The tallest point on earth

Mt. Everest- the highest mountain in the world.  It challenges only the most daring of humankind to conquer its peak.  Many have died pursuing their ascent to the top of the world, but many more have conquered its prohibiting facade. 

Mt. Everest sits on the national border between Nepal and Tibet, the tallest of the Himalaya mountains.  It is one of the greatest tour destinations in Tibet.  But just how tall is this tallest mountain of the world?

Mt. Everest

Measuring Mt Everest

It was the British who first surveyed the peaks of the Himalayan mountain range, beginning their expedition into India to measure the world's tallest mountains in 1802.  They didn't reach the Everest area until some decades later, in the 1830's.  Everest was so far away and the terrain so difficult, they didn't even know about it for a long time.  Eventually it was spotted in the 1840's, and estimated to be over 9,000 meters high. This was a mistake, but it was correctly identified as the tallest peak.

Using theodolites, large measuring devices, the British determined it was probably the highest mountain in the world, though it was not confirmed until 1852 using trigonometric calculations.   The leader of the expedition named it for his predecessor, George Everest, not knowing it had had a local name for many centuries (Qomolangma).

Mt Everest's Altitude

The first accurate measurements of Everest made under the British survey team calculated Mt Everest as standing 8,840 meters tall.  This was a remarkable achievement given how far removed they actually were from its locale, and the level of technology available to them. 

With time and further calculation, the correct measurement of Mt. Everest's altitude came in at 8,848 meters, or 29,029 feet.  This figure has been confirmed by numerous geographical surveys, and is accepted as the official altitude of Mt. Everest, as measured by its snow cap.

There is another measurement taken from a GPS device attached to the bedrock at Everest's peak in 1999, which gave a reading of 8,850 meters.   This figure is also widely quoted as the actual height of the mountain, though it is not accepted as an official standard.  It is suspected the equipment was inaccurate.

It is estimated that Mt. Everest is still rising higher in the sky due to plate tectonics, at the rate of 4 millimeters per year.

Climing the tallest mountain the in world

The peak of Mt Everest was not reached until over a century later, in 1953.  In the fifty years since, there have been over 3,000 different people who have topped every last of the 8,848 meters. 

This highest mountain on Earth demands our awe and admiration.  It remains a great symbol of humankind's willingness to tackle any challenge, no matter how great- or tall.