reported finding microscopic fragments of crinoids in this limestone.[50][51] 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 trilobites, crinoids, and ostracods. Other samples were so badly sheared and recrystallised that their original constituents could not be determined. A thick, white-weathering thrombolite 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 (230 ft) below the summit of Mount Everest, consists of sediments trapped, bound, and cemented by the biofilms of micro-organisms, especially cyanobacteria, in shallow marine waters. The Qomolangma Formation is broken up by several high-angle faults that terminate at the low angle normal fault, 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.[47][48][52]

The bulk of Mount Everest, between 7,000 and 8,600 m (23,000 and 28,200 ft), consists of the North Col Formation, of which the Yellow Band forms the upper part between 8,200 to 8,600 m (26,900 to 28,200 ft). The Yellow Band consists of intercalated beds of Middle Cambrian diopside-epidote-bearing marble, which weathers a distinctive yellowish brown, and muscovite-biotite phyllite and semischist. Petrographic analysis of marble collected from about 8,300 m (27,200 ft) found it to consist as much as five per cent of the ghosts of recrystallised crinoid ossicles. The upper five metres of the Yellow Band lying adjacent to the Qomolangma Detachment is badly deformed. A 5–40 cm (2.0–15.7 in) thick fault breccia separates it from the overlying Qomolangma Formation.[47][48][52]

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-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 composed of interbedded, mudstone, shale, clayey sandstone, calcareous sandstone, graywacke, and sandy limestone. The base of the North Col Formation is a regional low-angle normal fault called the "Lhotse detachment".[47][48][52]

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 sillimanite-K-feldspar grade schist and gneiss intruded by numerous sills and dikes of leucogranite ranging in thickness from 1 cm to 1,500 m (0.4 in to 4,900 ft).[48][53] These leucogranites are part of a belt of Late Oligocene–Miocene intrusive rocks known as the Higher Himalayan leucogranite. They formed as the result of partial melting of Paleoproterozoic to Ordovician high-grade metasedimentary rocks of the Higher Himalayan Sequence about 20 to 24 million years ago during the subduction of the Indian Plate.[54]

Mount Everest consists of sedimentary and metamorphic rocks that have been faulted southward over continental crust composed of Archean granulites of the Indian Plate during the Cenozoic collision of India with Asia.[55][56][57] Current interpretations argue that the Qomolangma and North Col formations consist of marine sediments that accumulated within the continental shelf of the northern passive continental margin of India before it collided with Asia. The Cenozoic collision of India with Asia subsequently deformed and metamorphosed these strata as it thrust them southward and upward.[58][59] The Rongbuk Formation consists of a sequence of high-grade metamorphic and granitic rocks that were derived from the alteration of high-grade metasedimentary rocks. During the collision of India with Asia, these rocks were thrust downward and to the north as they were overridden by other strata; heated, metamorphosed, and partially melted at depths of over 15 to 20 kilometres (9.3 to 12.4 mi) below sea level; and then forced upward to surface by thrusting towards the south between two major detachments.[60] The Himalayas are rising by about 5 mm per year.

## Flora and fauna

A yak at around 4,790 m (15,715 ft)

There is very little native flora or fauna on Everest. A moss grows at 6,480 metres (21,260 ft) on Mount Everest.[61] It may be the highest altitude plant species.[61] An alpine cushion plant called Arenaria is known to grow below 5,500 metres (18,000 ft) in the region.[62] According to the study based on satellite data from 1993 to 2018, vegetation is expanding in the Everest region. Researchers have found plants in areas that were previously deemed bare.[63]

Euophrys omnisuperstes, a minute black jumping spider, has been found at elevations as high as 6,700 metres (22,000 ft), possibly making it the highest confirmed non-microscopic permanent resident on Earth. In the base camp of Everest the jumping spider Euophrys everestensis occurs.[64] It lurks in crevices and may feed on frozen insects that have been blown there by the wind. There is a high likelihood of microscopic life at even higher altitudes.[65]

Birds, such as the bar-headed goose, have been seen flying at the higher altitudes of the mountain, while others, such as the chough, have been spotted as high as the South Col at 7,920 metres (25,980 ft).[66] Yellow-billed choughs have been seen as high as 7,900 metres (26,000 ft) and bar-headed geese migrate over the Himalayas.[67] In 1953, George Lowe (part of the expedition of Tenzing and Hillary) said that he saw bar-headed geese flying over Everest's summit.[68]

Yaks are often used to haul gear for Mount Everest climbs. They can haul 100 kg (220 pounds), have thick fur and large lungs.[62] Other animals in the region include the Himalayan tahr which is sometimes eaten by the snow leopard.[69] The Himalayan black bear can be found up to about 4,300 metres (14,000 ft) and the red panda is also present in the region.[70] One expedition found a surprising range of species in the region including a pika and ten new species of ants.[71]

## Meteorology

Atmospheric pressure comparison Pressure Reference
kilopascal psi
Olympus Mons summit 0.03 0.0044
Mars average 0.6 0.087
Hellas Planitia bottom 1.16 0.168
Armstrong limit 6.25 0.906
Mount Everest summit 33.7 4.89 [72]
Earth sea level 101.3 14.69
Dead Sea level 106.7 15.48 [73]
Surface of Venus 9,200 1,330 [74]

In 2008, a new weather station at about 8,000 m (26,000 ft) elevation went online.[75] The station's first data in May 2008 were air temperature −17 °C (1 °F), relative humidity 41.3 per cent, atmospheric pressure 382.1 hPa (38.21 kPa), wind direction 262.8°, wind speed 12.8 m/s (28.6 mph, 46.1 km/h), global solar radiation 711.9 watts/m2, solar UVA radiation 30.4 W/m2.[75] The project was orchestrated by Stations at High Altitude for Research on the Environment (SHARE), which also placed the Mount Everest webcam in 2011.[75][76] The solar-powered weather station is on the South Col.[77]

Mount Everest extends into the upper troposphere and penetrates the stratosphere.[78] The air pressure at the summit is generally about one-third what it is at sea level. The altitude can expose the summit to the fast and freezing winds of the jet stream.[79] Winds commonly attain 160 km/h (100 mph);[80] in February 2004, a wind speed of 280 km/h (175 mph) was recorded at the summit.

These winds can hamper or endanger climbers, by blowing them into chasms[80] or (by Bernoulli's principle) by lowering the air pressure further, reducing available oxygen by up to 14 per cent.[79][81] To avoid the harshest winds, climbers typically aim for a 7- to 10-day window in the spring and fall when the Asian monsoon season is starting up or ending.

## Expeditions

Climbers below the Geneva Spur
Reunion of the 1953 British team

Because Mount Everest is the highest mountain in the world, it has attracted considerable attention and climbing attempts. Whether the mountain was climbed in ancient times is unknown. It may have been climbed in 1924, although this has never been confirmed, as neither of the men making the attempt returned. Several climbing routes have been established over several decades of climbing expeditions to the mountain.[82][83]

### Overview

Everest's first known summiting occurred by 1953, and interest by climbers increased.[84] Despite the effort and attention poured into expeditions, only about 200 people had summitted by 1987.[84] Everest remained a difficult climb for decades, even for serious attempts by professional climbers and large national expeditions, which were the norm until the commercial era began in the 1990s.[85]

By March 2012, Everest had been climbed 5,656 times with 223 deaths.[86] Although lower mountains have longer or steeper climbs, Everest is so high the jet stream can hit it. Climbers can be faced with winds beyond 320 km/h (200 mph) when the weather shifts.[87] At certain times of the year the jet stream shifts north, providing periods of relative calm at the mountain.[88] Other dangers include blizzards and avalanches.[88]

By 2013, The Himalayan Database recorded 6,871 summits by 4,042 different people.[89]

### Early attempts

In 1885, Clinton Thomas Dent, president of the Alpine Club, suggested that climbing Mount Everest was possible in his book Above the Snow Line.[90]

The northern approach to the mountain was discovered by George Mallory and Guy Bullock on the initial 1921 British Reconnaissance Expedition. 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 to an altitude of 7,005 metres (22,982 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. George Finch climbed using oxygen for the first time. He ascended at a remarkable speed—290 metres (951 ft) per hour, and reached an altitude of 8,320 m (27,300 ft), the first time a human reported to climb higher than 8,000 m. Mallory and Col. Felix Norton made a second unsuccessful attempt.

The next expedition was in 1924. The initial attempt by Mallory and Geoffrey Bruce was aborted when weather conditions prevented 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 8,550 m (28,050 ft), though he ascended only 30 m (98 ft) or so in the last hour. Mallory rustled up oxygen equipment for a last-ditch effort. He chose young Andrew Irvine as his partner[91]

1952 documentary

On 8 June 1924, George Mallory and Andrew Irvine 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 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 safe descent of Everest by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay in 1953.

In 1933, Lady Houston, a British millionairess, funded the Houston Everest Flight of 1933, which saw a formation of two aeroplanes led by the Marquess of Clydesdale fly over the Everest summit.[92][93][94][95]

Early expeditions—such as Charles Bruce's in the 1920s and Hugh Ruttledge's two unsuccessful attempts in 1933 and 1936—tried to ascend the mountain from Tibet, via the North Face. Access was closed from the north to Western expeditions in 1950 after China took control of Tibet. In 1950, Bill Tilman and a small party which included Charles Houston, 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.[96]

The 1952 Swiss Mount Everest Expedition, led by Edouard Wyss-Dunant, was granted permission to attempt a climb from Nepal. It established a route through the Khumbu icefall and ascended to the South Col at an elevation of 7,986 m (26,201 ft). Raymond Lambert and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay were able to reach an elevation of about 8,595 m (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.[97] One reference says that no attempt at an ascent of Everest was ever under consideration in this case,[98] although John Hunt (who met the team in Zurich on their return) wrote that when the Swiss Expedition "just failed" in the spring they decided to make another post-monsoon (summit ascent) attempt in the autumn; although as it was only decided in June the second party arrived too late, when winter winds were buffeting the mountain.[99]

### First successful ascent by Tenzing and Hillary, 1953

Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay

In 1953, a ninth British expedition, led by John Hunt, returned to Nepal. Hunt selected two climbing pairs to attempt to reach the summit. The first pair, Tom Bourdillon and Charles Evans, came within 100 m (330 ft) 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 oxygen caches were of great aid to the following pair. Two days later, the expedition made its second assault on the summit with the second climbing pair: the New Zealander Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, a Nepali Sherpa climber. They reached the summit at 11:30 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.[100] 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 on the morning of Queen Elizabeth II's coronation, 2 June. A few days later, the Queen gave orders that Hunt (a Briton) and Hillary (a New Zealander) were to be knighted in the Order of the British Empire for the ascent.[101] Tenzing, a Nepali Sherpa who was a citizen of India, was granted the George Medal by the UK. Hunt was ultimately made a life peer in Britain, while Hillary became a founding member of the Order of New Zealand.[102] Hillary and Tenzing have also been recognised in Nepal. In 2009, statues were raised in their honour, and in 2014, Hillary Peak and Tenzing Peak were named for them.[103][104]

### 1950s–1960s

On 23 May 1956, Ernst Schmied and Juerg Marmet ascended.[105] This was followed by Dölf Reist and Hans-Rudolf von Gunten on 24 May 1957.[105] Wang Fuzhou, Gonpo and Qu Yinhua of China made the first reported ascent of the peak from the North Ridge on 25 May 1960.[6] The first American to climb Everest, Jim Whittaker, joined by Nawang Gombu, reached the summit on 1 May 1963.[106][107]

### 1970s

In 1970, Japanese mountaineers conducted a major expedition. The centrepiece was a large "siege"-style expedition led by Saburo Matsukata, working on finding a new route up the southwest face.[108] Another element of the expedition was an attempt to ski Mount Everest.[85] Despite a staff of over one hundred people and a decade of planning work, the expedition suffered eight deaths and failed to summit via the planned routes.[85] However, Japanese expeditions did enjoy some successes. For example, Yuichiro Miura became the first man to ski down Everest from the South Col – he descended nearly 1,300 vertical metres (4,200 ft) from the South Col before falling with extreme injuries. Another success was an expedition that put four on the summit via the South Col route.[85][109][110] Miura's exploits became the subject of film, and he went on to become the oldest person to summit Mount Everest in 2003 at age 70 and again in 2013 at the age of 80.[111]

In 1975, Junko Tabei, a Japanese woman, became the first woman to summit Mount Everest.[85]

In 1978, Reinhold Messner and Peter Habeler made the first ascent of Everest without supplemental oxygen.

### 1979/1980: Winter Himalaism

Confirmation of the summit obtained by Nepal's Ministry of Tourism

The Polish climber Andrzej Zawada headed the first winter ascent of Mount Everest, the first winter ascent of an eight-thousander. The team of 20 Polish climbers and 4 Sherpas established a base camp on Khumbu Glacier in early January 1980. On 15 January, the team managed to set up Camp III at 7150 metres above sea level, but further action was stopped by hurricane-force winds. The weather improved after 11 February, when Leszek Cichy, Walenty Fiut and Krzysztof Wielicki set up camp IV on South Col (7906 m). Cichy and Wielicki started the final ascent at 6:50 am on 17 February. At 2:40 pm Andrzej Zawada at base camp heard the climbers' voices over the radio – "We are on the summit! The strong wind blows all the time. It is unimaginably cold."[112][113][114][115] The successful winter ascent of Mount Everest started a new decade of Winter Himalaism, which became a Polish specialisation. After 1980 Poles did ten first winter ascents on 8000 metre peaks, which earned Polish climbers a reputation of "Ice Warriors".[116][113][117][118]

### Lho La tragedy, 1989

In May 1989, Polish climbers under the leadership of Eugeniusz Chrobak organised an international expedition to Mount Everest on a difficult western ridge. Ten Poles and nine foreigners participated, but ultimately only the Poles remained in the attempt for the summit. On 24 May, Chrobak and Andrzej Marciniak, starting from camp V at 8,200 m, overcame the ridge and reached the summit. But on 27 May in the avalanche from the wall Khumbutse on the Lho La Pass, four Polish climbers were killed: Mirosław Dąsal, Mirosław Gardzielewski, Zygmunt Andrzej Heinrich and Wacław Otręba. The following day, due to his injuries, Chrobak also died. Marciniak, who was also injured, was saved by a rescue expedition in which Artur Hajzer and New Zealanders Gary Ball and Rob Hall took part. In the organisation of the rescue expedition they took part, inter alia Reinhold Messner, Elizabeth Hawley, Carlos Carsolio and the US consul.[119]

### 1996 disaster

On 10 and 11 May 1996, eight climbers died after several guided expeditions were caught in a blizzard high up on the mountain during a summit attempt on 10 May. During the 1996 season, 15 people died while climbing on Mount Everest. These were the highest death tolls for a single weather event, and for a single season, until the sixteen deaths in the 2014 Mount Everest avalanche. The guiding disaster gained wide publicity and raised questions about the commercialisation of climbing and the safety of guiding clients on Mount Everest.

Journalist Jon Krakauer, on assignment from Outside magazine, was in one of the affected guided parties, and afterward published the bestseller Into Thin Air, which related his experience. Krakauer was critical of guide Anatoli Boukreev in his recollection of the expedition.[120][121] A year later, Boukreev co-authored The Climb, in part as a rebuttal of Krakauer's portrayal.[122] The dispute sparked a debate within the climbing community. Boukreev was later awarded The American Alpine Club's David Sowles Award for his rescue efforts on the expedition.[121]

In May 2004, physicist Kent Moore and surgeon John L. Semple, both researchers from the University of Toronto, told New Scientist magazine that an analysis of weather conditions on 11 May suggested that weather caused oxygen levels to plunge about 14 per cent.[123][124]

One of the survivors was Beck Weathers, an American client of New Zealand–based guide service Adventure Consultants. Weathers was left for dead about 275 metres (900 feet) from Camp 4 at 7,950 metres (26,085 feet). After spending a night on the mountain, Weathers managed to make it back to Camp 4 with massive frostbite and vision impaired due to snow blindness.[125] When he arrived at Camp 4, fellow climbers considered his condition terminal and left him in a tent to die overnight.[126]

Weathers' condition had not improved and an immediate descent to a lower elevation was deemed essential.[126] A helicopter rescue was out of the question: Camp 4 was higher than the rated ceiling of any available helicopter. Weathers was lowered to Camp 2. Eventually, a helicopter rescue was organised thanks to the Nepali Army.[125][126]

The storm's impact on climbers on the North Ridge of Everest, where several climbers also died, was detailed in a first-hand account by British filmmaker and writer Matt Dickinson in his book The Other Side of Everest. Sixteen-year-old Mark Pfetzer was on the climb and wrote about it in his account, Within Reach: My Everest Story.

The 2015 feature film Everest, directed by Baltasar Kormákur, is based on the events of this guiding disaster.[127]

### 2006 mountaineering season

Small avalanche on Everest, 2006

In 2006, 12 people died. One death in particular (see below) triggered an international debate and years of discussion about climbing ethics.[131] The season was also remembered for the rescue of Lincoln Hall who had been left by his climbing team and declared dead, but was later discovered alive and survived being helped off the mountain.

#### David Sharp ethics controversy, 2006

There was an international controversy about the death of a solo British climber David Sharp, who attempted to climb Mount Everest in 2006 but died in his attempt. The story broke out of the mountaineering community into popular media, with a series of interviews, allegations, and critiques. The question was whether climbers that season had left a man to die and whether he could have been saved. He was said to have attempted to summit Mount Everest by himself with no Sherpa or guide and fewer oxygen bottles than considered normal.[132] He went with a low-budget Nepali guide firm that only provides support up to Base Camp, after which climbers go as a "loose group", offering a high degree of independence. The manager at Sharp's guide support said Sharp did not take enough oxygen for his summit attempt and did not have a Sherpa guide.[133] It is less clear who knew Sharp was in trouble, and if they did know, whether they were qualified or capable of helping him.[132]

Double-amputee climber Mark Inglis said in an interview with the press on 23 May 2006, that his climbing party, and many others, had passed Sharp, on 15 May, sheltering under a rock overhang 450 metres (1,480 ft) below the summit, without attempting a rescue.[134] Inglis said 40 people had passed by Sharp, but he might have been overlooked as climbers assumed Sharp was the corpse nicknamed "Green Boots",[135] but Inglis was not aware that Turkish climbers had tried to help Sharp despite being in the process of helping an injured woman down (a Turkish woman, Burçak Poçan). There has also been some discussion about Himex in the commentary on Inglis and Sharp. In regards to Inglis's initial comments, he later revised certain details because he had been interviewed while he was "...physically and mentally exhausted, and in a lot of pain. He had suffered severe frostbite – he later had five fingertips amputated." When they went through Sharp's possessions they found a receipt for US$7,490, believed to be the whole financial cost.[136] Comparatively, most expeditions are between$35,000 to US$100,000 plus an additional$20,000 in other expenses that range from gear to bonuses.[137] It was estimated on 14 May that Sharp summitted Mount Everest and began his descent down, but 15 May he was in trouble but being passed by climbers on their way up and down.[138] On 15 May 2006 it is believed he was suffering from hypoxia and was about 300 m (1,000 ft) from the summit on the North Side route.[138]

Dawa from Arun Treks also gave oxygen to David and tried to help him move, repeatedly, for perhaps an hour. But he could not get David to stand alone or even stand to rest on his shoulders, and crying, Dawa had to leave him too. Even with two Sherpas, it was not going to be possible to get David down the tricky sections below.

Jamie McGuiness[139]

Beck Weathers of the 1996 Mount Everest disaster said that those who are dying are often left behind and that he himself had been left for dead twice but was able to keep walking.[140] The Tribune of Chandigarh, India quoted someone who described what happened to Sharp as "the most shameful act in the history of mountaineering".[141] In addition to Sharp's death, at least nine other climbers perished that year, including multiple Sherpas working for various guiding companies.[142]

You are never on your own. There are climbers everywhere.

David Sharp[143]

Much of this controversy was captured by the Discovery Channel while filming the television program Everest: Beyond the Limit. A crucial decision affecting the fate of Sharp is shown in the program, where an early returning climber Lebanese adventurer Maxim Chaya is descending from the summit and radios to his base camp manager (Russell Brice) that he has found a frostbitten and unconscious climber in distress. Chaya 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 already calculated that they must abandon him, and informs his lone climber that there is no chance of him being able to help Sharp by himself. 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, 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.

David Sharp's body remained just below the summit on the Chinese side next to "Green Boots"; they shared a space in a small rock cave that was an ad hoc tomb for them.[138] Sharp's body was removed from the cave in 2007, according to the BBC,[144] and since 2014, Green Boots has been missing, presumably removed or buried.[145]

#### Lincoln Hall rescue, 2006

As the Sharp debate kicked off on 26 May 2006, Australian climber Lincoln Hall was found alive after being left for dead the day before.[146] 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. His team assumed he had died from cerebral edema, and they were instructed to cover him with rocks.[146] There were no rocks around to do this and he was abandoned.[147] The erroneous information of his death was passed on to his family. The next day he was discovered alive by another party.[147]

I was shocked to see a guy without gloves, hat, oxygen bottles or sleeping bag at sunrise at 28,200 feet [8,600 m] height, just sitting up there.
—Dan Mazur[147]

Lincoln greeted his fellow mountaineers with this:[147]

I imagine you are surprised to see me here.
—Lincoln Hall[147]

Lincoln Hall went on to live for several more years, often giving talks about his near-death experience and rescue, before dying from unrelated medical issues in 2012 at the age of 56 (born in 1955).[147]

### 2007

On 21 May 2007, Canadian climber Meagan McGrath initiated the successful high-altitude rescue of Nepali Usha Bista. Recognising this rescue, Major McGrath was selected as a 2011 recipient of the Sir Edmund Hillary Foundation of Canada Humanitarian Award, which recognises a Canadian who has personally or administratively contributed a significant service or act in the Himalayan Region of Nepal.[148]

### Ascent statistics up to 2010 season

Ascents of Mount Everest by year through 2010
The sun rising on Everest in 2011

By the end of the 2010 climbing season, there had been 5,104 ascents to the summit by about 3,142 individuals, with 77 per cent of these ascents being accomplished since 2000.[149] The summit was achieved in 7 of the 22 years from 1953 to 1974 and was not missed between 1975 and 2014.[149] In 2007, the record number of 633 ascents was recorded, by 350 climbers and 253 sherpas.[149]

An illustration of the explosion of popularity of Everest is provided by the numbers of daily ascents. Analysis of the 1996 Mount Everest disaster shows that part of the blame was on the bottleneck caused by a large number of climbers (33 to 36) attempting to summit on the same day; this was considered unusually high at the time. By comparison, on 23 May 2010, the summit of Mount Everest was reached by 169 climbers – more summits in a single day than in the cumulative 31 years from the first successful summit in 1953 through 1983.[149]

There have been 219 fatalities recorded on Mount Everest from the 1922 British Mount Everest Expedition through the end of 2010, a rate of 4.3 fatalities for every 100 summits (this is a general rate, and includes fatalities amongst support climbers, those who turned back before the peak, those who died en route to the peak and those who died while descending from the peak). Of the 219 fatalities, 58 (26.5 per cent) were climbers who had summited but did not complete their descent.[149] Though the rate of fatalities has decreased since the year 2000 (1.4 fatalities for every 100 summits, with 3938 summits since 2000), the significant increase in the total number of climbers still means 54 fatalities since 2000: 33 on the northeast ridge, 17 on the southeast ridge, 2 on the southwest face, and 2 on the north face.[149]

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 the 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 for the 2008 Summer Olympics.[150] The route was closed to foreigners once again in 2009 in the run-up to the 50th anniversary of the Dalai Lama's exile.[151] These closures led to declining interest in the north route, and, in 2010, two-thirds of the climbers reached the summit from the south.[149]

### 2010s

Selfie on the summit, 2012

The 2010s were a time of new highs and lows for the mountain, with back-to-back disasters in 2013 and 2014 causing record deaths. In 2015 there were no summits for the first time in decades. However, other years set records for numbers of summits – 2013's record number of summiters, around 667, was surpassed in 2018 with around 800 summiting the peak,[152] and a subsequent record was set in 2019 with over 890 summiters.[153]

Years in review summary
Year Summiters References
2010 543 [153]
2011 538 [153]
2012 547 [154]
2013 658–670 [155][153]
2014 106 [156]
2015 0 [157][153]
2016 641 [158]
2017 648 [159]
2018 807 [152][160]
2019 approx. 891 [153]

### 2014 avalanche and season

Mount Everest, 2014

On 18 April 2014, an avalanche hit the area just below the Base Camp 2 at around 01:00 UTC (06:30 local time) and at an elevation of about 5,900 metres (19,400 ft).[161] Sixteen people were killed in the avalanche (all Nepali guides) and nine more were injured.[162]

### 2005: Pilot summits with helicopter

Photo of a Eurocopter AS350 B3 "Squirrel"

In May 2005, pilot Didier Delsalle of France landed a Eurocopter AS350 B3 helicopter on the summit of Mount Everest.[324] He needed to land for two minutes to set the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) official record, but he stayed for about four minutes, twice.[324] In this type of landing the rotors stay engaged, which avoids relying on the snow to fully support the aircraft. The flight set rotorcraft world records, for highest of both landing and take-off.[325]

Some press reports suggested that the report of the summit landing was a misunderstanding of a South Col landing, but he had also landed on South Col two days earlier,[326] with this landing and the Everest records confirmed by the FAI.[325] Delsalle also rescued two Japanese climbers at 4,880 m (16,000 ft) while he was there. One climber noted that the new record meant a better chance of rescue.[324]

### 2011: Paraglide off summit

On 21 May 2011, Nepalis Lakpa Tsheri Sherpa and Sano Bapu Sunuwar paraglided from Everest's summit to Namche Bazaar in 42 minutes.[264][327] After the flight they hiked, biked, and kayaked to the Indian Ocean, reaching the Bay of Bengal by 27 June 2011, thereby becoming the first persons to complete a continuous summit-to-sea descent from Everest.[328] They accomplished the ground-breaking feat despite Bapu having never previously climbed, and Lakpa having never kayaked and not even knowing how to swim.[328] The duo subsequently won National Geographic Adventurers of the Year for 2012 for their exploits.[328] In 2013 footage of the flight was shown on the television news program Nightline.[329]

### 2014: Helicopter-assisted ascent

In 2014, a team financed and led by mountaineer Wang Jing used a helicopter to fly from South base camp to Camp 2 to avoid the Khumbu Icefall, and thence climbed to the Everest summit.[330] This climb immediately sparked outrage and controversy in much of the mountaineering world over the legitimacy and propriety of her climb.[164][331] Nepal ended up investigating Wang, who initially denied the claim that she had flown to Camp 2, admitting only that some support crew were flown to that higher camp, over the Khumbu Icefall.[332] In August 2014, however, she stated that she had flown to Camp 2 because the icefall was impassable. "If you don't fly to Camp II, you just go home," she said in an interview. In that same interview, she also insisted that she had never tried to hide this fact.[164]

Her team had had to use the south side because the Chinese had denied them a permit to climb. Ultimately, the Chinese refusal may have been beneficial to Nepal's interests, allowing the government to showcase improved local hospitals and provided the opportunity for a new hybrid aviation/mountaineering style, triggering discussions about helicopter use in the mountaineering world.[164] National Geographic noted that a village festooned Wang with honours after she donated US$30,000 to the town's hospital. Wang won the International Mountaineer of the Year Award from the Nepal government in June 2014.[330] ### 2016: Helicopter business increases In 2016 the increased use of helicopters was noted for increased efficiency and for hauling material over the deadly Khumbu icefall.[333] In particular it was noted that flights saved icefall porters 80 trips but still increased commercial activity at Everest.[333] After many Nepalis died in the icefall in 2014, the government had wanted helicopters to handle more transportation to Camp 1 but this was not possible because of the 2015 deaths and earthquake closing the mountain, so this was then implemented in 2016 (helicopters did prove instrumental in rescuing many people in 2015 though).[333] That summer Bell tested the 412EPI, which conducted a series of tests including hovering at 5,500 m (18,000 ft) and flying as high as 6,100 m (20,000 ft) altitude near Mount Everest.[334] ## Commercial climbing Top down view showing the location of the summit, and its three main faces/sides Everest base camp Gorak Shep is about a three-hour walk to South EBC (Everest Base Camp).[335] According to Jon Krakauer, the era of commercialisation of Everest started in 1985, when the summit was reached by a guided expedition led by David Breashears that included Richard Bass, a wealthy 55-year-old businessman and an amateur mountain climber with only four years of climbing experience.[336] By the early-1990s, several companies were offering guided tours to the mountain. Rob Hall, one of the mountaineers who died in the 1996 disaster, had successfully guided 39 clients to the summit before that incident.[23]:24,42 By 2016, most guiding services cost between US$35,000 and US$200,000.[337] Going with a "celebrity guide", usually a well-known mountaineer typically with decades of climbing experience and perhaps several Everest summits, can cost over £100,000 as of 2015.[338] However, the services offered vary widely and it is "buyer beware" when doing deals in Nepal, one of the poorest and least developed countries in the world.[337][339] Tourism contributed 7.9 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) in 2019[340] in a country with high unemployment,[341] but Everest is special in that an Everest porter can make nearly double the nation's average wage in a region in which other sources of income are lacking.[342] Costs beyond the guiding service can vary widely. It is technically possible to reach the summit with minimal additional expenses, and there are "budget" travel agencies that offer logistical support for such trips. A limited support service, offering only some meals at base camp and bureaucratic overhead like a permit, can cost as little as US$7,000 as of 2007.[136] However, this is considered difficult and dangerous (as illustrated by the case of David Sharp).

Climbing gear required to reach the summit may cost in excess of US$8,000, and most climbers also use bottled oxygen, which adds around US$3,000.[343] The permit to enter the Everest area from the south via Nepal costs US$10,000 to US$30,000 per person, depending on the size of the team.[343] The ascent typically starts at one of the two base camps near the mountain, both of which are approximately 100 kilometres (60 mi) from Kathmandu and 300 kilometres (190 mi) from Lhasa (the two nearest cities with major airports). Transferring one's equipment from the airport to the base camp may add as much as US$2,000.[343] Many climbers hire "full service" guide companies, which provide a wide spectrum of services, including the acquisition of permits, transportation to/from base camp, food, tents, fixed ropes,[344] 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 US$40,000 to $80,000 per person.[345] Since most equipment is moved by Sherpas, clients of full-service guide companies can often keep their backpack weights under 10 kilograms (22 lb), or hire a Sherpa to carry their backpack for them. By contrast, climbers attempting less commercialised peaks, like Denali, are often expected to carry backpacks over 30 kilograms (66 lb) and, occasionally, to tow a sled with 35 kilograms (77 lb) of gear and food.[346] The degree of commercialisation of Mount Everest is a frequent subject of criticism.[347] Jamling Tenzing Norgay, the son of Tenzing Norgay, 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, "You still have to climb this mountain yourself with your feet. But the spirit of adventure is not there any more. It is lost. There are people going up there who have no idea how to put on crampons. They are climbing because they have paid someone$65,000. It is very selfish. It endangers the lives of others."[348]

One example of this is Shriya Shah-Klorfine, who had to be taught how to put on crampons during her summit attempt in 2012.[349] She paid at least US$40,000 to a new guiding company for the trip, and lost her life when she ran out of oxygen during the descent after climbing for 27 hours straight.[350] Reinhold Messner concurred in 2004, "You could die in each climb and that meant you were responsible for yourself. We were real mountaineers: careful, aware and even afraid. By climbing mountains we were not learning how big we were. We were finding out how breakable, how weak and how full of fear we are. You can only get this if you expose yourself to high danger. I have always said that a mountain without danger is not a mountain....High altitude alpinism has become tourism and show. These commercial trips to Everest, they are still dangerous. But the guides and organisers tell clients, 'Don't worry, it's all organised.' The route is prepared by hundreds of Sherpas. Extra oxygen is available in all camps, right up to the summit. People will cook for you and lay out your beds. Clients feel safe and don't care about the risks."[351] By 2015, Nepal was considering to require that climbers have some experience and wanted to make the mountain safer, and especially increase revenue.[352] One barrier to this is that low-budget firms make money not taking inexperienced climbers to the summit.[337] Those turned away by Western firms can often find another firm willing to take them for a price — that they return home soon after arriving after base camp, or part way up the mountain.[337] Whereas a Western firm will convince those they deem incapable to turn back, other firms simply give people the freedom to choose.[337] However, not all opinions on the subject among prominent mountaineers have been strictly negative. For example, Edmund Hillary stated in 2003 that while "Having people pay$65,000 and then be led up the mountain by a couple of experienced guides...isn't really mountaineering at all",[353] he was pleased by the changes brought to Everest area by Westerners, "I don't have any regrets because I worked very hard indeed to improve the condition for the local people. When we first went in there they didn't have any schools, they didn't have any medical facilities, all over the years we have established 27 schools, we have two hospitals and a dozen medical clinics and then we've built bridges over wild mountain rivers and put in fresh water pipelines so in cooperation with the Sherpas we've done a lot to benefit them."[354]

One of the early guided summiters, Richard Bass (of Seven Summits fame) stated in 2003 that "Climbers should have high altitude experience before they attempt the really big mountains. People don't realise the difference between a 20,000-foot [6,100 m] mountain and 29,000-foot [8,800 m]. It's not just arithmetic. The reduction of oxygen in the air is proportionate to the altitude alright, but the effect on the human body is disproportionate—an exponential curve. People climb Denali [6,190 m or 20,320 ft] or Aconcagua [6,960 m or 22,834 ft] and think, 'Heck, I feel great up here, I'm going to try Everest.' But it's not like that."[355]

### Thefts and crime

The Tibetan/Chinese side has been described as "out of control" due to reports of thefts and threats.[356]

Some climbers have reported life-threatening thefts from supply caches. Vitor Negrete, the first Brazilian to climb Everest without oxygen and part of David Sharp's party, died during his descent, and theft of gear and food from his high-altitude camp may have contributed.[357][358]

"Several members were bullied, gear was stolen, and threats were made against me and my climbing partner, Michael Kodas, making an already stressful situation even more dire", said one climber.[359]

In addition to theft, Michael Kodas describes in his book, High Crimes: The Fate of Everest in an Age of Greed (2008):[360] 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.[361][362]

The Chinese side of Everest in Tibet was described as "out of control" after one Canadian had all his gear stolen and was abandoned by his Sherpa.[356] Another Sherpa helped the victim get off the mountain safely and gave him some spare gear. Other climbers have also reported missing oxygen bottles, which can be worth hundreds of dollars each. Hundreds of climbers pass by people's tents, making it hard to safeguard against theft.[356] In the late 2010s, the reports of theft of oxygen bottles from camps became more common.[363]

## 2014 Sherpa strike

On 18 April 2014, in one of the worst disasters to ever hit the Everest climbing community up to that time, 16 Sherpas died in Nepal due to the avalanche that swept them off Mount Everest. In response to the tragedy, numerous Sherpa climbing guides walked off the job and most climbing companies pulled out in respect for the Sherpa people mourning the loss.[364][365] Some still wanted to climb but there was too much controversy to continue that year.[364] One of the issues that triggered the work action by Sherpas was unreasonable client demands during climbs.[364]

## Extreme sports at Mount Everest

A paraglider at Neustift, Tirol, Austria

Mount Everest has been host to other winter sports and adventuring besides mountaineering, including snowboarding, skiing, paragliding, and BASE jumping.

Yuichiro Miura became the first man to ski down Everest in the 1970s. He descended nearly 1,300 vertical metres (4,200 ft) from the South Col before falling with extreme injuries.[85] Stefan Gatt and Marco Siffredi snowboarded Mount Everest in 2001.[366] Other Everest skiers include Davo Karničar of Slovenia, who completed a top to south base camp descent in 2000, Hans Kammerlander of Italy in 1996 on the north side,[367] and Kit DesLauriers of the United States in 2006.[368] In 2006 Swede Tomas Olsson and Norwegian Tormod Granheim skied together down the north face. Olsson's anchor broke while they were rappelling down a cliff in the Norton couloir at about 8,500 metres, resulting in his death from a two and a half-kilometre fall. Granheim skied down to camp III.[369] Also, Marco Siffredi died in 2002 on his second snow-boarding expedition.[366]

Various types of gliding descents have slowly become more popular, and are noted for their rapid descents to lower camps. In 1986 Steve McKinney led an expedition to Mount Everest,[370] during which he became the first person to fly a hang-glider off the mountain.[319] Frenchman Jean-Marc Boivin made the first paraglider descent of Everest in September 1988, descending in minutes from the south-east ridge to a lower camp.[294] In 2011, two Nepalis made a gliding descent from the Everest summit down 5,000 metres (16,400 ft) in 45 minutes.[371] On 5 May 2013, the beverage company Red Bull sponsored Valery Rozov, who successfully BASE jumped off of the mountain while wearing a wingsuit, setting a record for world's highest BASE jump in the process.[259][372]

## Everest and religion

The Rongphu Monastery, with Mount Everest in the background

The southern part of Mount Everest is regarded as one of several "hidden valleys" of refuge designated by Padmasambhava, a ninth-century "lotus-born" Buddhist saint.[373]

Near the base of the north side of Everest lies Rongbuk Monastery, which has been called the "sacred threshold to Mount Everest, with the most dramatic views of the world."[374] For Sherpas living on the slopes of Everest in the Khumbu region of Nepal, Rongbuk Monastery is an important pilgrimage site, accessed in a few days of travel across the Himalayas through Nangpa La.[100]

Miyolangsangma, a Tibetan Buddhist "Goddess of Inexhaustible Giving", is believed to have lived at the top of Mount Everest. According to Sherpa Buddhist monks, Mount Everest is Miyolangsangma's palace and playground, and all climbers are only partially welcome guests, having arrived without invitation.[373]

The Sherpa people also believe that Mount Everest and its flanks are blessed with spiritual energy, and one should show reverence when passing through this sacred landscape. Here, the karmic effects of one's actions are magnified, and impure thoughts are best avoided.[373]

## Waste management

In 2015, the president of the Nepal Mountaineering Association warned that pollution, especially human waste, has reached critical levels. As much as 12,000 kg (26,500 lb) of human excrement each season is left behind on the mountain.[375] Human waste is strewn across the verges of the route to the summit, making the four sleeping areas on the route up Everest's south side minefields of human excrement. Climbers above Base Camp—for the 62-year history of climbing on the mountain—have most commonly either buried their excrement in holes they dug by hand in the snow, or slung it into crevasses, or simply defecated wherever convenient, often within metres of their tents. The only place where climbers can defecate without worrying about contaminating the mountain is Base Camp. At approximately 5,500 m (18,000 ft), Base Camp sees the most activity of all camps on Everest because climbers acclimate and rest there. In the late-1990s, expeditions began using toilets that they fashioned from blue plastic 190-litre (50-US-gallon) barrels fitted with a toilet seat and enclosed.[376]

The problem of human waste is compounded by the presence of more anodyne waste: spent oxygen tanks, abandoned tents, empty cans and bottles. The Nepali government now requires each climber to pack out eight kilograms of waste when descending the mountain.[377]

In February 2019, due to the mounting waste problem, China closed the base camp on its side of Everest to visitors without climbing permits. Tourists are allowed to go as far as the Rongbuk Monastery.[378]

In April 2019, the Solukhumbu district's Khumbu Pasanglhamu Rural Municipality launched a campaign to collect nearly 10,000 kg of garbage from Everest.[379]

## Climate Change

Due to global warming, the base camp located in Khumbu glacier is rapidly thinning causing destabilization of the glacier making it unsafe for climbers. As recommended by the committee formed by Nepal's government to facilitate and monitor mountaineering in the Everest region, Taranath Adhikari the director general of Nepal's tourism department said they have plans of moving the base camp to a lower altitude. This means longer distance for climbers from base camp to camp one. However, the present base camp is still useful and could still serve its purpose for three to four years. The plans of moving may happen by 2024, as per officials.[380]

## Climate

Mount Everest has a polar climate (Köppen EF) with all months averaging well below freezing.[note 5]

Script error: No such module "weather box".

## Names

1890 graphic with the Himalayas, including Gaurisankar (Mount Everest) in the distance
• Peak XV (British Empire's Survey)[15][16][17]
• Romanised Tibetan name: "Chomolongma"[8][9][10][11]
• Romanised Chinese name: "Mount Qomolangma"[382]
• Romanised Nepali name: "Sagar-Matha"[22] (usually Sagarmatha)
• Old Darjeeling name: "Deodungha"[383]
• Mount Everest[15]
• "Gauri Shankar" or "Gaurisankar"; in modern times the name is used for a different peak about 30 miles away, but was used occasionally until about 1900[384]

## Context and maps

3D rendering of Mount Everest and surrounding terrain

Nearby peaks include Lhotse, 8,516 m (27,940 ft); Nuptse, 7,855 m (25,771 ft), and Changtse, 7,580 m (24,870 ft) among others. Another nearby peak is Khumbutse, and many of the highest mountains in the world are near Mount Everest. On the southwest side, a major feature in the lower areas is the Khumbu icefall and glacier, an obstacle to climbers on those routes but also to the base camps.

• Chinese plan for a rail tunnel under Mount Everest
• Everesting
• List of elevation extremes by country
• List of Mount Everest summiters by number of times to the summit
• List of ski descents of Eight-Thousanders
• List of tallest mountains in the Solar System
• Mount Everest in popular culture
• Mukhiyapatti Musharniya, the lowest point of Nepal
• Qomolangma National Park
• Sagarmatha National Park
• Timeline of Mount Everest expeditions

## Notes

1. The position of the summit of Everest on the international border is clearly shown on detailed topographic mapping, including official Nepali mapping.
2. Based on the 2020 surveys of elevation of snow cap, not rock head. For more details, see Surveys.
3. The WGS84 coordinates given here were calculated using detailed topographic mapping and are in agreement with adventurestats. They are unlikely to be in error by more than 2". Coordinates showing Everest to be more than a minute further east that appeared on this page until recently, and still appear in Wikipedia in several other languages, are incorrect.
4. The "base" of a mountain is a problematic notion in general with no universally accepted definition. However, for a peak rising out of relatively flat terrain, such as Mauna Kea or Denali, an "approximate" height above "base" can be calculated. Everest is more complicated since it only rises above relatively flat terrain on its north (Tibetan Plateau) side. Hence the concept of "base" has even less meaning for Everest than for Mauna Kea or Denali, and the range of numbers for "height above base" is wider. In general, comparisons based on "height above base" are somewhat suspect.
5. In the table below, the temperature given is the average lowest temperature recorded in that month. So, in an average year, the lowest recorded July temperature will be −18 degrees Celsius, and the lowest recorded January temperature will be -36 degrees Celsius.

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