Location: Latitude 27° 59′ North Longitude 86° 56′ East
Altitude: 8,848 metres (29,029 ft)
First Ascent: Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, 1953
Mount Everest (also known as Mount Chomolungma and Sagarmatha ‘goddess of the sky’), is the world’s highest mountain at 8,848 metres (29,029 ft), situated in the Himalayas on the Nepal – China border. Its pre-eminence was established when, in 1856, the British Great Trigonometric Survey ascertained the first published height of Everest, then known as Peak XV, at 29,002 ft (8,840 m). In 1865, the mountain was given its official English name by the Royal Geographical Society, in honour of Sir George Everest.
Everest attracts many experienced mountaineers as well as climbers who pay professional mountain guides to complete the ascent. The mountain has many inherent dangers including altitude sickness, weather and wind. By the end of 2010 Everest had claimed 220 lives, and conditions are so difficult in the ‘death zone’ (higher than 8,000 m/26,246 ft) that most corpses have been left where they fell. Exhaustion, the extreme cold, the dangers of the demanding climb and the low level oxygen (pressure is about one third of pressure at sea level), makes Mount Everest a very challenging climbing objective. Over the years, 1 in every 10 successful climbs has ended in death, as the majority occur while descending the mountain rather than on the ascent to the summit. Above 8,000 meters the terrian is called the ‘death zone’ due to the low oxygen levels, so most climbers use supplementary oxygen once past this point.
Mount Everest has two main climbing routes, the southeast ridge from Nepal and the northeast ridge from Tibet, as well as many other less frequently climbed routes. Of the two main routes, the southeast ridge is technically easier and is the more frequently used route – this was the route used by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay in 1953 and the first recognized of fifteen routes to the top by 1996.