It is 60 million years old, yet so young, new and refreshing. It is enveloped in ice, always freezing ( on an average -36C in winters and -19C in summers), yet it welcomes all its visitors with warmth. It is the tallest in the world, yet so humble. It unfolds life’s biggest lessons to all mountaineers who make an effort to reach its peak. Yes, it is none other than Mount Everest, which sits in the lap of Himalayas, in the Mahalangur section. Here are top ten amazing facts about this tallest mountain:
1. Die hard.
Climbing Everest is not everybody’s cup of tea; a lot of mountaineers lose their life on their way to summit. Data depicts that from 1924 to 2013, 249 people lost their lives on Everest, out of which 162 were westerners and 87 were sherpas. 1996 was the worst year on Everest in terms of deaths because in that season 15 climbers died including 9 in the same incident. Another scary year was as recent as 2012, when 11 climbers lost their lives. And hundreds of corpses are assumed to be still on the mountain. It is said that 1 in ten successful summits end in death and the country which has lost maximum people on mountain is Nepal with 46 deaths. Furthermore, the Khumbu ice fall is considered to be the most dangerous areas of the mountain due to the unpredictable movement of the icefall. The major causes of death on the mountain include a fall, avalanche, frost bite, hypothermia and altitude sickness. However it’s not impossible to reach the summit, if you have made enough preparations and trained your mind in body to face the challenges. So, climb on!!
2. “Rum Doodle Everest Submitter Board” – a unique Everest tradition.
Climbing Everest has many parts which include training, trekking, and then there is this tradition unique to the tallest mountain in the world- signing the white board at Rum Doodle Restraunt in Kathmandu. There are two white boards hanging behind the bar filled with signatures including sign of Hillary, messener and a few others who have created history! The final stage of climbing Everest is to register your feat with Ms. Elizabeth Hawley, known for decades as the keeper of all summiters’ record. It’s well known that if she said you summited; you summited, Otherwise you are out.
3. Mountains too grow!!
Sounds strange?? But it is true that Everest grows bigger in size every year. Each year the mountain grows taller by 4mm as a consequence of the upward thrust generated by two opposing tectonic plates. Moreover, the rock at the summit of Everest is marine limestone and would have been deposited on the seafloor around 450 million years ago.
4. With and without supplement oxygen.
All of us are well aware that at a high altitude human body requires supplement oxygen, because as we go high oxygen levels drop. There is 66% less oxygen in each breath on the summit of Everest than at sea level. However, some of the courageous or rather fittest climbers made it happen without the supplement oxygen. The first climbers to summit Everest without bottled oxygen were Italian Rienhold Messner with Peter Harber in 1978. In general, climbers start using bottled oxygen at 26000 ft. it makes 3000ft. difference in how they feel. so at 27,000 feet, they feel like they are at 24,000 feet .
5. First tweet from the Everest
The British record is held by Kenton Cool, who has now climbed to the summit of Everest 11 times. He sent the first tweet on one of his many trips to the top, he tweeted: “Everest summits no 9! 1st tweet from the top of the world thanks to a weak 3G signal”. Now Everest is mapped by Google too, though it cannot give you the images of summit. In 2011 a team captured images for Google maps and to capture these images they spent 12 odd days walking more than 70 miles to reach Everest base camp. It’s amazing how these days everything is available at the click of a mouse, even the Mount Everest.