Mount Everest

Mount Everest

Mount Everest is in the Himalaya range, on the frontiers of Tibet and Nepal, just north of India. Surveyors all agree that Everest is over 29,000 feet (8,839 m.), but disagree on its exact height.

Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, a local Sherpa, became the first men to climb the world's tallest mountain. They scaled the southern face of the mountain — the highest on the Asian continent and the world — on May 29, 1953, after more than two months of climbing. It rises to a height of 29,035 feet (8,849 m.) — about 5-1/2 miles high!

A British government survey in the middle 1800s set the height at 29,002 feet (8,839 m.). When Hillary and Tenzing scaled the peak, the most accepted height was 29,028 feet (8,847 m.); now it is generally agreed to be more like 29,035 feet (8,849 m.).

This great peak is named for Sir George Everest (1790-1865), a British surveyor-general of India. Tibetans call it Chomolungma, "Mother Goddess of the world"; and the Nepalese call it Sagarmatha.

Many climbers have tried to reach the roof of the world since the British first saw the mountain in the 1850s. Avalanches, crevasses and strong winds have combined with extreme altitude to make climbing a most difficult endeavor.

The first successful climbers, Hillary and Norgay, were members of a British expedition led by Sir John Hunt. The expedition left Katmandu, Nepal on March 10, 1953. It approached the mountain from the south side — which most early parties had called unclimable.

As the climbers advanced up the slopes, they set up a series of camps, each with fewer members. The last camp, one small tent at an altitude of 27,900 feet (8,504 m.), was established by Hillary and Norgay, who reached the summit alone.

In 1956 a Swiss expedition climbed Mount Everest twice. It also became the first group to scale Lhotse, the fourth highest peak in the world, and one of the many summits in the area.

Some Nepal Sherpas claim a creature they call the Yeti, or Abominable Snowman, lives around Mount Everest. But nobody has confirmed his existence yet!

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