10 interesting facts about Mount Everest

The North Face of Mount Everst.
Image credit: Luca Galuzzi - www.galuzzi.it
Date:15 September 2015 Tags:, ,

While you might be waiting for the film Everest to reach a silver screen near you, chew on these ten fascinating facts about the world’s tallest mountain.

1. Everest has many names

The mountain was named after Welsh surveyor George Everest, under whose auspices India was surveyed and its highest peaks measured. This came after a recommendation by Andrew Waugh, the British Surveyor-General of India. Although Everest is the best known of the moutain’s names, it is by no means the oldest. In Nepal it is called Sagarmāthā, Tibetans know it as Chomolungma and in Chinese it has two names: Zhūmùlǎngmǎ Fēng and Shèngmǔ Fēng. All these variations of its name refer to Holy Mother.

2. The animal that lives at the highest elevation is a spider

The himalayan jumping spider, or Euophrys omnisuperstes, has been found on Everest at an elevation of 6 700 metres. This makes it the highest-known permanent resident on Earth.

3. Only one in five make it to the top

Even with the advances in mountaineering equipment and weather monitoring systems, as few as one in five of those who set out to summit Everest actually make it to the top.

4. Few Africans have tried or succeeded

Although thousands of people have ascended to the peak, only residents from four countries in Africa have attempted to summit: Algeria, Egypt, Kenya and South Africa.

5. The first ascent is celebrated in Nepal

Annual celebrations are held in Nepal to commemorate the first ascent made by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay in 1952.

6. Everest is only the tallest above sea level

The elevation of Mount Everest is 8 848 metres above sea level. Hawaii’s Mauna Kea is the tallest mountain in the world, measuring 10 210 metres from base-to-peak, though only 4 205 metres of that are above sea level.

7. It doesn’t get very warm

In the “warmest” month in Nepal, August, the temperature reaches its peak of -20 degrees, with temperatures dropping to -27 in February. The lowest temperature on Everest’s peak is -60 degrees, with a wind chill factor of -76.

8. Two Sherpas have reached the summit the most times

Sherpa mountaineers Apa Sherpa and Phurba Tashi have summitted Mount Everest 21 times.

9. Everest is the world’s dirtiest mountain

Since 2008 the Eco Everest Expedition have climbed Everest in an effort to clean up the estimated 50 tons of waste scattered on the slopes. To date they have collected a cumulative 13 tons of waste. In response to the effort to clean up the mountain, the Nepalese government enforced a rule stating all climbers must bring down 8 kilograms of waste on their descent or lose their $4 000 (about R54 000) deposit.

10. Everest has had a traffic jam

During the 2012 climbing season, 234 people reached the peak on a single day in May, while hundreds of others turned around. The mass of climbers caused some to wait up to two hours to start the final climb to the summit.

Compiled via CNN, AlanArnette.com, The Telegraph and LiveScience

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