Mount Everest (Sagarmatha) -
facts and figures
Today is the 52nd anniversary of the first
ascent of Mt. Everest, the highest mountain peak in the world.
Age of Everest: Everest was formed about 60
million years ago.
Elevation: 29,035 feet (8,850m) found to be six inches higher in 1999.
However, most scientists believe that the peak is 8,848 m high.
Name in Nepal: Sagarmatha (means: goddess of the skies).
In Tibet: Chomolungma (means: mother goddess of the universe).
Named after: Sir George Everest in 1865, the British surveyor-general of
India. Once known as Peak 15.
Location: Latitude 27° 59 N and Longitude 86° 56 E. Its summit ridge
separates Nepal and Tibet.
First Ascent: May 29, 1953 by Sir Edmund Hillary, New Zealand and Tenzing
Norgay, Nepal, via the South Col Route.
First Solo Ascent: Aug 20, 1980, Reinhold Messner, via the NE Ridge to North
First Winter Ascent: Feb 17, 1980, L Cichy and K. Wielicki, Poland.
Everest Name: Sir George Everest was the first person to record the height and
location of Mt. Everest. This is where Mt Everest got its name from.
First Ascent by a Woman: May 16, 1975, Junko Tabei, Japan.
First Oxygenless Ascent: May 8, 1978 Reinhold Messner and Peter Habeler.
Fastest Ascent (from south): Babu Chhiri Sherpa, Nepal in 16 hours and 56
minutes on May 21, 2000.
Fastest Ascent (north side): Hans Kammerlander on May 24, 1996 in 16 hours 45
minutes from base camp.
Youngest person: Temba Tshero (Nepal) at 15 on May 22, 2001.
Oldest Person: Sherman Bull, May 25, 2001 at 64.
First Legally Blind Person: Erik Weihenmeyer, May 25, 2001.
Most Ascents: Appa Sherpa became the first person to climb Everest 11 times on
24 May, 2000; Ang Rita Sherpa Babu Chhiri Sherpa have climbed the peak 10 times
each: All ascents were oxygen-less.
Best and Worst Years on Everest: 1993, 129 summitted and eight died (a ratio
of 16:1); in 1996,98 summitted and 15 died (a ratio of 6 ½ ;1)
Highest cause of death: Avalanches, about a 2:1 ratio over falls.
Country with most deaths on the mountain: Nepal 46
Most dangerous area on the mountain: Khumbu Ice Fall, 19 deaths.
Last year without ascent: 1977
Corpses remaining on Everest: Babu Chiri Sherpa stayed at the summit for a
full 21 hours and a half.
Largest team: In 1975, China tackled Everest with a 410 member team.
Fastest descent: in 1988, Jean-Marc Boivin of France descended from the top in
just 11 minutes, paragliding.
Only climber to climb all four sides of Everest: Kushang Sherpa, now as
instructor with Himalayan Mountaineering Institute.
First person to hike from sea level to summit, no oxygen: May 11,1990, Tim
Largest number to reach the top in one day: 40, on May 10, 1993.
First person to summit Everest twice: Nawang Gombu-Nepal (once with Whitaker
in 1963 and again two years later in 1965). Gombu now works for the Himalayan
The oldest woman to summit: Anna Czerwinska, 50, on May 22,2000
THEY CONQUERED EVEREST
Kaji Sherpa: Few may believe this but for Kaji
Sherpa, who has already made five successful trips to Mt. Everest, climbing the
highest peak of the world is just a habit. It is the excitement of conquest
that takes you to the summit the first time and from the next time around, it is
done out of habit, says Kaji.
Born in Solu, Kaji made his first attempt to scale the peak in 1985 at 19. But
it was in 1992 that he finally made it to summit. He was accompanying an
American team as an assistant. It was only after three more successful trips
that he was able to break the record of Frenchman Marc Batard, who took 22 hours
and 29 minutes to reach the summit, to summit in the fastest time of 20 hours
and 24 minutes. Babu Chhiri who made the trip in 16 hours 56 minutes later
shattered the record. Starting from base camp, it usually takes four days to
cover the distance to the summit. Kaji reached the peak after an exhausting
all-night climb without the use of supplementary oxygen. Mountain expeditions
are full of risks and Kaji has several experiences of narrow escapes from death
in his more than 15 years experience of climbing. Once we were washed away by
an avalanche up to 700 meters but I was lucky enough to survive. Sometimes, we
have fallen to 200-300 meters down crevasses that we could not see because it
was covered by a thin layer of snow. Scarcity of food and bad weather are the
most common problems we face on the mountain, Kaji shares.
Pasang Lhamu Sherpa: One name amongst all the famous mountaineers of Nepal that
has left indelible memories in our minds is that of Pasang Lhamu Sherpa, the
first Nepali woman to have successfully conquered the Mt. Everest. Pasang died
on her way back from summit in 1993. Pasang was a very determined and positive
human being and wanted to serve humanity at large. Even after three failed
attempts, she never gave up her hope and stuck to her decision of fulfilling her
aim. I was devastated to hear about her demise since I was also on an expedition
during that time, says Kaji Sherpa, friend and compatriot, adding, I was one
of those who actually helped carry her dead body back to base camp.
Pasang Lhamu Sherpa was born on the 10th Decemeber 1961 on Surke, Solukhumbu,
Nepal. As an adolescent, she worked with her father Phurba Kitar Sherpa, as a
trekking guide, Later, she married Lhakpa Sonam Sherpa and lived with him in
Kathmandu where the couple raised their three children, Dawa Futi Sherpa,
Namgyal Sherpa and Diki Sherpa.
The Government of Nepal declared Pasang Lhamu Sherpas as a National Luminary of
the Country on the ninth anniversary of her success in climbing Mt. Everest. She
is the second female national luminary of Nepal.
In 1990, Sherpa made her first attempt to climb Mt. Everest (8,848m) but managed
to reach only 8,000 m. In 1991, she scaled Yala Peak (5,800m) and then attempted
to scale Everest twice, reaching up to 8.750 m in the first attempt and 8,500 m
in the second. Finally in 1993, Sherpa made her fourth and successful attempt to
scale Mt. Everest. Having achieved what no other Nepali woman had before her.
Pasang Lhamu Sherpa received great national and international honour and respect
The Government of Nepal has renamed the Jasamba Himal (7,315m) in the
Mahalangur Range as the Pasang Lhamu Peak.
The Government of Nepal issued a postage stamp in her honour.
Lhamu Sherpa is the first woman to be awarded the Nepali Tara as a Rastriya
Bhivuti by Late King Birendra.
Shambhu Tamang: It was way back in 1973 when an 18-year-old Shambhu Tamang set
our to conquer the worlds highest peak and he was the youngest to do so at that
time finding a place for himself the Guinness book of World Records. Scaling a
height of 8,848 meters is definitely not a cake-walk and it was, indeed, more
difficult in those times when technology hadnt spread to such far-off
destinations. It was the determination and perseverance of this young
mountaineer that helped him climb this giant mountain in 1973 with an Italian
team and once again in 1985 with a Spanish team. Technically, we were backward
then and, in fact, the weather has also changed now, Tamang informs.
We used to hit snow at the altitude of 13,000 14,000 feet in those times
whereas nowadays one confronts snow only after 18,000 feet. Born in 1955 in
Sindhupalchow, Tamang is one of the founder member of Nepal Mountaineering
Association and is spending his days training the young and enthusiastic
mountaineers of today giving them all the suggestions they require for a
successful ascent. He also has his own tre - kking company. Cli-mbing Mount
Everest is not an easy task but it is a little better for the people who live in
high-altitude. One has to learn how to acclimatize.
This is why I believe that every mountaineer should have a clear knowledge about
how one should go about it, says Tamang.
Problems faced include oxygen deficiency, snow blindness, avalanches, frost
bites and possibility of brain damage. Tamang proved that nothing could deter
him and can definitely be called one of our living national heroes.
Source: The Himalayan Times, May 29, 2005
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