WELCOME TO THE MOUNTAIN
Mount Everest is located at Latitude 27° 59' N and Longitude 86° 56' E, it’s summit ridge separates Nepal and Tibet.
In 1841 Sir George Everest, the Surveyor General of India recorded the location of Mount Everest, then known as Peak b. It was surveyed by the British in 1848 and the height was calculated as 30,200 ft. In 1852 as part of the Great Trigonometrical Survey of India, Radhanath Sikdar, an Indian mathematician and surveyor from Bengal, was the first to identify Everest as the world's highest peak using calculations based on measurements made from 150 miles away (measurement could not be made from closer due to a lack of access to Nepal). The mountain was renamed Peak XV in 1854. The first height measurement of Peak XV was completed by the surveyor Andrew Waugh in 1856 and was found to be exactly 29,000 ft, but was publicly declared to be 29,002ft. The arbitrary addition of 2ft was to avoid the impression that an exact height of 29,000ft was nothing more than a rounded estimate. In 1955 the height of Everest was adjusted by 26ft to 29,028ft and in 1999 the National Geographic Society revised the elevation to 29,035ft, however Nepal does not accept the revised elevation. The height of Mount Everest rises a few millimetres each year to geological forces.
In 1865 Andrew Waugh re-named Peak XV ‘Mount Everest’ in honour of Sir George Everest saying at the time:
“I was taught by my respected chief and predecessor, Colonel Sir George Everest, to assign to every geographical object its true local or native appellation. But here is a mountain, most probably the highest in the world, without any local name that we can discover, whose native appellation, if it has any, will not very likely be ascertained before we are allowed to penetrate into Nepal. In the meantime the privilege as well as the duty devolves on me to assign…a name whereby it may be known among citizens and geographers and become a household word among civilised nations.”
The Tibetan (Sherpa) name for Mount Everest is Chomolungma or Qomolangma translated as ‘Mother of the Universe’ or ‘Goddess Mother of the Snows’, and the Chinese name is Zhūmùlǎngmǎ Fēng or Shèngmǔ Fēng. According to English accounts of the mid-19th century the local name in Darjeeling for Mount Everest was Deodungha, or ‘Holy Mountain’.
In the early 1960s, the Nepalese Government realised that Mount Everest had no Nepalese name. This was because the mountain was not known and named in ethnic Nepal. The government set out to find a name for the mountain, the Sherpa/Tibetan name Chomolungma was not acceptable, as it would have been against the idea of unification of the country. The name Sagarmatha meaning ‘Goddess of the Sky’ was eventually chosen.
The conquering of Mount Everest was always going to be a difficult task to achieve, mostly due to political tensions in the region, but in 1907 Natha Singh, a member of the British Indian Survey, obtained permission to enter the Mount Everest region from the Nepalese side. He mapped the Dudh Kosi valley - gateway to the southern route up the mountain - to the end of the Khumbu Glacier. In 1913, Captain John Noel, a British military officer, travelled to Tibet to find the best way to approach Everest. At the time foreigners were forbidden in Tibet so he had to travel in disguise. He came to within 60 miles of Everest, only to find his way blocked by an unexpected mountain range that did not appear on his faulty maps. He was however able to see the top 1000ft of Everest when it appeared out of the shifting mists, and described the "glittering spire of rock fluted with snow".
In 1920 the Dalai Lama opened Tibet to outsiders after the political situation eased causing the Royal Geographic Society and the Alpine Club to hold a joint meeting to discuss how to proceed with an expedition to Mount Everest. Explorers had reached both the North and South Poles, so the next "feat" was Everest. The Mount Everest Committee was formed and a resolution was passed stating that an expedition would take place the following year with reconnaissance as the first priority, (although a summit attempt was not discouraged). There followed many expeditions by climbers from many countries and routes were discovered but the summit was yet to be conquered.
Led by Colonel John Hunt, a British expedition made a summit attempt in 1953. By April 22 the route through the Icefall was completed and Camp VI was established at the foot of the Lhotse face at 23,000ft. After a lengthy delay, the South Col was reached via the Lhotse Face route pioneered by the Swiss the year before. The first summit assault was made on 26 May by Evans and Bourdillon from the South Col using closed-circuit oxygen sets. The same day Hunt led a party of Sherpas from the South Col with the intent to establish Camp IX (27,900ft) on the SE Ridge for the second assault party, consisting of Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay. Evans and Bourdillon reached the South Summit (28,750ft) by 1300hrs but were forced to descend due to the lateness of the hour, strong winds, and lack of oxygen. The Second Assault was made by Hillary and Tenzing on 29 May using open-circuit oxygen sets. They left Camp IX at approximately 0630 hrs reaching the South Summit by 9 AM. After negotiating the 40ft Hillary Step, they were the first to reach the summit of Everest, reaching the top at 1130hrs. After descending to the South Col, they were met by George Lowe, another member of the team, Hillary stated: "Well, George, we knocked the bastard off!"
Some other notable Everest ‘firsts’.....
On 3 April 1933, the first flight was made over Mount Everest by two British Westland biplanes powered by turbocharged Pegasus engines. The planes took off from Purneah, India. Buffeted by downdrafts and Everest's plume, the flight failed to obtain a photo of the summit when the photographer blacked out due to a ruptured oxygen line. The flight was successfully repeated on 19 April, although the actual summit wasn't flown over this time.
In 1990, Jean Noel Roche and his son Roche (Zebulon) Bertrand became the first father and son to summit together. They flew together on a tandem paraglider from the South Col and landed at base camp on the 7 Oct. Roche Bertrand was 17 years old and became the youngest person to ever climb Everest at the time.
On 7 Oct 2000 Slovenian Davo Karnicar accomplished an uninterrupted ski descent from the summit. In only five hours, Davo skied uninterruptedly (without taking skis off) from the top of the mountain to base camp at 5,340m.
22 May 2001 - good day for Everest ‘firsts’ .
Roche (Zeb) Bertrand and his wife Clair Bernier Roche became the first husband and wife team to paraglide from the summit together. They took off from just below the summit at about 0900 hrs and at 1022 hrs set down on the Rongbuk glacier, at just above 6400m.
Austrian Stefan Gatt became the first man to snowboard on Mount Everest. He descended on the board to 8650m then carried the board to Advance Base Camp (ABC) on the Rongbuk Glacier.
On 23 May 2001 Having made the summit at around 6am Frenchman Marco Siffredi started his descent, 2 & 1/2 hours later, Marco, on his Elan Snowboard, completed the first-ever descent of Everest of this type. The word from Everest was, "Here it is, Marco made it to the summit today. He made it before the Sherpas at 6AM. He watched the day rise alone on top of the world, after the Sherpa climbers joined him [on the Summit], he locked into his bindings and went for it. The "Norton" couloir North Face, at 200 meters from the summit one of his bindings broke due to extreme cold (-35 C), a Sherpa came to his aid, fixed it with a tool kit, and he went on to pulverize extreme snowboarding history; 8848 meters to 6400 meters, no rappels, no ropes, a 2 to 2-1/2 hour descent. There you go!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
OCTOBER 2008, THE FIRST EVER SKYDIVE OVER EVEREST – STORY TO FOLLOW!!!