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Facts About Mt. Everest: Common Questions Answered

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I'm a hiking and nature enthusiast. I love to share my knowledge about the great outdoors.

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Where Is Mount Everest?

Mt. Everest is a mountain in the Himalayas that is situated on the border between Nepal and Tibet. It was previously known as Chomolungma, meaning "Mother Goddess of the world."

Elevation and Formation

Mt. Everest has an elevation of 8,848 meters or 29,029 feet and includes three peaks: Mt. Everest, Lhotse, and Nuptse, which is the highest point in the Western Hemisphere.

Everest was formed by two tectonic plates; the Indo-Australian Plate and the Eurasian plate. Approximately 28 million years ago, Their plates collided with each other causing large amounts of rock to fold and crack.

Mount Everest was created when a large mass of stone rose from below Earth's surface and lifted above it. This mountain remained isolated from the rest of the world until three and a half centuries ago.

The Origin of the Name "Everest"

The origins of the name "Mt. Everest" come from early Tibetan explorers and pilgrims who first ascended to this peak in the mid-18th century. In 1865, Colonel Leigh Pierce, who was on an expedition to the Himalayas, named this peak after himself and his wife Lady Evelyn Everest.

The prefix "Mt." before a mountain name means, "mountain ridge," as in Mt. McKinley, Mt. Fuji, etc.

How Tall Is Mount Everest?

Mt Everest is the highest point on Earth and has three separate peaks that reach above 29,000ft or 8,848 meters. Mt. Everest is officially the highest peak in the world because it stands at the highest altitude above sea level of any mountain in the world.

However, due to a definition of a continent being a landmass surrounded by water on all sides, there are parts of Asia that some argue are actually higher than Mt. Everest.

The highest mountains in Asia are:

  • Mount Everest 29,029 ft (8,848 m)
  • Sagarmatha 28,250 ft (8,586 m)
  • K2 28,286 ft (8,660 m)
  • Kunyang Chhish Nangdi 27,781 ft (8,485 m)
  • Nanga Parbat 26:651 ft (7,700 m)

Who Was the First Person to Climb Mount Everest?

Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay were the first people to reach the summit of Mt. Everest in 1953. The two climbers left their base camp on May 26 and began their summit assault on May 29. At 11:30 a.m.

They reached the summit of the world's highest mountain together after climbing for about 15 hours from Camp Six, located at 26,000 feet (7,900 m).

Tenzing was a Sherpa who grew up in Nepal, and he met Edmund at the Himalayan Club in Darjeeling, India. Tenzing had climbed mountains before and he knew that he could help Hillary reach the top of Mt. Everest.

He was also the one who taught Hillary how to breathe with an oxygen tank (oxygen wasn't used by climbers until 1937). In fact, it was Tenzing who put oxygen tanks into use on Mt. Everest.

Who Was the First Woman to Climb Mount Everest?

The first woman to reach the summit of Mt. Everest was Junko Tabei of Japan, who reached the summit in 1975. She climbed with a team of nine other climbers and summited on May 16, during her ninth attempt to climb Mt. Everest.

She didn't have high-tech climbing gear like today's mountaineers do, but she had great stamina and determination.

Junko took on her first expedition at the age of 42 and became the first woman to reach the summit of Mt. Everest, a feat she accomplished again in 1977 with a group of male climbers.

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She had also summited Aconcagua in 1973, which is the highest peak in South America at 22,835 ft (6,960 m).

How Much Does It Cost to Climb Mount Everest?

There are several options when it comes to climbing Mt. Everest.

  • You can hire a professional Himalayan expedition company (like Intrepid or International Expeditions). These companies have staff members that have all of the gear, experience, and knowledge necessary to properly guide you to the summit of Mt. Everest.
  • Another option is climbing independently by yourself or with friends. This is not recommended for first-timers and should only be done if you are in great physical shape and have a good sense of adventure.

Once you are at base camp, before you attempt to summit, you'll have to pay a royalty fee and obtain a permit. The climbing fee is around $30,000 to $80,000 per person (the price keeps going up). The cost normally includes the guide and two Sherpas that will accompany you.

Other Costs and Off-Season Advantages and Disadvantages

There are also costs for flight tickets from Kathmandu with Lukla airport, gear rental (tent, sleeping bag), and food supply.

If you are going during the off-season, you'll save some money, but you might be at risk of facing more dangerous weather conditions. During the off-season, it can get very cold, and sometimes there is even snow still present on the mountain.

Other Factors to Consider

It costs a lot of money to climb Mt. Everest, but how much exactly depends on a few factors. If you are going in the spring when the weather is good, you might be able to save some money by climbing during the off-season.

  • The mountain gets very busy from November through May when there are many climbers while it is still warm and clear.
  • The price also depends on whether you're doing the climb with your spouse or if you want to do it alone (there's no shame in doing the latter). If you are doing the climb with your spouse, there will be fewer people going up with one guide.
  • You don't want to climb together if you are in bad shape and get in the way of each other. If you are climbing alone, you have much more freedom.
  • There is also a mountain fee you have to pay per person to maintain the town and international expedition site.
  • If you hire a professional company for your Mt. Everest expedition, they will take care of this fee. Otherwise, you'll have to pay it directly to the government.
  • Lukla airport is 7-10 km from the international campsite. No roads are going towards the campsite, so climbers have to walk from the airport to Lukla itself and then onwards to Everest base camp.
  • The real costs of a climb will differ depending on how much you want to go up the mountain, how much you want to bring with you, and who guides you up the mountain. A professional company will charge more for these services because, in addition to renting gear and food, they'll also need to guide you up the mountain as well. You have to know what your budget is going into before signing with a company or hiring someone who goes on Everest themselves.

Equipment Rentals

Most people hire a quarter of the equipment they need, be it trekking or mountaineering gear. If you need more gear than what the rental company has to offer, maybe you should think about hiring someone that goes on Everest themselves and bring their own equipment.

That way you'll save money and have better equipment.

Everest Guides

There are two main types of guides on Everest: Sherpas, and Western Mountain Guides.

Sherpas are people who live right near the mountain and their job is to guide you up or down the mountain.

Western Mountain Guides are basically Westerners who have spent a lot of time climbing mountains and know how to get up Everest from the south side.

Conquering Everest: Easy or Hard? Fun or Frightening?

It's not all bad news if Everest scares you. You could climb Mount Washington in New Hampshire, the highest mountain in the Northeast. The Base Camp at 5,250 feet seems very humble compared with Everest's Base Camp at 17,700 feet (5,350 meters).

Also, Everest might not be the tallest mountain globally (Mount Kilimanjaro holds that distinction). However, it holds the record for being the tallest multi-polar icy peak.

Everest is hard to climb because it's cold and dangerous. The nighttime temperatures plunge to negative 40 degrees Fahrenheit (-40 degrees Celsius). In fact, it snows on Mt. Everest year-round.

There is also low visibility because of the thick fog surrounding Everest and its satellite peaks. The sun is only out for a couple of hours each day, so it's dark for most of the ascent and descent.

Mt Everest is dangerous because it is filled with crevasses and wind-blown ice, as well as avalanches. Avalanches are a natural occurrence, but it's the human factor that makes them dangerous.

Avalanches

Avalanches are triggered by a build-up of snow and ice on the mountain above you. The snow and ice begin to shift and collapse downhill into deep valleys or crevasses. When an avalanche breaches your camp (where you're spending your night), you have about five minutes to get off the mountain before you're buried completely beneath hundreds of tons of snow.

Debunking 10 Myths About Mt. Everest

Because of its remoteness and altitude, Mt. Everest has a lot of myths associated with it. Many people have died on this mountain, adding to the mystery and danger.

So, here is a list of facts from the Experienced Everest Guide that will debunk 10 of the myths surrounding Mt. Everest.

Myth 1: People die on Mt. Everest because they don't know what they're doing or don't care about their lives.
To be honest, nobody knows what they are doing on Mt. Everest. That is why it's one of the safest mountains in the world. The guides are trained and certified, which is more than you can say for most people who go up the mountain (and then there are the people who actually make it to the summit).

People die on Mt. Everest because they overestimate their personal abilities and underestimate what they're doing and where they're going.

Myth 2: It's easy to climb Mt. Everest.
It is only hard because people believe that if they are fit enough, they can do it.

Myth 3: It's easy to summit Mt. Everest from the south side.
Anybody who has ever climbed Mt. Everest knows that the climb probably wasn't as difficult as they think it was. The fact that they did it should tell them that it wasn't too difficult. But, if they were successful, then they thought it was easy.

Even though the terrain is much different from the south side, you still have to put in a lot of effort to summit from the south side. The Khumbu Icefall is one of the most treacherous sections of the mountain. It's extremely dangerous, even for experienced climbers, and getting around it takes a lot of time.

Myth 4: Most people start their Everest expeditions by going to base camp and then the summit.
To be honest, that's not how most people climb up Mt. Everest. Most people have to start their expedition from the south side of the mountain and climb all the way up to base camp before they attempt the summit.

Myth 5: The oxygen on Mt. Everest is thin.
Most people who go up the mountain tend to think that the oxygen on Mt. Everest is thin, but it's not (at least it doesn't feel like it). You will be acclimated to the altitude by the time you've reached Camp 3 or 4.

Myth 6: You can share oxygen bottles on Mt. Everest.
This myth is the most common of them all. It's so common because people climbing Mt. Everest usually share oxygen at some point, whether on the mountain or at Base Camp. Whether or not it's safe to share your bottle with a stranger depends on how impartial you are when it comes to giving up your oxygen to another person.

Myth 7: You can see the summit of Mt. Everest from Camp 4.
It's almost impossible to see the summit from Camp 4 because all you can really see is Lhotse, which is another satellite peak and one of the smallest mountains on Mt. Everest.

Myth 8: It's easier to climb Mt. Everest in a group of five people.
Climbing with a larger group on Mt. Everest isn't safer or harder than climbing with two people; it's just different. You're not climbing with just two people because you're saving money and time. You're climbing with a group because it's more enjoyable and easier to keep up with a large group of people.

Myth 9: A Sherpa is a person who guides you on Mt. Everest.
A Sherpa is usually a person who climbs for a living (like yourself). They climb Mt. Everest every year without fail, no matter how many times they've been there before.

Myth 10: Climb Mt. Everest for the challenge.
Climbing Mt. Everest is a big challenge, but the only real challenge is whether or not you are physically up for it. If you think this is the right mountain for you, you should take some time to get away from it all and see what happens.

While Mount Everest is a beautiful place, it's also a dangerous place with many obstacles.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Comments

Go Win Rai (author) from Kathmandu, Nepal on May 09, 2021:

@Sukhdev Shukla thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and motivating with your kind words. I have sent a follow request to you.

Sukhdev Shukla from Dehra Dun, India on May 09, 2021:

Very nicely described, Go Win. While in school in late 50's we used to read about this great feat of Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay. I can imagine the courage shown by the two in view of the facilities at that time. Thanks for reviving that childhood lesson as also the myths related to Mt. Everest.

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