Mount Everest-8,848 meters
Reaching 29,029 feet (8,848 meters) above sea level, Mount Everest is the highest mountain on Earth. Located in the Mahalangur section of the Himalayas, the mountain’s summit straddles the border separating China and Nepal.
The mountain’s height was first determined in 1856. The Great Trigonometric Survey of British India pegged the mountain, known to them as Peak XV, at 29,002 feet (8,840 meters). But those surveyors were at a disadvantage because Nepal would not grant them entry due to concerns that the country would be invaded or annexed. The current accepted elevation was determined by an Indian survey in 1955 and backed up by a 1975 Chinese measurement.
In 1865, Andrew Waugh, the British Surveyor General of India, suggested that the mountain be named after his predecessor in the job, Sir George Everest. The Tibetans had referred to the mountain as “Chomolungma,” or Holy Mother, for centuries, but Waugh did not know this because Nepal and Tibet were closed to outsiders.
Life on Everest
- Mount Everest is surrounded by a number of substantial peaks, including Lhotse, (27,940 feet/8,516 meters); Nuptse, (25,771 feet/7,855 meters); and Changtobse, (24,870 feet/7,580 meters).
- Those higher altitudes cannot support animal life or vegetation; however, birch, juniper, blue pines, firs, bamboo and rhododendron grow in the lower areas. There are no plants above 18,690 feet (5,750 meters).
- Musk deer, wild yak, red panda, snow leopard and Himalayan black bears inhabit lower altitudes. There are also small numbers of Himalayan thars, deer, langur monkeys, hares, mountain foxes, martens, and Himalayan wolves.