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The Highest Mountain in the World

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Mt. Everest- the highest mountain in the world. It's in the middle of Mt. Nuptse on the left and Mt. Lhotse on the right.
Mt. Everest- the highest mountain in the world. It’s in the middle of Mt. Nuptse on the left and Mt. Lhotse on the right.

Suppose you were to ask anyone to name the highest mountain in the world. Mosts answer would most likely be “Mount Everest.” This answer comes out of nearly everyone as a reflex action. Mount Everest is the tallest point on Earth, rising to 8,848.86 m ((29,031.7 ft). The mountain is between Nepal and Tibet. This peak is in the Himalayan Mountains range and is called Mount Everest because of George Everest. He was a former Surveyor General of India. 

The first person to climb Mount Everest

Finally, in 1953, Edmund Hillary reached the top of the highest mountain in Nepal, becoming the first recorded human to do so. His Nepali guide, Tenzing Norgay, stood beside him as they reached the top of the tallest mountain. This momentous achievement ended decades of attempts by climbers from all over the world to conquer Everest.

But the first record of the highest mountain on Earth came much earlier, in 1856. After it, British surveyors recorded Everest as having the tallest peak worldwide. This record is evident in the Great Trigonometrical Survey of the Indian subcontinent.

The Sherpas of the most extensive mountain range in the world

The Himalayan mountains, situated in the most extensive mountain range on Earth, have been home to indigenous groups for centuries. Among the most famous indigenous group are the Sherpa people. Therefore, the word “Sherpa” has become synonymous with a mountain guide, though it indicates an ethnic group. The Sherpa possesses invaluable experience in mountain climbing, with which they can help the other climbers. 

Most climbs of the world’s tallest mountains would be unimaginable without the Sherpas’ logistical help and expertise. However, their way of life extends far beyond helping Everest climbers achieve their goals. Sherpas have constantly lived at a high altitude and have grown accustomed to low oxygen levels; the traditional lifestyle of the Sherpa people consists of farming, herding, and trade.

To rise to the tallest mountain in the world, Nepal’s Everest has become a popular undertaking for thrill-seeking mountain climbers. In other words, this expedition is by no means a walk in the park.

 It is fraught with danger from avalanches caused by the snow and ice on the mountain. Also, treacherous weather conditions limit the climbing season. And perhaps the most deadly hazard of all is altitude sickness. To attempt to climb Everest without proper experience in mountaineering, without certified equipment, and without a trained Nepalese guide would be suicide.

Most climbers come to the death zone of the highest mountain in the world. An area above 26,000 feet has high altitude and low oxygen levels. Lack of oxygen is the reason why they rely on bottled oxygen. However, even with this safety measure, many climbers still develop altitude sickness and other issues.

Climbing routes

It was 1921 when George Mallory first charted the northern approach to Mount Everest. The British Reconnaissance Expedition was merely an exploratory mission, not intended to summit the mountain. But Mallory was a man with ambition- perhaps even obsession- to be the first person to stand atop Everest. So once he said that he wanted to climb the mountain “Because it’s there.” 

The highest mountain in Nepal has two main climbing routes; one is the southeast ridge, which is accessible from Nepal. And the other one is the north ridge which is accessible from Tibet. Moreover, the north ridge route is shorter than the other one. Today, however, most climbers use the longer southeast ridge route, which is technically easier. In short, this is because Nepal offers more support to climbers than Tibet.

Mallory and his partners Brits Geoffrey BruceCharles Granville Bruce, and George Finch attempted to climb for the first time using oxygen in 1922. However, they could not complete their expedition due to an avalanche.

In June 1924, Mallory and Irvine’s quest for the top ended in tragedy, with their bodies trapped in the mountain. But as the years passed and the ice began to melt. The deceased’s loved ones finally received closure after they saw the remains. Unfortunately, with climate change causing more melting each year, we don’t know how many other climbers’ bodies we will see. The highest mountain in the world has claimed many lives over the years. And climate change will only add to that number.

History of attempts to summit the tallest mountain in Nepal

In the 1920s and 1930s, early expeditions attempted to make the climb the highest mountain in the world. This attempt came from the Tibetan side. However, it was inaccessible after Tibet officially came under the rule of the Chinese in 1951. This act prompted English explorer Bill Tilman and a small alliance that included Americans like Charles Houston and Betsy Cowles to approach the highest mountain in the world through Nepal along the route that has become the conventional approach to Everest from the south.

In 1952, a Swiss expedition led by Edouard Wyss-Dunant reached an unprecedented height of 28,199 feet (8,595m) on the southeast ridge. It was shattering the previous climbing altitude record. Tenzing Norgay, a member of the expedition and Nepalese crews, also took part in the British tour the following year.

On May 29, 1953, a British expedition started by John Hunt returned to Nepal with the sole purpose of summiting Mount Everest. Hunt selected two climbing pairs to attempt the summit; the first pair – Tom Bourdillon and Charles Evans- reached their goal of 300 feet (91m) but had to turn back due to oxygen problems. Two short days later, the second pair – New Zealand mountaineers Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay – reached the peak. Before beginning their descent, they took pictures and left some sweets and a cross at the top to document their achievement. Wylie reported on the events in 1954.

Mt. Everest - the highest mountain in the world
Mt. Everest – the highest mountain in the world, the view as seen from Gokyo Valley

Is it still difficult to climb the tallest mountain in Nepal with technological advancement? 

The highest mountain in the world is quickly becoming more dangerous to the summit. A recent research study recorded in the journal NPJ Climate and Atmospheric Science indicates that in the highest mountain in the world, glaciers are melting rapidly because of climate change, resulting in more frequent avalanches. 

The South Col Glacier, the world’s highest glacier, has thinned by more than 180 feet during the last 25 years, as reported by Live Science. However, warmer temperatures resulting in ice loss have made it easier for hikers to climb the highest mountain in the world.

However, technology has not made climbing any safer. Alan Arnette, the mountaineer, said that supplemental oxygen is easier to obtain nowadays. Still, if you find yourself helpless in the snow,” at a minimum, they will get you out with a helicopter.

Official Measurement of the tallest peak in the world

For years, the world wondered just how high the highest mountain in the world, Everest, was. However, this idea changed in 1856 when the University of Montana Department of Geography (UM) got involved. The Great Trigonometric Survey of British India finally determined the mountain’s height, referred to as Peak XV at the time.

 It came in at 29,002 feet (8,840 m). But UM notes that the surveyors were at a disadvantage because Nepal did not grant them entry out of fear that their country might get invaded or annexed.

Even though we think we have its exact Measurement, Everest’s height is constantly changing due to the mountain growing from the tectonic-plate activity and “shrinking” from sea level rise. So who knows how tall the world’s tallest mountain will be in 100 years?

Who suggested the name of the highest peak in the world:

In 1865, Andrew Waugh made a fantastic suggestion- that the highest mountain in the world should have a name after his predecessor in the job, who was none other than Sir George Everest, as mentioned in a study published in 1931.

The Tibetans have called the mountain “Chomolungma,” or Holy Mother, for centuries. However, Waugh was unaware of this because Nepal and Tibet were close to outsiders.

Who visits the highest mountain in Nepal? 

Experienced mountaineers and less-seasoned climbers from across the world travel to Mount Everest to test their skills. They typically enlist local guides belonging to the Sherpa people, a Tibetan ethnic group known widely for their knowledge of the most extended mountain range in the world and their skill in climbing. However, rising more than 11,000 feet from base camp to the top in a low-oxygen environment takes work.

Survival of plants and animals in the rough conditions of Everest

At such a high altitude of the highest mountain in the World, Everest, No known vascular plants can survive the extreme conditions above 21,260 feet on Mount Everest, the most extensive mountain range, as mentioned in a paper published in the journal Alpine Botany. 

The highest-altitude vascular plant species, a type of herb given the scientific name Saxifraga lychnis, struggles to grow at this altitude. However, even with these conditions, bamboo, firs, rhododendron, and other hardy plants manage to eke out an existence in the lower areas of Everest.

The animals that manage to eke out a living in the unforgiving conditions of the Himalayas are some of the most resilient on Earth. The Himalayan Goral, Himalayan tahr, Red panda, Himalayan black bear, and snow leopard are all tough enough to make it in one of the world’s most hostile environments.

However, if you are an adventurous traveller looking for a reliable travel and adventure company to explore the Everest region, NepalHiking is one of your best bets. With years of experience in the field and a proven track record, NepalHiking is your best chance at making your Everest dreams come true.

How many mountain peaks above 8000 metres are there on this planet?

There are 14 mountain peaks above 8000 metres on the planet. And here is the name list of the peaks:

1: Everest (Sagarmatha) – 8,848.86m

Located on the borders of Nepal and Tibet.

First Ascend: Edmund Hillary (New Zealander, UK), Tenzing Norgay (Nepalese)

First Ascend Date: May 29, 1953 

2: Mount K2 (Godwin Austen) – 8611m

Located on the borders of Pakistan and China.

First Ascend: A. Compagnoni, L. Lacedelli (Italian)

First Ascend Date: July 31, 1954

3: Kanchenjunga – 8586m

Located on the borders of Nepal and India.

First Ascent: G. Band, J. Brown, N. Hardie, S. Streather (UK)

First Ascend Date: May 25, 1955

G. Band, J. Brown, N. Hardie, S. Streather (UK)

4: Lhotse – 8,516m

Located on the borders of Nepal and Tibet

First Ascend: F. Luchsinger, E. Reiss (Swiss)

First Ascend Date: May 18, 1956

F. Luchsinger, E. Reiss (Swiss)

5: Makalu- 8,463m

Located on the borders of Nepal and Tibet.

First Ascend/ First to the summit (nationality): J. Couzy, L. Terray, J. Franco, G. Magnone-Gyaltsen, J. Bouvier, S. Coupé, P. Leroux, A. Vialatte (French)

First Ascend Date: May 15, 1955

J. Couzy, L. Terray, J. Franco, G. Magnone-Gialtsen, J. Bouier, S. Coupé, P. Leroux, A. Vialatte (French)

6: Cho Oyu – 8,201m

Located on the borders of Nepal and Tibet.

First Ascend: H. Tichy, S. Jöchler (Austrian), Pasang Dawa Lama (Nepalese)

First Ascend Date: October 19, 1954

7: Dhaulagiri – 8,167m

Located on the borders of Nepal.

First Ascend: A. Schelbert, E. Forrer, K. Diemberger, P. Diener (Swiss), Nyima Dorji, Nawang Dorji (Nepalese)

First Ascend Date: May 13, 1960

8: Manaslu – 8,163m

Located on the borders of Nepal.

First Ascend: T. Imamishi, K. Kato, M. Higeta, (Japanese) G. Norbu (Nepalese)

First Ascend Date: May 9, 1956

9: Nanga Parbat – 8,125m

Located on the borders of Pakistan

First Ascend: Hermann Buhl (Austrian)

First Ascend Date: July 3, 1953

10: Annapurna: Nepal- 8,091m

Located on the borders of Nepal

First Ascend: M. Herzog, L. Lachenal (French)

First Ascend Date: June 3, 1950

11: Gasherbrum I: 8,068m

Located on the borders of Pakistan and China

First Ascend: P. K. Schoening, A. J. Kauffman.

First Ascend Date: July 4, 1958

12: Broad Peak – 8,047m

Located on the borders of Pakistan and China.

First Ascend: M. Schmuck, F. Wintersteller, K. Diemberger, H. Buhl (Austrian)

First Ascend Date: June 9, 1957

13: Gasherbrum II – 8,035m

Located on the borders of Pakistan/China

First Ascend: F. Moravec, S. Larch, H. Willenpart (Austrian)

First Ascend Date: July 7, 1956

14: Shisha Pangma – 8,013m

Located on the borders of Tibet

First Ascend: Hsu Ching and a team of 9 (Chinese)

First Ascend Date: May 2, 1964

How many mountains above 8000 metres are there in Nepal?

There are 8 highest mountains in Nepal which are above 8000 metres. 

They are:

1: Everest (Sagarmatha) – 8,848.86m

2: Kanchenjunga – 8586m

3: Lhotse – 8,516m

4: Makalu- 8,463m

5: Cho Oyu – 8,201m

6: Dhaulagiri – 8,167m

7: Manaslu – 8,163m

8: Annapurna: Nepal- 8,091m

 

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