Monday, 28 December 2015

Tallest peak Mt. Everest, fascinating facts

George Mallory and Andrew Irvine, June 24, 1924 photo taken prior to their disappearance,edition.cnn.com
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George Everest (1790-1866). www.sciencemuseum.org.uk
 ''It is clear that the stake [the mountaineer] risks to lose is a great one with him: it is a matter of life and death…. To win the game he has first to reach the mountain’s summit – but, further, he has to descend in safety. The more difficult the way and the more numerous the dangers, the greater is his victory.”

                                   - George Mallory, 1924


Ever since the first assault on the tallest peak in the world Mt. Everest by Sir Edmund Hillary with his  companion Tenzing Norgay in 1953, man's curiosity to  challenge  the  toughest summit has been on the increase. With technological developments, better  communication and  access roads, though the expedition to the mountain has become easier, the inherent dangers and challenges existing on the routes to the summit can not be overcome by mere advanced mountaineering gears alone. Until late 1970s, only a handful of well trained climbers could reach the summit, the  rest gave up the challenge midway for various reasons. By 2012, the number of people reaching the summit went up to 500 a year. In 2014 season when a party of climbers were ready for the further assault, a large chunk of ice fall triggered a dangerous avalanche that killed 16 prospective  
summiters. It is believed April 16 incident was the worst one ever to occur on the tallest peak. Not withstanding such unpredictable,  notorious avalanches, ice falls, gaping crevasses, etc, more and more people go to Nepal because the lure of the majestic mountain is quite inviting. 

The following are the interesting facts associated with Mt. Everest:

01. World's tallest peak was named in 1856, after  British India Surveyor General George Everest, head of the British team that first surveyed the Himalayas, much against his wish. Mount Everest, in the early stages was  referred to as  Peak XV.
Edmund Hillary with Sherpa Tenzing Norgay-1953. first assault on Mt. Everest.www.telegraph.co.uk
 02 In 1953, Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, on May 29, 1953, became the first people to reach the summit - 8.848km from top to bottom.
 

 03. Over 4,000 climbers have tried to reach the summit in total. Only 600 made it.Over 250 climbers have lost their lives attempting to reach the summit.
Human traffic  to challenge Mt. Everest.tverse.com

 04. Every year more than 100,000 people, inclusive of more than 40,000 hikers from the U.K  come to Nepal  to hike the Himalayan mountains.

 05. Roughly 35,000 people try  to walk to the base camp from  Lukla’s Tenzing-Hillary Airport.
 

 06. The 60th anniversary of the first ascent by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay was celebrated  in the Spring of last year 2014.
Apa Sherpa and Phurba Tashi,each  reached the summit-an impressive 21 times.
www.diverkevin.com
  07. Two Sherpas, Apa Sherpa and Phurba Tashi, hold the joint record for most Everest ascents. The pair have each managed to reach the summit an impressive 21 times. Apa has successfully summited the mountain almost every year between 1990 and 2011.
 India landmass ) before its collision with Asia 40 to 50 million years ago.en.wikipedia.org
08. According to earth scientists, Mt. Everest is made of sedimentary rocks - sandstones and limestones  deposited in the huge ocean called ''Tethys'' that exited 450 million years ago and the presence of  shallow marine  fossils confirms  it. Because of Collision between two crustal plates Indo-Australian plate against the  Eurasian plate (in opposing direction,  the metamorphosed sedimentary rocks slowly lifted upward at roughly 4,5 inches a year  as the Himalayas rose. However,  the Himalayas and Mount Everest are young geologically speaking and mountain building (tectonic activities) began only 60 million years ago. It was 6000 plus journey of the India landmass (Indian plate) before its collision with Asia (the Eurasian plate) roughly 40 to 50 million years ago.
Collision of two plates and rise of the Himalayas.www.physicalgeography.net
The Earth  research team discovered in 1994 that Everest continues to grow approximately 4 millimeters (0.16 in) every year.
the Himalayas.www.mountainprofessor.com

The Himalayan  range.geography.howstuffworks.com
 09. The Himalayan range, has a length (running northwest to southeast) of  1,400 miles (2,300 kilometers);  and width  between 140 miles and 200 miles crossing  or abutting five countries-India, Nepal, Pakistan, Bhutan, and People's Republic of China. It is the  main source of three major rivers-Indus, Ganges, and Tsampo-Bramhaputra rivers  and  has  over 100 peaks  higher than 23,600 feet (7,200 meters) - all higher than any mountains found on any other continent. It is home to nine out 10 highest peaks in the world.
Tenzing-Hillary Airport,Nepal,aviationclub.aero
10. The nearest air-port to the base camp is Tenzing-Hillary Airport.  More than 60 flights a day land at the  Airport  during the peak season.  With just 1,500ft long and only 60ft wide, the runway ends in a blank mountain wall. It has an uphill gradient of 12 per cent and poor landing and navigational  facilities. So,  it is a challenge  for experienced pilots to make a safe landing here. Lukla airport  built on  a  carved hillside above the Dudh Kosi river at 9,200ft is now an essential part of Everest tourism, because of its proximity to the base camp. This airport is most suitable for  STOL (short take-off and landing) aircraft as the terrain is highly mountainous.

11. Despite the cost involved in going on an expedition, people in thousands flock to the base camp and have to wait in a long queue for further assault on the mountain.
cleaning of wastes at the Sagarmatha (Mt. Qomolangma) National Park in Nepal..www.theasian.asia
 12. Mt. Everest in the  last decade or so has become a garbage dump.  It is estimated that 50 tons of waste materials, leftovers, etc  and more left behind each season. The slopes are strewn with discarded oxygen bottles, climbing equipment, and plenty of human feces. Besides there are numerous dead bodies of early climbers who died during their assault on the most dangerous mountain.
Mt. Everest-Mouna Kea comparision. www.bbc.co.uk
 13. Of course Mount Everest is the highest point on Earth from the sea level, however, technically  Mauna Kea, an inactive Hawaiian volcano, holds the record as the world’s tallest mountain if you measure its height from the base, which is at the bottom of the ocean 10,200 meters (33,465 ft),  making it almost a mile taller tha Everest. But Mauna Kea, reaches a height of 4,205 meters (13,796 ft) above sea level; an incredible 6,000 meters (20,000 ft) below the water’s surface.

14. In June, 1924  British explorers George Mallory and Andrew Irvine on their expedition  disappeared  near the summit, along the Northeast Ridge. It is likely  that they might  have actually been the first to reach the summit, but, unfortunately  they never returned. Mallory's body was found 75 years later showing signs of a fatal fall. In 1922 in the expedition under George Mallory, seven Sherpas were killed when they were caught by the avalanche.
  
15. Other name of Mt. Everest:  Tibetans  and Sherpas  call it "Chomolungma"  which means "Mother Goddess of the Earth."The word Himalayas is a Sanskrit word meaning abode of snow. Many Himalayan peaks are sacred to both Hinduism and Buddhism. The American Himalayan Foundation (AHF) is a non-profit organization in the United States that helps Tibetans, Sherpas, and Nepalis living throughout the Himalayas and also in exile. The aim is to help them rebuild their culture and tradition. Founded  by Richard C. Blum, the late Sir Edmund Hillary was a Director of the foundation for more than 20 years.

16. Stacy Allison of Portland, Oregon is  the first American woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest, in 1988 (13 years after Junko Tabei of Japan (1975) and two years after Sharon Wood) In 1989  first two women, both Americans, reached  the summit. On May 23, mountaineer Melissa Arnot,  in 2010, summited Mount Everest for the sixth time, and became the first American woman to complete an ascent of the peak without supplemental oxygen.
On May 23, 2010  American Melissa Arnot, reached Mount Everest -the sixth time: adventureblog.nationalgeographic.com


17. Until 1856, when the Great Trigonometric Survey of India established its height, no one was aware  that Everest was the highest mountain in the world. It took several decades to establish the exact altitude of Everest. 


18. The lowest  temperature on the peak is - 40°C (-40°F); with wind chill - 60°C (-76°F)! Coldest month: February — average -27°C (-17°F) over 7,500m, Warmest month: August — average -20°C (-4°F) over 7,500m, Snow line: From 5,300m (17,400 ft) there's snow and ice all year. 

19. The death zone in mountaineering is above 8,000m (26,000 ft), where oxygen is insufficient to sustain human life (25% that of sea level). 844m of Everest is in the death zone.The summit of Everest reaches two-thirds of the way through the air of the earth’s atmosphere–at about the cruising altitude of jet airliners–

20. Most dangerous area on Everest: The Khumbu Ice Fall;  before the climbing season can begin, they must rope a safe route through Everest’s most fearsome obstacle,
A mountaineer traversing a ladder in the Khumbu Ice fall.en.wikipedia.org
the notorious Khumbu Ice fall (the Ice fall is a constantly shifting mass of ice blocks the size of buildings), - due to the unpredictable movement of the ice fall 
19+ deaths occurred. Biggest causes of death: avalanches, followed by falls.

Sherpas led by Jim Whittaker,May 01, 1963 first American to climb the summit.cnn.com
21. First American to summit: James Whittaker of Redmond, Washington and his Sherpa climbing partner Nawang Gombu, 1963; First female ascent: 1975 — Junko Tabei (Japan), First blind submitter: Erik Weihenmayer (US) in 2001.

22. Bottled oxygen: typically needed from 7,900m (26,000 ft), making the last 900m (3,000 ft). possible for most climbers (average 3,000 USD)

23. The worst year on  Mt. Everest, in terms of deaths, was 1996 when 15 climbers died in the season, including nine in a single incident

24. Jordan Romero13 year old young American broke the record  in May, 2010 previously held by 15 year old Ming Kipa of Nepal. 

25. Among the British climbers, Kenton Coo has held the highest record. He has  climbed to the summit of Everest 11 times.

Malavath Poorna,the youngest Indian girl to climb Mt. Everest..cnn.com
 26. Malavath Poorna, 13 year old daughter of a poor Indian farmer became the youngest girl to climb Mt. Everest May 24,2015.

 27. Alan Arnette, a mountaineer from  Colorado whose blog is a trusted source of Everest information, has mentioned that  from 1924 to August 2015, 283 people have died on the mountain – 170 foreigners and 113 Nepalis – leading to an overall deaths-to-summit ratio of about 4%.

Ref: 

http://www.livescience.com/32594-which-mountain-is-the-tallest-in-the-world.html

http://listverse.com/2014/05/07/10-things-you-might-not-know-about-mount-everest/


http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20151008-the-tragic-story-of-mt-everests-most-famous-dead-body

                  (Modified November 01, 2016)