A majestic peak towering at 8,850 meters (29,035 feet) above sea level, Mt. Everest is regarded as the highest mountain in the world. It is located at the borders of the Tibetan prefecture of Shigatse and the Nepalese district of Solukhumbu. But there is a lot more into “the window of the world” than these mere geographical statistics.
Here are 12 fascinating facts about Mount Everest.
1. Mt. Everest is about 60 million years old.
It is said that Mt. Everest was formed during the Carboniferous period, named so because of the creation of coal beds during the said geologic era. Apart from the formation of Everest, this period witnessed the birth of the Appalachian and Ouachita mountains.
2. It grew 6 inches taller, according to a survey in 1999.
One of the most interesting facts about Mount Everest is that it has ‘grown’ despite its old age. In 1999, measurements showed that it grew to 29,035 feet or 8850 meters, from its previous measurement of 29,029 feet or 8,848 meters. While it is still the tallest peak in the world, Everest’s growth does not stop there. Experts say that geological forces cause it to grow a few millimeters every year.
3. It goes by numerous names.
The Nepalese call it Sagarmatha or the goddess of the sky. The Tibetans, on the other hand, hail it as the Chomolungma or the mother goddess of the universe.
In November 1847, Andrew Waugh, British Surveyor General of India named it Peak B. His assistant, Michael Hennessy, assigned roman numerals to peaks, so he gave it the moniker Peak XV. In 1865, Waugh appealed to the Royal Geographical Society to name the mountain after George Everest, the British Surveyor General before him. Although Everest objected, citing that it cannot be pronounced in Hindi, Waugh’s appeal prevailed, hence its current name.
4. The Khumbu Icefall is the most dangerous zone in Mt. Everest.
Khumbu Icefall, located at the head of the Khumbu Glacier, is considered as the most notorious place on the mountain. According to Mount Everest facts, this path along South Col route has been responsible for 19 casualties in total. The many deaths in this region are caused by the unpredictable movement of the icefall. Here, crevices open and seracs fall with little warning or none at all.
So how do mountaineers emerge successful despite this treacherous path? Those who have pulled through the Khumbu Icefall have managed to avoid the dangerous shifting of ice blocks by ascending before dawn, as it is the time of the day when freezing temperatures kept the ice blocks securely in place.
5. The first ones to reach the summit of Mt. Everest were Tenzing Norgay and Sir Edmund Hillary.
In May 29, 1953, Hillary and Norgay made it to the pinnacle of Mt. Everest. They ascended via the South Col route, a sharp-notched road between Everest and Lhotse, the fourth highest peak in the world. Because this path is in the way of high winds, it is virtually free from snow buildup. Despite the threat of altitude sickness, Hillary and Norgay went on to etch their names in the book about Mount Everest facts when they became the first two conquerors of the mountain.
6. It is possible to ascend to Mt. Everest without the use of oxygen.
This feat has been proven achievable by Reinhold Messner of Italy and Peter Habeler of Austria when they successfully climbed up the summit without supplemental oxygen in tow. The courageous duo made use of the South-East Ridge, which is a pass located at the southern side of the mountain, near Nepal.
7. Appa Sherpa holds the record for the most number of ascents to Mt. Everest.
Just as interesting as the compendium of Mt. Everest facts is the sheer adventurousness of Appa Sherpa, who managed to climb the peak for 21 times (as of May 2011). More popularly known as the “Super Sherpa,” Appa is a Nepalese mountaineer who first managed to reach the apex on his fourth try in May 1990. He was also the first one to successfully lead a group of climbers through the Great Himalaya Trail, which spans 1,700 kilometers or 1,050 miles. Appa spearheaded the group through what is known as one of the most difficult passes in the world.
8. The youngest person to reach the summit of Mt. Everest is 13-year-old Jordan Romero.
One of the best facts about Mount Everest is that despite the difficulty its tracks pose, young climbers have still managed to conquer its peak. In May 22, 2010, Romero, an American, broke records previously set by Ming Kipa (15 years) and Tsemba Tsheri (16 years) of Nepal. Despite his young age, Romero rose to the occasion by realizing his dream of climbing the highest peaks around the world. In December 2011, he broke another record by climbing the Vinson Massif of Antarctica at the young age of 14.
9. At age 64, Dr. Sherman Bull became the oldest person to climb Everest in 2001.
An Everest climber should be in tiptop physical condition in order to successfully reach the peak, but physical conditioning and age are not mutually exclusive. Although he was reaching retirement age when he decided to climb the mountain, Bull proved that he had what it takes to make it the record book.
In May 25, 2001, the determined physician successfully ascended to the summit. Apart from being the oldest person to have reached Everest’s apex, Bull made another record as he climbed the peak with his son Brad. This made them the second son and dad tandem to do so.
Since Dr. Sherman proved that age is not a factor in 2001, a number of Septuagenarians have showed that age is not a factor when it comes to conquering everest. In May 2012, Tamae Watanabe, became the oldest woman to ever scale everest at the age of 73. In 2010, a Nepalese man became the oldest person to ever scale Everest’s hallowed peak, at the incredible age of 76.
10. Kushang Sherpa is the only person who had managed to climb Everest’s three sides.
Sherpa, an instructor of the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, is the only one who has climbed up the mountain using its three routes: the Northeast, Southeast and East ridges.
11. Babu Chiri Sherpa holds the record for the longest time on top of the mountain.
On May 1999, Babu Chiri Sherpa spent 21.5 hours on top of Mt. Everest without supplemental oxygen. Although he was a legendary guide who have climbed the mountain for a total of ten times, he died during his 11th attempt in 2001, after falling into a crevice.
12. There are 120 corpses that remain buried in the snowy slopes of Mt. Everest.
For several decades, the treacherous passes and merciless avalanches have claimed the lives of many who dared to reach the peak of Mt. Everest. Because of the dangers associated with bringing the corpses down, about 120 of the 200 people who have died on the mountain still remain at the places where they have perished. George Mallory, a British explorer, is one of the many climbers who remain entombed in Everest. He died in 1924, but his corpse was only found 75 years later in 1999.