On the border of Nepal and China, in the Tibet Autonomous Region, is Everest – the famous “Roof of the World”, the highest peak not only in the Himalayan mountain system, but also on the entire planet.
Many mountaineers and lovers of strong sensations have lost their lives trying to conquer the highest point of the globe. But Everest, as if by magic power, continues to attract expedition after expedition.
Everest is the highest mountain in the world
The first known to historians visits to the Himalayas by Europeans date back to the XVII century, when Catholic Jesuit monks in an effort to expand the world of Christianity fearlessly went into the realm of ice and stone. Of course, in their endeavor to conquer the souls of the mountaineers, they did not attempt to conquer mountain peaks.
Attempts of mountaineering ascents of Europeans in the Himalayas began in the middle of the XIX century. However, the need to climb Everest from the side of Tibet, as Nepal did not allow foreigners to pass through its territory, made these ascents especially dangerous. The Great Mountain took many lives. It is still unknown whether English mountaineer George Mallory, who died with his companions in 1824, managed to conquer Everest. His body was found in 1999 at an altitude of 8115 meters. But was he ascending or had he already descended? This is still debated to this day.
The Nepalese government lifted its ban in 1950, and then the Annapurna peak (8091 m) was conquered for the first time. Attempts to conquer Everest continued, and the first people to set foot on its summit on May 29, 1953, were Sherpa Norgay Tenzing and New Zealander Edmund Hillary. They went to Everest wearing oxygen masks, as at that time it was considered impossible to climb to such a height without them. But later Reinhold Messner (Italy) and Peter Habeler (Germany) proved that this was a misconception: on May 8, 1978 they climbed Everest without oxygen equipment. Messner set another record: on August 20, 1980, he climbed to the top of the world alone.
And before that, on February 17, 1980, Poles Krzysztof Velicki and Leszek Cichy set a unique record: they were the first to climb Everest in winter.
Everest is the “Roof of the World”
The highest mountain in the world is located in Central Asia, in the realm of eternal ice, in the Himalayas. This natural wonder, the Himalayan Mountains, rose from the sea 20 million years ago.
The highest point on the globe is located in a majestic setting of mountains ranging from 7000 to 8000 meters high, which together with many lesser peaks really seems to be a real “Roof of the World”.
George Everest, an English engineer and surveyor, who was in charge of the Indian Survey between 1823 and 1843, surveyed and mapped the Himalayan Mountains. But he was unable to determine which of the ten enormous peaks (each over 8000 meters high!) was the highest. Only in 1852 Andrew Waugh, a student of Everest, established that this honor belongs to the peak with the serial number XV. In 1865 it was named Everest – in honor of Sir George, who was awarded the title of nobleman for his services.
The mountain, which the Nepalese call “Mother of the Gods”, was formed 20 million years ago, in the sea. True, there are other hypotheses – mainly that the Himalayas are much older. But the height of these mountains and their “young” look rather speak in favor of the traditional hypothesis.
As a result of tectonic deformation, the seabed rose, causing a long process of layering of rocks from which the cliffs were formed. This process continues even now: every year the Himalayas “grow up” by about 5 centimeters.
Mt. Everest is located in the Himalayas. This crescent-shaped mountain massif stretches for 2500 km. The main rivers of South Asia Indus, Ganges and Brahmaputra originate here. The Himalayas rise above the Indo-Gangetic plain in three grandiose steps, divided from south to north.
The southern, lower stage, the Pre-Himalaya, has an average height of 900-1200 meters. In the north is a system of separate mountain ranges and ridges – the Lesser Himalayas, whose average height is 3000-4000 m, and whose peaks are up to 6500 meters. Finally, the beauty and pride of nature is the Greater Himalayas, a chain of ridges up to 90 km wide and up to 8848 m high. The average height of the passes reaches 4500 meters, some exceeding 6000 meters.
The Himalayas are inhabited up to an altitude of 5000 m. The higher areas are inhabited by large animals: highland yak, musk ox (musk ox), snow leopard (snow leopard) – now quite rare species listed in the Red Book.
Every year thousands of trekkers come to the Khumbu Valley and camp at the foot of Everest.
For a considerable fee Sherpas accompany tourists, those who are healthy and well prepared, to the summit.
- In Tibet, Everest is known as Chomolungma (“Divine Mother Earth”).
- Nepalese Sherpas use the name Sagarmatha (“Mother of the Gods”).
- Ethnic groups: Sherpas (Nepal), Tibetans (China).
- Languages: Kanglo – Tibeto-Burman group; Tibetan – Sino-Tibetan family.
- Monetary units: Nepalese rupee, yuan.
- Religion: Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity. Bon.
- Altitude: 8848 m.
- Height of the nearest peaks: Lhotse Main (8516 m), Lhotse Middle (8414 m), Lhotse Shar (8383 m); Makalu (8481 m), Nuptse (7855 m), Changtse (7543 m), Pumori (7161).
- In fifty-five years, more than 2,500 people have visited Everest and more than 200 have died while climbing.
Climate and weather
- Summer is dominated by the southwest monsoon, bringing warmth and moisture, and most rainfall occurs during this time.
- The winter is dominated by the northwest monsoon, which brings cold, dry air masses.
- Westerly winds prevail in the Everest area, with speeds of 80-100 meters per second at altitudes above 7500 meters.
- With northern winds at high altitudes the temperature drops to minus 35-40ºC, with southern winds – to minus 10-15ºC.
- The history of observations recorded the temperature on Everest up to 60ºC below zero and wind speed up to 200 km/h.
- The search for “Yeti” – the mythical “Bigfoot” of the Himalayas – has been going on since the 19th century. However, except for huge footprints, no solid evidence of its existence has been found so far.
- In translation from Sanskrit the name Himalaja means “stronghold of snows”.
- Sherpas serving as guides in the Himalayas are called snow tigers.