Mount Everest

Sunrise behind Everest

Sunrise behind Everest

I took this photograph from Kalapattar in 2004 on my first trip to Nepal. We got up during the night to climb Kalapattar so that we could watch the sun rise behind Mt. Everest.

Now, some facts about Mt. Everest:

  • At 8,850m it is the highest mountain in the world
  • In Nepal it is called Sagarmatha
  • And in Tibet Chomolungma
  • Sir George Everest

    Sir George Everest

  • There are many different interpretations of these names into English but basically they call Mt. Everest the “Great Mother Goddess”
  • It is part of the Himalaya Range in Asia
  • The summit is the border between Tibet and Nepal
  • From the summit you can see -
    • To the South, Nepal with its green valleys and the plains of India
    • To the North, the wind swept Tibetan plateau
  • The mountain was named after Sir George Everest (British Surveyor General of India) in 1865
  • The Hillary Step is a 40ft wall of rock and ice just below the summit (the last big obstacle I have to overcome before reaching the summit!)
  • Everest is 60 million years old
  • It takes 2 months to climb Everest
  • At the summit there is 1/3 of the oxygen we would breathe at sea-level. Why? Because the atmospheric pressure is only 30% of that at sea level, so for each breath we take we only get 30% as many oxygen molecules
  • Bar-headed Goose

    Bar-headed Goose in flight

  • The Death Zone is the area above 8,000m where humans can not live for more than a few days
  • At these altitudes you may suffer from Frost Bite: with the extreme cold and lack of oxygen the body says “I need to keep the organs and the brain working” so it starts to shut down the capillaries in the fingers and toes, so the blood goes where it is needed most.If this happens for too long the skin will turn white, then red and then black.
  • Climbing too quickly can lead to Altitude Sickness: HACE (High Altitude Cerebral Oedema) and HAPE (High Altitude Pulmonary Oedema); (those funny Yanks came up with HACE and HAPE; they spell oedema without the “o”, kind of like they leave the “u” out of lots of words such as colour and honour)
  • The only bird that flys over Mt Everest is the Bar Headed Goose. Rüppell’s griffon vulture can fly higher, 2.5 km higher, but if he was flying over Mt Everest he’d be lost! They live in Central Africa :)