Mount Everest, Jomolungma, Earth’s highest peak

Mount Everest

Everest , also known as Jomolungma , is the highest point of our planet. It is called, and rightly so, the “roof of the world”, “divine” and even “mountain of death. Many brave men have dedicated their lives to the desperate idea to take this height. They were stopped neither by the sun’s dangerous radiation, nor by the piercing squall wind, whose speed reaches 55 meters per second, nor by sudden rockslides. More than 260 people found the last refuge in the snows and abysses of Everest on the way to their dreams.

But there is another statistic, an optimistic one. Every year more than 500,000 tourists come to the highest peak of the globe to admire the majestic beauty of the place. Such an indicator, which has a tendency to grow, allows us to classify Dzhomolungma as one of the most visited attractions on the planet. For many people, to be here means to fulfill their deepest dreams. And when travelers are asked why they strive for Everest, because the summit is not conquered by everyone, they answer: “Because it is!”

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Video: “Everest. The Promise.”

Location and features

Jomolungma is located in the mountain system of the Himalayas, specifically in the Mahalangur-Himal range, which is located on the border of the Republic of Nepal and the Tibet Autonomous Region of the PRC.

The height of its northern peak, located on the territory of China and is considered the main one, is 8848 meters. This is the absolute record among the highest mountains on Earth, of which there are 117 (all of them are concentrated in the region of Central and South Asia). The southern peak is slightly lower, 8,760 meters, and it can be called “international”: it is located on the border of two countries.

The mountain looks like a three-sided pyramid. The slope and ribs from the south are so steep that snow and glaciers do not stay on them. The rock wall also has no snow cover. The rest of the ribs, starting at about 5 kilometers in height, are covered by glaciers.

3D animation of Jomolungma and the surrounding landscape

The part of Everest on the Nepalese side is part of Sagarmatha National Park. This is the name of the highest peak in the world, Sagarmatha, in Nepali (translated as “Heavenly Peak”). On this side it is obscured by the Nuptse (7,879 m) and Lhotse (8,516 m) mountains. Beautiful views of it can be seen from the surrounding mountains of Kala Pathar and Gokyo Ri.

Dzhomolungma – the name is translated from Tibetan as “Lord of the Winds” – one of the ten mountain peaks, the so-called eight-thousanders, located in the Himalayas (there are only 14 in the world). Undoubtedly, it remains the most attractive goal for climbers around the world.

How the height of Everest was calculated

It is noteworthy that until 1852 the highest point on the planet was considered to be the multi-peaked mountain massif of Dhaulagiri, also located in the Himalayas. The first topographic studies, conducted from 1823 to 1843, did not refute this statement.

After some time, however, doubts began to arise, and the first bearer of them was the Indian mathematician Radhanath Sikdar. In 1852, being at a distance of 240 kilometers from the mountain, he used trigonometric calculations to make the assumption that Jomolungma or, as it was then called, Peak XV is the highest peak in the world. Only four years later, more accurate practical calculations confirmed it.

Data on the height of Jomolungma has often changed: according to the popular assumptions of the time, it was about 8872 meters. However, the English aristocrat and geodesic scientist George Everest, who headed the surveying service of British India from 1830 to 1843, was the first to be able to determine not only the exact location of the Himalayan peak, but also its height. In 1856, Jomolungma was given a new name, after Sir Everest. But China and Nepal did not agree to this renaming, although the merits of the outstanding geodesist were beyond doubt.

Today, according to officially confirmed data, Everest is 8 km 848 m above sea level, of which the last four meters are solid glaciers.

The way to the summit of Kala Pattar (5,545 m). Everest visible on the left View of the summit of Ama Dablam

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Who are they, the courageous pioneers?

Organizing ascents to the “roof of the world” and conducting scientific research there was difficult not only because of the high cost of such activities. Nepal and then independent Tibet remained closed to foreigners for a long time. Only in 1921 did the Tibetan authorities give the go-ahead and the first expedition began to explore possible routes for climbing Everest on the north slope. In 1922 the monsoons and snowstorms prevented explorers to reach the summit, the climbers first used oxygen cylinders, and reached the mark 8320 meters.

On the way to the summit, Buddhist shrines and memorials were encountered time and again.

Englishman George Herbert Lee Mallory, a 38-year-old assistant professor from Cambridge and a famous mountaineer with a lot of experience, was obsessed with the idea of conquering Everest. In 1921 a group under his leadership reached and camped at 8,170 meters, and he himself went down in history as the man who first set out to conquer this proud and impregnable height. He made two more attempts, in 1922 and 1924. The third of these was the last and … fatal. On June 8, he and his teammate, 22-year-old student Andrew Irwin, went missing. They were last seen from the ground through binoculars at an altitude of about 8,500 meters. And then that was it: the intrepid explorers suddenly disappeared from sight…

Mallory’s fate only became clear 75 years later. On May 1, 1999 an American search expedition found the remains of the courageous mountaineer at an altitude of 8,230m. There was no doubt that it was him: he was identified by a patch on his clothes, “J. Mallory,” and a letter from his wife, found in his breast pocket. The corpse itself lay face down with its arms outstretched, as if trying to embrace a mountain. When he was turned over, his eyes were closed, which meant only one thing: death was not sudden. Further examination of the remains of Jomolungma’s first victim revealed that the legendary explorer had suffered fractures of the tibia and fibula.

Glacier near the base camp on the Nepalese side of the trail to the summit at an altitude of about 5000 meters

Thus two versions were disproved at once: the death by a fall from a great height, and the death during the descent. As for Irwin, his body has not yet been found, though it is obvious to everyone that he, too, died at that time. And, most likely, then he was blown by a strong wind into the nearest abyss, the depth of which is not less than 2 km.

Another famous conqueror of Jomolungma was a British officer and mountaineer Edward Felix Norton, who in 1924 reached the mark of 8565 meters, which was the absolute record that was held for the next thirty years.

Between 1921 and 1952 about 11 unsuccessful attempts were made. In 1952 an expedition from Switzerland made two attempts to reach the peak. But returned with nothing.

Edmund Hillary in 1953

In 1953 the British expedition was joined by New Zealand mountaineers. On May 29, 1953, 34-year-old New Zealander Edmund Hillary and 39-year-old Sherpa Tenzing Norgay of Nepal became the first men on Earth to climb the “Roof of the World. They spent only 15 minutes there: due to the lack of oxygen they simply could not do more. Norgei symbolically buried cookies and candy in the snow as an offering to the gods. Funny that he could not take a picture of a New Zealander; only a Nepali was able to be photographed at the summit.

Mount Everest (Jomolungma)

Tenzing Norgey tried seven times with other expeditions to reach the summit of Jomolungma. Each time he did so with the special philosophy of a representative of the mountain people. As the Sherpa later recalled in his book The Snow Tiger, there was no exasperation in him. He felt like a child climbing on his mother’s lap.

How did they feel, a citizen of a distant island nation in the Pacific Ocean and a native of a mountainous Himalayan kingdom who had become the first conquerors of the world’s summit? They embraced, patting each other on the back with feeling. Probably the full range of these emotions is impossible to convey by words.

Everest at sunset

The world learned about the conquest of Everest only three days later. It is difficult to overestimate the significance of the event. The restless Hillary had crossed Antarctica with an expedition a few years later. The British Queen Elizabeth II, who is also the monarch of New Zealand, knighted him. The New Zealand mountaineer also became an honorary citizen of Nepal. In 1990 Hillary’s son Peter climbed to the top.

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After 1953, expeditions from the United States, India, Italy, and Japan were sent to the “roof of the world. The first American to step on top of Mount Jomolungma was Jim Whittaker. This happened on May 1, 1963. Some three weeks later a sensation akin to the first conquest of the mountain awaited the world: American climbers crossed the West Rib, where no one had ever set foot before.

Since 1975 the female half climbed the highest peak of the planet. The first female climber from the Land of the Rising Sun, Junko Takei, became the first female climber, while Wanda Rutkiewicz, a citizen of Poland, became the first European climber. In 1990 the first Russian climber, Ekaterina Ivanova, reached the summit.

Desperate Peak Conquerors

On top Dzhomolungma already visited more than four thousand people. Many more than once. For example, Nepalese climber Apa Sherpa conquered it 21 times. Scientists say that the inhabitants of the mountains is easier to stay at such altitudes. And yet surprising is the record set by a local resident Chhurim, who climbed the peak twice in one week.

The exploration of Everest is first and foremost a test of the limits of human capabilities. The Italian R. Messner and German P. Habeler climbed the mountain without oxygen masks in May 1978. Messner subsequently climbed alone more than once and set a series of records. He was the first to climb the peak during the monsoon, he did it without the help of porters, and in record time he overcame a new route. When you study the biography of such daredevils, you realize that the desire to conquer the tops is like a passion or a disease.

The ascent of Dzhomolungma

In 1982 a Soviet expedition climbed Dzhomolungma for the first time along the difficult route from the southwest wall. The selection of athletes was similar to the selection of astronauts. Eleven people made the ascent, one climber was without an oxygen mask and one conquered the summit at night. The photos show extraordinary beauty from such a natural viewing platform. It is impossible to describe in words what a beautiful sight it is at night, in the starlight.

How the blind American Erich Weihenmaier (2001) and Mark Inglis with amputated legs (2006) could reach the top – only they know. The goal of the daredevils was to show people all over the world that reaching the goal is a reality. And they did it!

Extreme Cases

In the history of the conquest of Everest, human courage often borders on madness. Man is relentless in his quest to set new records and accomplishments, especially of this kind, with the prospect of making history.

The first attempt to descend it on skis was made by Japanese Miura, who only miraculously did not fall into the abyss. Less lucky was the French snowboarder Marco Siffredi. The first time the descent from the summit along the Norton couloir ended safely. In 2001 the courageous sportsman wished to go by another route, the Hornbein couloir – and disappeared.

The speed of the skiers can be judged on the descent of the Frenchman Pierre Tardevel. From a height of 8,571 meters he rode 3 km in 3 hours. In 1998 the Frenchman Cyril Desremaux was the first to go down from the top on a snowboard. Back in 1933, the Marquis of Clydesdale and David McIntyre flew over the top of the mountain in a biplane (an airplane with two wings arranged one above the other).

Pilot Didier Delsal first landed a helicopter on top of the mountain in 2005. Hang gliders and paragliders have been flown over Everest, and parachutes have jumped off the plane.

Climbing these days

About 500 people a year decide to climb Everest (Jomolungma). It is very expensive. It is possible to climb from both Nepal and China. The departure from the former will cost more, while from the Chinese territory is cheaper, but more difficult technically. Commercial firms that specialize in escorting to the top of the highest mountain on the planet, asking from 40 to 80 thousand dollars. The amount includes the cost of modern equipment, payment for the services of porters. Only permission of the Government of Nepal may cost from 10 to 25 thousand dollars. The ascent itself takes up to two months.

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Namche Bazar – a village on the way to Everest, which has an expanded tourist infrastructure, where travelers can gain strength and prepare for the ascent

An example of a 16-day itinerary with climbing Mt. Kala Pathar

It is naive to think that without a bogatyr’s health and proper physical training one can undertake such a difficult and serious activity. Mountaineers are expected to climb hardest, with inhuman loads, cutting steps in the ice, building bridges through cracks in the harshest natural conditions. About 10,000 kilocalories per day a person spends when climbing Everest (instead of the usual 3,000). During the ascent climbers lose up to 15 kg of weight. And not everything depends on themselves, on their level of training. Sudden hurricane or landslide can knock you down and carry you to the abyss, and snow avalanche can crush you like a small insect. Nevertheless, more and more daredevils dare to climb.

They get to Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, by plane. It takes about two weeks to get to the base camp. It’s located at an altitude of 5,364 meters. The way here is not very difficult, the difficulties begin further. During the adaptation to the extreme conditions of Everest the ascents alternate with descents to the camp. The body gets used to the thin air and the cold. In preparation for the ascent, every detail is carefully checked. When a man is above an abyss, his life often depends on the strength of the rope and the steel carabiner hammered into the rock.

Above 7,500 meters the so-called “death zone” begins. Oxygen in the air is 30% less than under normal conditions. Blinding sun, knocking down wind (up to 200 km per hour). Not everyone can withstand such realities, which some researchers compared to the Martian ones.

The last meters A view from the summit of Everest

A simple cold can result in pulmonary or cerebral edema. The cardiovascular system is stretched to its limits. Frostbite, fractures and dislocations are not uncommon. And you have to go back down, which is no less difficult.

“The longest mile on Earth” is what climbers call the last 300 meters, the most difficult section. It is a steep, very smooth slope, powdered with snow. And here it is – “the roof of the world”…

Climatic conditions, flora and fauna

During the summer, the temperature on Everest does not rise above -19 degrees during the day and falls to minus 50 degrees at night. The coldest month is January. Often the temperature drops to 60 degrees below zero.

Of course, in such extreme conditions flora and fauna can not be rich and diverse. On the contrary, it is very scarce. However, it is here that the most highly living representative of the terrestrial fauna – the Himalayan jumping spider – lives. Its individuals were found at an altitude of 6700 meters, which seems simply unthinkable for the existence of life.

Somewhat lower, at 5,500 meters, there is a perennial herbaceous plant – yellow gentian. Even higher, at an altitude of 8100 meters, the researchers observed a mountain goose or cloverleaf, a member of the martin family, a close relative of the alpine goose.

Ecological situation

Recently, scientists have been sounding the alarm and calling for access to the highest peak to be closed. The reason is the catastrophic level of pollution on Everest and its surroundings.

Everyone who comes here leaves behind about 3 kilograms of garbage. According to the preliminary estimates, more than 50 tons of waste have accumulated on the mountain. Volunteer teams are organized to clean the slopes from the traces of human activity.

However, modern equipment and paved routes only increase the number of visitors, and there are even jams on the trails. And the flow of tourists to the foot of Dzhomolungma increases every year…

Everest is not actually the highest mountain in the world

As we were all taught, remember? Mount Everest is the highest mountain on our planet. Well, it’s not! In fact, it is not, and there is a mountain higher than Everest, but who cares when there is an entrenched opinion and even well-established colloquialisms. The “conquest of Everest” alone is worth a lot. By the way, the mountain suffers a lot because of its forced fame. Let me try to dispel the myths and tell you that in fact the highest mountain in the world is a completely different peak and at the same time I will explain why it happened so that we lived so many years in ignorance. Maybe the truth will be somewhere in the middle again and it will become a little clearer to everyone where exactly it is.

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Where is Everest

When looking for an answer to the question “What is the highest mountain in the world?”, it is difficult to find a better-known mountain than Everest. It is better known to many people by the name Jomolungma, which means “mother of the gods of the earth.” The peak of the highest mountain in the world is located in the Himalayas on the Mahalangur-Himal range. This is the border between Nepal and the Tibet Autonomous Region of China. Every country would like to have the highest point in the world, but it went to those who got it.

The name of the highest mountain in the world came from George Everest, head of the surveying service of British India. The name of the mountain in honor of this man was suggested by the one who succeeded him in that position – Andrew Scott Waugh.

What was the highest mountain before the discovery of Everest

Now there are no mountains that are no longer open, so in one way or another they have taken their places in various rankings. But before the discovery of this mountain, another mountain was considered the highest.

Kanchenjunga is the mountain that is next to Everest . It was considered to be the highest before its discovery. Until now, this mountain is the leader in one interesting ranking. It is what many professional climbers consider the most difficult in the world to conquer. It may seem counterintuitive, but the difficulty of climbing does not depend directly on the height of the mountain. Imagine you need to climb a vertical five-meter wall or walk the stairs to the height of 10 floors. In the first case the task is almost impossible, in the second, despite the height, is accessible to almost everyone. So it is with mountains. But there is also the factor of weather, which is different and changes at different speeds. And this is just one example.

Where are the highest mountains in the world

It is impossible to say unequivocally where the highest mountains in the world are located. They are located in different mountain systems . The leader of the usual ranking are in the Himalayas (an area of 1.1 million square kilometers). It includes Mount Everest. The height of the highest mountain in the world is 8848 meters . But just below we will dispute this statement.

It’s not so obvious from here on. The largest massifs do not always have the highest peaks. For example, the second highest mountain in the traditional list, Chogori (8,614 meters), is in the Karakoram system, which is only 80,000 square kilometers.

The Himalayas are huge and can only be seen in its entirety on a map or on a globe.

The highest mountain in Russia, Mount Elbrus (5642 meters) is located in the Caucasus Mountains, which also cannot boast a large area (79 thousand square kilometers). This is 2.5 times less than the Alps (190 thousand square meters) with their Mont Blanc (4808 meters). All three given examples are one continent (Eurasia).

In 200 million years there will be huge “Somali Mountains” on Earth.

Who was the first to climb Everest?

Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay were the first people to conquer the highest mountain on the planet, Everest. They did so on May 29, 1953 . By that time the mountain had already been named Everest, after the explorer who had dug it up. He himself was against giving the mountain his last name, but it happened as it happened.

Since the conquest of the cherished peak hundreds and thousands of tourists were able to climb it. Dozens of times more have tried, but never made it. All of this couldn’t help but affect the ecology of the region. The mountain has simply been turned into a pile of… well, you get the idea. Here and there is trash, human waste and many other things people leave behind, including trampled paths and downed trees/shrubs.

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These places just can’t be clean.

All because the mountain has the title of the highest in the world and only on this name, as a puddle of syrup, fly lovers to prove something to someone. Only in reality they do not conquer the highest mountain in the world, if measured by other, in some ways even more correct, values.

The highest mountain in the world

The highest mountain on Earth is the Chimborazo. Hardly many people know where Mount Chimborazo is on the map. It is a stratovolcano in Ecuador. I told you what stratovolcanoes are in a separate article, where I also talked about the most violent eruptions in history.

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Chimborazo is part of the Andes mountain range . It can be considered the highest mountain because its peak is farthest from the center of the Earth. Consequently, it is the highest mountain in terms of distance, rather than any conventional measurements.

This is the Chimborazo.

If, as with Everest, to measure from sea level, the height of Chimborazo is 2,600 meters below the Tibetan giant. Its height is only 6,248 meters compared to Mount Everest’s highest point of 8,848 meters.

Because the Earth is not flat, although many would like to believe so, it has a mismatch of dimensions at the equator and at the poles. That is, it is slightly flattened, if I may say so.

Technically it leads to the fact that at the equator the mountains are higher, even if relative to the level of the world ocean they have the same height as closer to the poles.It so happens that Chimborazo is as close to the equator as possible, while Everest is located as much as 28 degrees to the north.

The difference between the highest mountains in the world

So how much higher one mountain is higher than the other, you ask, and you would be right. If measured from the center of the Earth, the distance between it and the summit of Mount Everest is 6,382 kilometers, for Chimborazo this figure is 6,385 kilometers . This is enough to cover the difference mentioned above. As a result, the highest mountain on Earth is Chimborazo. Moreover, Everest will not even drop to second place, but much lower, giving way to mountains closer to the equator.

The height of the mountain formally depends on its position relative to the equator.

In fact, you can’t call it news, because some scientific publications published information about Chimborazo back in 2007. But why is Everest still so loved and revered as the highest mountain in the world? And at the same time, they strive to climb it.

How to climb Everest

Perhaps the reason for this is the climbers’ desire to set themselves a big challenge, because conquering Everest is much more difficult. It takes about 10 days to get to base camp just to start doing it. It will take six weeks to acclimatize at camp. During this time a plan of ascent is also made and physical training is conducted. Only after passing these two stages it will be possible to make the ascent itself, which will take nine days and will be very difficult.

To compare, before climbing Chimborazo it takes only two weeks for acclimatization and only two days for the ascent itself. The difference is more than palpable. Against the backdrop of climbing Everest, climbing Chimborazo looks like just an easy walk you can take during your vacation.

This mountain has taken many lives.

This can be considered the reason for the popularity of Everest, and at the same time the fact that when measured from sea level, it really is the highest. If this is your position and you can prove it in our Telegram chat, you will be interested to know that Chimborazo is not only lower than Everest when measured from sea level, but is not even the highest peak in the Andes, yielding to Mount Aconcagua as much as 713 meters (its height is 6,961 meters above sea level).

All this is further proof that everything in the world is relative. Well, if you have already booked a guide who will take you to Everest, decide on the ascent of Chimborazo as well. Let the highest mountain will be for sure.

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