Since 1953, when mankind achieved Mount Everest’s summit for the first time, the climb to reach the world’s tallest peak has changed considerably. Hundreds of climbers now make the trip up to the top thanks to a significant improvement in knowledge, technology. And even a “highway to the top” made available for those who are willing to take the plunge and pay a premium fee.
Find out everything you need to know about climbing Mount Everest, including the geology and permits, as well as how much it costs to reach the summit.
Where is Mount Everest?
Mt. Everest is located in the Himalayas on top of the world, between Nepal and Tibet. Nepalese refer to it as Sagarmatha, while Tibetans call it Chomolungma. Sir George Everest led a team that surveyed the mountain in 1841, hence its name Mount Everest was given after him.
Climbing to the world’s highest peak is a difficult and life-threatening experience owing to altitude sickness, landslides, and other factors; nevertheless, there are still many climbers eager to achieve it. standing on the roof of the earth is an experience that few people can say they’ve had.
Read more: The 10 highest mountains in Nepal
How high is Mount Everest?
The official height of Mount Everest, as determined by the Indian team in 1955 and maintained by both the Nepalese and Chinese governments to this day, is 8848 meters above sea level.
Mount Everest still keeps rising
Mount Everest, according to earth scientists, is between 50 and 60 million years old, which is “quite young” when compared to other mountains. The collision of the Indo-Eurasian and Eurasian continental plates generated the highest mountain peak on earth by forcing the rocks upward. Mount Everest rises about 6 millimeters each year as a result of the plates continually pushing against one another.
How dangerous is that high?
At an elevation of 8,848m, the amount of oxygen surrounding Mount Everest is only 1/3 of that at sea level, making breathing difficult for climbers since there isn’t enough oxygen. According to experts, the human body cannot survive at elevations above 6,000 meters. As you reach higher altitudes, there will be less oxygen available to your body, and it will face a variety of hazards including pulmonary edema, cerebral edema, and blood vessel blockage.
At such a height, the heart has to work much harder to transport blood around the body in order to supply oxygen to the organs, which means that frostbite damage will rapidly increase. When it’s cold outside, your extremities take a back seat to your internal organs, which have higher precedence. Fingers and feet are last, so when people are exposed to cold, they lose digits due to frostbite.
What does Mount Everest look like?
Mount Everest is a three-sided pyramid and about the same size as a dining room covered in snow all year. On busy days, climbers must give way to one another to stand at the top of the world, with enough space for around 6 people to take photographs with it.
When is the best season to climb Mount Everest?
The weather on Mount Everest is only suitable for climbing two times each year. The ideal climatic conditions to climb Everest occur in late May before the monsoon begins. Because the snow is too soft during the rainy season, landslides will be common. After the monsoon, the weather conditions may once again allow for a brief climb in October. During the winter, snowstorms will start in November and continue through March, making climbing impossible.
That is because Mount Everest has a unique climate.
The climate at Everest is extremely deadly. The highest temperature reaches a scorching -19 degrees Celsius on the peak in July, but the temperature drops to a bone-chilling -36 degrees Celsius in January at the top. Winters are cold, and storms may strike at any moment. The weather can change quickly unpredictable, even in the middle of summer. Mount Everest is so high that it reaches the lowest point of the vortex, which blows winds of 160 kilometers per hour. Because it rains in the summer months (mid-May to mid-September), there is a high risk of frostbite.
How long does it take to climb Mount Everest?
40 days is the average time it will take climbers to complete their ascent and descent. The journey is difficult, with most people starting the climb in early March and descending by the end of May.
In April, it’s time to start making preparations for the day of conquering the mountain in May. The majority of mountaineering organizations from all around the world congregate in Kathmandu at the end of March to begin their acclimatization process. Start the trek to basecamp, where the climbing guides will assist with the climb and supply food and gear. Prepare the route to the top from here.
Climbers practice many nights in higher camps throughout April to acclimate to the height, and groups of Nepalese guides reach the summit. The team built a road with fixed ropes from basecamp to the top in May, and many camps were fully equipped along the way.
When the last break is completed, several groups will separate and descend the mountain to rest – and the final ascent will be a 4-5 days’ trek. If everything goes as planned, most climbers should summit Everest and depart on their journey home around mid-June.
How dangerous is climbing Everest?
In 2019, there have been at least 295 fatalities on Mount Everest, according to the Himalayan Database. 5294 people reached the top of the mountain through 9159 successful climbs. The death toll rate is approximately 1.2%, which means that every 100 climbers will be stuck on the road for good.
The most common causes of death were landslides (41.6 percent), falls (12.5%), altitude sickness (16.6%), and exposure to extreme temperatures (10.1%).
“Climbing Everest has become safer thanks to better climbing equipment, better weather forecasts, and more people climbing with a commercial organization,” says Alan Arnette. “From 1923 to 1999: 170 deaths with 1,169 climbs rate of 14.5%. But the mortality rate gradually decreased from 2000 to 2018 with 7,990 climbs and 123 deaths, down to 1.5%.”
How many routes to the top?
Although there are seventeen paths to the top, most climbers only tackle two of them. In Nepal, Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hilary carved the Southeastern Ridge in 1953. The northern route (North Ridge) from Tibet is available after George Mallory vanished on it in 1924 before a Chinese caravan Quoc conquered it in 1960.
The difficulty of the two climbs is comparable, with distinct difficulties. They ran through the hazardous Khumbu Icefall when climbing from the south, but the day leading up to the summit was shorter and easier to descend in an emergency. From the north, it is feasible to reach the base camp by car; however, climbers must travel a long distance up to the top.
How crowded is Everest?
The appeal of Mount Everest grew in the 1990s when commercial climbing trips to the top began being offered by international guided groups. Despite the inherent risks, Mount Everest continues to draw hundreds of climbers from all across the world. In 2018, the Nepal Tourism Department gave permits to 347 people from outside of the country, with 261 obtaining ascents using 302 guides and porters. According to records, around 239 men made it to the top on the northern side.
How much does climbing Everest cost?
Getting a spot in the climbing team might cost anywhere from $40,000 to $100,000, depending on services and equipment. According to Nepal’s tourism ministry, climbing permits alone earn about $5.2 million each year in Nepal.
Professional Nepalese climbing guides are essential for the development of the outdoor sports sector in Nepal. Every year, they build a climbing route, repair ladders and vines, outfit tents with oxygen tanks, food, cooking utensils, and patiently lead foreign tourists to the top.
The Sherpa people – a Tibetan tribe who lived near the top of this mountain formerly served as porters for supply expeditions going up the mountain, but many other individuals are now employed in the group. They are referred to as “mountain laborers.” Most people in 3-4 months of climbing will make between $2,500 and $5,000. The Khumbu Climbing Center has recently organized training so that Nepali guides may obtain international climbing certificates.
The Sherpas unsung heroes
Mount Everest is too lofty and the climate too harsh for humans to survive in, yet at 4,870 meters or 16,000 feet, the villages along the valley floor are home to Tibetans known as Sherpa. The lives of the people are hard, and they typically farm on arable land. They travel about in search of grazing areas during the summer, when their animals are let out at 4,880 meters above sea level.
The Sherpas consider the Himalayas to be holy, and they build Buddhist monasteries, fly lungta flags on the hilltops, and create wildlife habitats such as musk deer and pheasant.
The mountains are home to gods and demons, and the Yeti (giant snowman) is said to haunt the lower slopes. As a result, Sherpa people historically have avoided mountaineering.
Today, however, they are the unsung heroes who help mountaineers transport tents, food, and drink to high-altitude camps. The task of assisting the climbing team helps to generate revenue that can be used to support the household.
The Sherpas carry out puja and seek permission from the gods to ascend to the peak.
It is essential to perform a prayer ceremony (Puja) at the base camp before the climb begins, in order to ask for permission to ascend since the top of the mountain is considered holy. During the prayer, Buddhist lamas officiate and request good fortune and protection for the climbers so that they may ascend without harm. They also beseech climbing gear to be provided.
The Sherpas consider such rites essential for beginning their ascents; most of them would not attempt to climb without first participating in the ceremony. Is it superstition? But this practice has been observed for hundreds of years, and even visitors participate.
Everest and milestones
- In 1924, George Mallory became the first to climb Everest, and while he was climbing the mountain, he vanished without a trace. The truth behind his camera vanishing may alter mountaineering history.
- On May 29, 1953, Edmund Hillary (New Zealand) and Tenzing Norgay (Nepal) reached the peak of Mount Everest. The expedition was led by Colonel John Hunt from the United Kingdom.
- Kami Rita Sherpa (May 2019) is the current record holder for climbing the world’s highest peak 23 times.
- Jordan Romero (US citizen), a 13-year-old became the youngest person to reach Mount Everest in May 2010.
- Miura Yiuchiro (80 years old, Japanese) is the oldest person to reach the top of Mount Everest when he climbed it on May 23, 2013.
Is there anything left to explore on Everest?
In 2004, a group of Russians conquered the newly discovered ascent. While the three major faces of Mount Everest have been climbed, there are still challenges ahead for future climbers. Fantasy Ridge, also known as the horseshoe climb, is a section between Everest and Lhotse and Nuptse that has yet to be conquered.
“Everest is in a way a blank canvas,” says National Geographic photographer Cory Richard. “It was still high, as fiercely cold as ever. The way one chooses how to climb reflects creativity in skill. There is always a new way to approach a problem, and Everest is no exception.”
I don’t want to take the risk to climb Mount Everest
Many individuals aspire to climb Mount Everest, but in order to avoid risking your life, you should trek Everest Base Camp, a popular beautiful trekking route that follows the footsteps of climbers to base camp. If you don’t want to walk at all, opt for a helicopter flight over Everest to snap a selfie with this legendary mountain.