The highest mountain in the world which stands at 8,848.86m high altitude from sea level typically known as Sagarmatha by Nepalese, and Chomolungma (Zhumulangma) by the Tibetians, stands right on the crest of the Great Himalayas of southern Asia that lies on the border between Nepal and Tibet. On the Nepali side, Mount Everest is located in the Sagarmatha National Park in Solukhumbu District. Whereas on the Tibetan side, it is located in Tingri County in the Xigaze area.
The tallest mountain in the world was formed by the movement of earth’s tectonic plates, as the Indian subcontinent plate collided with the Eurasian continental plate 60 million years ago and was discovered as the highest peak in the world not until the 19th century. The Peak of Heaven has been a dream of many since then. And people flock in the country to have a glance at it up close through their own eyes.
New Zealander Edmund Hillary and Nepali Sherpa Tenzing Norgay got to the peak i.e. the Top of the World, on May 29, 1953 at 11:30 a.m the first time ever. They made their final climb for the summit after spending a fitful night at 27,900 feet. News of their achievement flashed around the world from June 2, the day of Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation, and the whole of Britons cheered the expedition and reaching of the summit the first time ever as a sign of good omen for the country’s future.
And till today, people are left with the ambition to do the same. So, we see hundreds of people try this journey with utmost enthusiasm and great zeal with full motivation, risking their lives even though they know how potentially dangerous the Mountain can be, due to the extreme altitude, avalanches, icefalls, the height, freezing temperatures, high winds, and other hazards, still put their life on the line and march forward to the voyage.
“According to the Himalayan Database, as of January 2019, 5,294 mountaineers have triumphantly climbed Mt Everest. On average, around 700 to 800 climbers attempt to climb Mt Everest every year.” Definitely not an easy peak to climb. Even years and years of training and experience does not guarantee triumph and glory. The journey is not always successful, and climbers could also end up losing lives as many will not be able to withstand the difficulties the mountain beholds.
Climbing the highest peak of the world and reaching its summit is a dream of every thrill seeking serious climber, and they are able to sacrifice a lot of their time and money towards the mission. None, however, is able to do that alone and needs help and guidance from those who have been on such expeditions since long. With this, we mean those organizers and experienced guides who take responsibility for Mt Everest undertaking preparations as well as climbers’ safety. These companies need to have a valid license from the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation of Government of Nepal and only then, they can organize expeditions in the Himalayas.
Given the fact that working as a Sherpa, or climbing guide, on Everest is one of the riskiest jobs in any sport. Still hundreds of Sherpas come to the operation to welcome those daredevils with eyes filled with dreams and minds full of determination to help in the quest. A whole heartedly thanks and respect to those in charge and especially those Sherpas who have been helping fulfill dreams of many from around the world. The tribal name Sherpa means ‘people of the east’, since they originally hail from eastern Nepal. They are just one of well over 123 different ethnic groups across the country, well known for their rich culture, superior climbing skills and extreme endurance for high altitudes. The assumption is that years of living at high altitude has allowed their bodies to adapt genetically to lower oxygen and a thinner atmosphere.
The Himalaya mountains have monasteries, temples, preserved sacred forests and other natural sacred sites, trees, and springs all of which the mountain has a cultural significance too. Those of Tibet call Mount Everest, the holy Mother, and are significantly called by Nepalese as “the gods of sky”. The higher himalaya includes Mt Kailash at 6,714 meters where Lord Shiva (the Supreme Lord) meditated along with his wife goddess Parvati according to the ancient Hindu scriptures such as Skanda Purana, Rig Veda, Ramayana and Mahabharata. Gods as well as the demons were believed to live in the high peaks, and the Yeti (the so-called Abominable Snowman) was said to roam the lower slopes. Hence, himalayas have always been the source of peace and tranquility. It is also known as the land for practicing meditation, yoga and renouncement to reach oneness with god.
The mountain is thus, ancient, holy, solemn, and far beyond the control of any living. When one is on foot there, then they are completely at the mountain’s mercy. No matter a steady belief system, or positive thought process, or how fit one is or how focused and prepared for the voyage one feels one is, they will always be on their knees taking blessings and praying before the journey even starts. The blessings are what the climbers seek before the expedition. It would be unwise to climb without a blessing, and so the Everest Puja is carried out – a prerequisite for any expedition to the roof of the world. Because a life is nothing in front of a massive, divine peak.
There are popular trekking and climbing routes in Mount Everest region. The best trekking routes are Everest Base Camp, Gokyo Lakes, Chola Pass, 3 High Passes Trek and Island Peak Climb, Amadablam climbing. Trekkers and climbers can book those trekking and climbing packages with us.
Climbing Mount Everest requires lots of willpower, mental stability, and a lot more physical endurance.
The total days required for the expeditions can vary largely from person to person. However, the average is between 7 weeks to about 11 weeks. It really depends on the crafted itinerary, equipment, support crew, and of-course the climbers.
The first week is all about reaching the Everest Base Camp. The rest of the week is for preparation for the climb to reach the top and for moving from one camp to another different camps, ascending and descending the mountain.
How to get to Everest?
The summit of Mt. Everest can be reached through two different routes. One from Nepal and the other from Tibet. But the more popular and preferred side is from Nepal that is the south face of Mt. Everest which is considered a little on the easier side. The north side (Tibet’s side), rescues are far complicated as helicopters are not allowed to fly on the Tibetan side.
One of the best, fastest ways to reach the Camp is through Helicopter Tour; that takes you on the lap of the mighty Everest along with other Himalayan ranges. This Everest Base Camp Helicopter Tour is suitable for those who are not in favor of long days of trekking/ hiking and have a limited time schedule.
Another adventurous way for those who seek to walk all the way round is by 30 minutes scenic fly from Kathmandu to Lukla and trek for up to 10 days to the Base Camp and up to the peak simultaneously.
The heavenly peak has a certain time of the year in which it welcomes the climbers. The calmest time of the year for the tallest peak is definitely in May month, right before monsoon season when temperatures are warmer and the high-altitude winds known as the jet stream have casted away from the mountains. It is one of the best times to attempt an ascent to the summit. Climbers are supposed to strictly avoid visiting the Everest region during the rainy season, as it can make the trail conditions slippery and dangerous for the mountaineers.
The summit temperature never rises above 0° C (32° F). Its temperatures in January are on average of -36° C (-32 ° F) and can drop to -60° C (-76° F), and its average summit temperature in July is -19° C (-2° C). Weather conditions in the high summit are really very difficult to predict.Temperatures can alter unexpectedly at any time and any day. The weather and climate of Mount Everest is one of extremes.
One of the most concerned issues that climbers worry about is the high-speed wind which frequently attacks the mountaineers. At times, the wind is so strong and fast that it can easily blow climbers off the Mountain. On the other hand, such powerful wind sets off air pressure to the extreme too. Climbers could actually lose their lives because of sudden drops in air pressure triggered by high winds. Hence, mountaineers are advised not to make attempts on the summit during the high winds. As wind chills at the summit are at times as low as -70° C (-90° F) and exposed skin would be frostbitten almost instantaneously at this very temperature. Henceforth it is extremely important to wait for the best time of the year to ascend the scary yet appealing Mt. Everest.
Another aspect to really take a look into is the avalanches. “Researchers including Paul Firth studied the death toll of more than 14,000 climbers and Sherpas between 1921 and 2006 in a team report published in the British Medical Journal.The majority of these deaths were caused either by falls, which was 59 percent, or by avalanches (which was 39 percent), or hazardous conditions such as flooding.” In addition to the challenges possessed by Everest’s location and the climatic condition, the aftermath of high altitudes on the human body are utterly scary. The riskiest place of all in the expedition is above an altitude of 8,000 meters primarily called the “death zone.” This is where the oxygen level and atmospheric pressure are too low to sustain human life. The summit of Everest is at 8,848.86 meters, making the death zone of 848.86 meters unavoidable for glory-seeking mountaineers. Climbers who spend long periods in this region can develop altitude sickness and even brain swelling. This may lead to high altitude cerebral edema (HACE). HACE can cause nausea and vomiting. Even more dangerously threatening, it can lead to difficulty in thinking capacity. Here, climbers can even forget where they are and what they are actually doing and have hallucinations. This can make a dangerous climb even more life-threatening with fluid in the lungs, fatigue, extreme weakness, suffocated with persistent cough, and on top, snow blindness- the inability to see due to the glare from snow and ice and of course the frostbite and that the body starts to lose its life, minute by minute and cell by cell. So, utmost care and precaution here is very much necessary. But on the contrary, climbers once they get to 8,000 meters, they take it as an easy climb of 848.86 meters and forget that it’s even called “the death zone” for a reason, so spellbound by the fact that they have almost completed the mission.
Acute mountain sickness is another risk factor up there in the mountain. Climbers get affected due to less oxygen and air pressure in the atmosphere. After a certain ascend to the peak, climbers will require supplementary oxygen to move further ahead. There should be enough supplementary oxygen too. The longer the stay up there, chances of it getting the oxygen deprived can be life threatening; that is indeed another big concern.
The weather there too remains very unpredictable up in the mountains. This is also a major hindrance for the climbers. Many climbers start their journey in good weather but get held up by storms out in the blue.
There are thousands of unsuccessful attempts fighting still to get to the top, tragedies happening, every year on every attempt, numerous factors which yells that the peak’s expedition is scary and life-threatening. The temptation to push for a summit after passing all the hurdles and desire to reach the peak require a very practical approach.The climbers should set a “turnaround time” so that they can back down and descend no matter how close the Summit was/is. Hundreds of news headlines with even the most experienced falling, and bodies of hundreds are still there waiting to be ascended down. Nevertheless, thousands from dozens of countries are seen at the Base Camp right now. And many are planning to make a bid for the summit of the world’s tallest peak in the next few weeks or next year or that they have it on their bucket list for life. Nothing will, nothing has and nothing will ever stop these adventurous risk-taking, daredevils from planning to stand on the tallest mountain in the world.
Everest has and Everest will still continue to be so alluring, despite the costs, the crowds, and the risks. For those adventurers who are drawn to Everest, the mountain’s top is a lifelong dream for which they can risk what is the most precious- the life! And that is where Everest is? IT IS AT THE HEART OF EVERY PEOPLE!
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