Mount Everest - facts and figures

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Mount Everest (Sagarmatha) - facts and figures

Mount Everest - Goddess of Heaven

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 face.
• 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.

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• 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 Macartney-Snape, Australian.
• 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 mountaineering institute.
• 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 posthumously.

• 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 world’s 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 hadn’t 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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