30 Interesting Facts about Mount Everest
Mount Everest is the world’s highest mountain at 8,848m (29,031ft) above sea level.
1. The Name Everest was originally proposed by Andrew Waugh, British Surveyor General of India (1810–21). He chose the name of the world’s highest peak after his predecessor at the post, Sir George Everest.
2. China and Nepal are the owners of Mount Everest.
The summit of Everest is on the border of Nepal and Tibet (China). Nepal owns Everest’s south side and China its north.
3. Mount Everest is technically NOT the tallest!
Although Mount Everest is the highest mountain above sea level, Hawaii’s Mauna Kea is the tallest mountain base-to-peak at 10,210m (33,500 ft), but only 4,205m (13,796 ft) is above sea level.
4. Mount Everest is now 8,848.86 meters high.
Mount Everest is part of the Himalayan range, which contains all of the world’s 8,000m+ peaks and most of the hundred highest peaks. Everest’s tallest peak is 8,848.86 meters (29,031.69 feet) high , but it’s still growing higher.
5. Mount Everest rises 40 cm per century!
The Himalayas are being formed by uplift of the Eurasian Plate caused by the Indian Plate sliding underneath. Everest grows on average 4 mm (0.2”) a year or about 40 centimeters (16 inches) per century.
6. Mount Everest has two heights.
a) 8,848.86 meters (with snow/ice cover) is the official height recognized by China and Nepal in 2020.
b) 8,844.43 meters (geological height) is a height measured by China, which is also recognized by Nepal, as the “rock height” of Everest.
7. Everest’s Summit is not the farthest point from the Earth Center.
Although Mount Everest is the highest mountain in the world, the farthest point from the Earth’s center is atop Mount Chimborazo (elevation 6,310 m) in Ecuador, South America. Earth is an obligated spheroid, which bulges at the equator about 21 km radically compared to at the poles.
8. Mount Everest is about 60 million years old.
In 1924, explorer Noel Odell was the first to discover marine fossils on Mount Everest, which proved that the Mount Everest area was originally covered by an ocean. The limestone and sandstone on the summit were found to be submarine sedimentary rocks formed approximately 450 million years ago.
However, geologists consider that Everest has only been a mountain for about 60 million years, that is since the Indian Plate started being subducted by the Eurasian Plate forming the Himalayas.
Mount Everest must be growing faster now than in the past if that’s so, as it would only take about 2 million years for Everest to rise 8,848 meters at recent measurements of 4 mm/year.
A 60-million-year age would make Everest’s average growth rate around 0.01 mm/year. Of course, the mountain being eroded as it rises has to be taken into account…
9. Everest’s climate is one of the harshest in the world.
From a height of 5,300 meters (17,400 feet), the mountain is capped with snow and ice all year round, and violent storms with strong winds are not uncommon. People who want to climb the mountain must wear specially-designed warm clothes to prevent exposure and frostbite as well as goggles to prevent snow blindness.
The warmest temperature on the summit is -20°C (-4°F)!
10. Nothing lives on the top of Mount Everest.
There is no living species, animal or plant, on the top of Mount Everest because of its harsh climate and lack of oxygen. Below the altitude of 6,000 meters, animals such as the snow leopard, Himalayan tahr (a goat-like species), and Himalayan yak can be found.
11. Dead Bodies are a Common Scene on Mount Everest.
When people die climbing Everest, their bodies are left on the mountain and become landmarks for other mountaineers. It’s almost impossible to bury a body on Mount Everest due to the ice-hard ground. And it is as great a challenge for anyone to carry/drag the dead bodies due to the physical effort needed in the low-oxygen environment.
12. About 300 People Have Died on Mount Everest.
Everest climbers face threats to their life at many times. The biggest causes of death are avalanches, hypoxia, exhaustion and hypothermia, as well as falls or other incapacitating accidents.
13. The average death rate is about 2% on Mount Everest.
The cumulative death rate is about 2% , making Everest the 7th deadliest mountain in the world.
14. The death zone is above 8,000 meters.
The death zone is defined as the region above 8,000 meters (26,000 feet) on Mount Everest. At such a high altitude, oxygen concentration is only 1/4 of that at sea level, which means that most human beings cannot survive for more than a few minutes without supplemental oxygen.
15. There is a “2 o’clock rule” when climbing Mount Everest.
Because of its cold and unpredictable weather, climbers must be sure to get to the summit by 2pm, or else experience has shown that they should turn back to avoid being caught in the death zone or short of camp in failing light and falling temperatures, not to mention bad weather.
16. Jon Krakauer reached Everest’s peak but his team were lost “Into Thin Air”.
In 1996, Jon Krakauer, a reporter for Outside magazine followed a mountaineering team to climb Everest, and he successfully reached the summit and got down safely. However, eight of his teammates died in a blizzard while making their way back.
The book “Into Thin Air” records the truth of the mountain disaster, which was the deadliest in history before 2014, when an avalanche killed 16 Sherpas. The following year the Nepal earthquake killed at least 22 climbers who had already returned to base camp, taking the record for the deadliest Everest disaster.
17. The movie “Everest” was partially filmed on Mount Everest.
The movie “Everest” tells the true story about the mountain disaster in 1996. Parts of the action were filmed on Everest, in a location with an altitude of 4,750 meters in Nepal, which is not far from its EBC. Most of the other scenes were filmed in studios.
18. Francys Arsentiev is known as “Sleeping Beauty on Mount Everest”.
She was the first woman to reach the summit of Everest without an oxygen supply, but she died on her way back due to her weakened state. Francys Arsentiev has been “sleeping” on Everest since 1998.
19. Everest has been summited over 9,000 times.
The first recorded ascent of the summit of Everest was in 1953. Since then, more than 5,000 different people have stood on the top of Everest over 9,000 times. Some of them (most being Sherpa guides) have climbed it more than once.
20. Kami Rita Sherpa has climbed Mount Everest the most times.
He reached the summit for the 24th time on May 21, 2019. He has also conquered other peaks higher than 8,000 m in the Himalayas, including Cho-Oyu, Manaslu, Annapurna, and Lhotse.
21. Mount Everest has many firsts and climbing records.
Mount Everest was first climbed on May 29, 1953 by Sir Edmund Hillary from New Zealand and Tenzing Norgay, a Sherpa from Nepal.
Chinese mountaineers Wang Fuzhou, Gong Bu, and Qu Yinhua climbed to the summit in 1960 — China’s first ascent. It was also the first summit of the North Slope in Tibet.
In 1975, Junko Tabei, a Japanese woman, became the first woman to summit Mount Everest.
The first American to reach the summit of Mount Everest was Jim Whittaker alongside the Sherpa Nawang Gombu on May 1, 1963.
The first blind person to reach the summit was American Erik Weihenmayer in 2001.
A Nepalese couple got married on the summit of Mount Everest in 2005, and became the first people to get married there.
In 2008, the Beijing Olympic torch arrived on Mount Everest at 9:17 am on May 8th, marking the first time in human history that the Olympic torch had been carried to the world’s highest peak and the highest place to hand on the torch in Olympic history.
Jordan Romero from America took the youngest climber to reach the summit record on May 22, 2010 at 13 years and 345 days old.
Read more on Notable Records of Mountaineering on Everest.
22. An average Everest climber needs 35 hours of bottled oxygen.
On average an Everest climber will use 7 bottles of oxygen on the way up and down and each bottle lasts about five hours [Nepal National Mountain Guide Association].
23. Tons of human poop is frozen on Mount Everest.
Campaigners for a cleaner Everest estimate that about 8,000kg of human feces has been left on Everest per year (at an average of 800 climbers per year, that’s 10 kg each), and it is getting to be a serious environmental and health problem. Feces does not decompose in the permanently frozen higher altitudes. Climbers are required to carry their feces off the mountain now.
24. Everest climbers pee and poop in their tents if they can…
There is no specific place for toileting on Mount Everest above the lowest base camp. Frozen ground makes digging latrines impractical and the risk of exposure/frostbite means excreting in shelter is advisable. Some climbers carry waste bags and pee bottles for use in their camps, and some wear diapers.
25. It can take 9 weeks to climb Mount Everest.
To climb Everest, you would need to adapt yourself to the high altitudes. That means you have to train and wait at the base camps for weeks. Then when you are ready and the weather is good, you can go for the peak.
The actual climbing time from lowest base camp to the summit is only a few days, but you have to descend as well. Most of the average 2 months for an expedition is spent acclimating and waiting for suitable conditions to break camp and move on.
26. It takes at least 30,000 USD to climb Mount Everest.
Everyone has to pay a license fee to the Nepal government of US$11,000 per person  to climb the south face of Everest. You’d need to spend money on oxygen, equipment, supplies, and transport. You also have to pay the Sherpas in your team and pay for their oxygen tanks, equipment, and services.
27. Sherpas are the best guides on Mount Everest.
Providing guide services for mountaineering teams has become one of the main sources of income for Sherpas. Sherpas are one of the Tibetan ethnic groups native to the /tibet/altitude.htm, and they are all surnamed Sherpa. They mainly live in Nepal, with a few scattered in China, India, and Bhutan.
28. Sherpa guides get paid US$5,000 upwards for an expedition.
They not only lead the way for the climbers, but also many Sherpas help with carrying supplies for the climbers, as well as some rescue items, camping equipment, etc. Their packs can weigh more than five times as much as ordinary climbers’!
29. Helicopters can’t fly to the top of Mount Everest.
Generally speaking, a helicopter can fly up to altitudes of 5,000 meters. In higher places, like Everest’s summit, the low-density of the air means that the propellers can no longer achieve lift. Air evacuation is not possible for those high on Everest.
High-performance helicopters can get to the lowest of Everest’s base camps (altitude 5,200 m in China; 5,300 m in Nepal), which is the most expensive way to get to or from EBC.
30. Planes can fly over Mount Everest.
Today’s civil aviation aircraft can fly at altitudes of 8,000–10,000 meters. Flying over Mount Everest is not a problem for a plane, though most don’t due to increased risk of turbulence over high mountains. It is impossible to land on Everest.
The closest (civilian) airport to Everest is Tenzing-Hillary Airport in Lukla, Nepal at about 60 km (40 miles) away. Shigatse in Tibet also has a civilian airport, but most people fly in to the Tibet side of Everest using the much larger Lhasa Gonggar Airport.