Debunking the Myths About Mount Everest

Mount Everest

Breathtaking view of everest

Mount Everest is also known as Chomolungma, although spelled as Qomolangma. Qomolangma is the local Tibetan name for what we know as Mount Everest. It means “Goddess Mother of the World”, which is a bit similar to the Nepali name.  Sagarmatha, which means ” Goddess of the Sky”, is located in the Himalayan mountain range. It is located between Nepal and Tibet, an autonomous region of China. With base camps set for hikers from all around the world. These hikers visit the legendary Everest for so many reasons, risking life and limb for glory. Some even die along the climb, but is it all worth it if Mount Everest isn’t the highest point or mountain in the world? 

How tall is Mount Everest? 

Everest was originally measured to be just 8,848 meters. It was determined in 1954. 

However, the new official height is 8,848.86 meters, approximately 8,849 meters. Which is (29,032 feet) above sea level. This new official height was brought based on the joint efforts of China and Nepal.  The old height was taken a year after the first recorded ascent.

How Mount Everest was formed?

Most mountains are formed when continental plates slide over, under, and around each other. These movements happen almost as fast as fingernails grow every year. When the continental plates collide, one pushes into or underneath another. Buckling at the margins causes an uplift that allows them to accommodate the extra crust. Almost 50 million years ago, the Indian plate moved north and bumped into the Eurasian plate. This action caused a great uplift and Mount Everest was formed.  Other forces are combined to create mountains other than uplifts. When land gets pushed upwards, air masses have to rise also. This causes water vapor to freeze and condense as rain or snow. This then leads to weathering. 

Weathering is the breaking down or dissolving of rocks and minerals on Earth’s surface.  The weathering process that occurs on Mount Everest is called physical weathering. Water moves downhill carrying weathered substances. This erodes the landscape.  This erosion process carves out deep valleys and jagged peaks. The mountain gets its shape from the balance between uplift and erosion.

Time Factor

However, unlike the hills of Appalachia or the sea mountains of Hawaii. Mount Everest is different looking and that’s where time comes into play. When continental plates collide. Uplift happens really quickly, while the weathering process is slower. Uplift creates steep slopes, but over time. Gravity and water erode or wear them down. Eventually, erosion overtakes uplift and peaks wear down faster than they are lifted.

Climate

Climate is the weather conditions prevailing in an area in general or over a long period. The snowfall doesn’t fully melt away in sub-zero temperatures. Instead, it slowly becomes ice. The ice makes a snowline that differs in height from the earth.  Ice begins to flow, this forms glaciers. Glaciers are frozen rivers. https://pin.it/2rJi3y9, the glaciers grind the rock below the snowline. This makes steep mountains that allow the glacier to flow faster. Increasing the speed of erosion.

So how did Everest become so tall?

A cataclysmic continental clash caused Everest to rise. This clash made Everest very large, to begin with. Also, the mountain is located close to the tropics. The tropics of cancer, to be exact. The snowline is high and the glaciers are a little small. Not big enough to wear the mountain down.  The mountain exists in a perfect state of condition that helps maintain its gigantic stature. Sadly, due to climate change, erosion, and the rapid movement of the earth’s continental plates.  Everest may one day drastically be reduced in size.

Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay

Edmund Percival Hillary was a New Zealand mountaineer and Antarctic explorer. Born July 20, 1919, Auckland, New Zealand.       

Tenzing Norgay, born Namgyal Wangdi, and also referred to as Sherpa Tenzing, was a Nepali-Indian Sherpa mountaineer. Born May 29, 1914, Khumbu. After six attempts, Tenzing finally reached the summit of Everest alongside Edmund. After a climb of about sixteen days, on 29 May 1953, coincidentally his birthday, although they may not have been the first to reach the summit. They were the first duo or people whose journey was recorded. This is one of the myths that we hope to debunk with further research. 

Mauna Kea

Mauna Kea is a dormant volcano on the island of Hawaiʻi. Its peak is 4,207.3 m (​13,803 ft) above sea level, making it the highest point in the state of Hawaiʻi. The Hawaiian shield volcanoes are the largest mountains on Earth. It extends about 6,000 meters (19,700 feet) below sea level to meet the deep ocean floor.  Making it the largest mountain to exist, even though some may argue that it’s only a dormant volcano. Mauna Kea is 1,352 km meters taller than Everest. As its total height is 3,500 feet [10,210 meters].

With this in mind, it can then be said that Mount Everest isn’t the tallest mountain in the world. Mauna Kea can rightfully claim that. However, Mount Everest isn’t the highest mountain in the world either. 

Chimborazo

Chimborazo is a stratovolcano located in Ecuador. A stratovolcano is a volcano built on alternate layers of lava and ash. This is the highest point on earth, the closest one can get to space from earth. located in the mountain range of the Andes. It is now a dormant volcano as its last eruption was around 550 AD.  Above sea level, Chimborazo is about 6,268 meters  (20,564 feet).  This makes it 2,600metres shorter than Everest. However, because of the shape of the earth, which is slightly oval. Mountains located around the equator are slightly higher. Chimborazo is located on the equator. Measuring it from the center of the earth makes it about 6,384meters. 

Points to note

“Farthest mountain from Earth’s rotation axis,” which is where on the ground the gravity is weakest. That title is held by Mt. Kenya, which, at 5199 m, but even nearer the equator (0º 9′ S) than Chimborazo, puts it farther from the axis, yet not as far from the center as the Chimborazo. 

The highest visible mountain

The Nanga Parbat is actually the highest visible mountain on the earth. This mountain has a high of 8126m, but in contrast to Mt Everest, the lowest valley is just 1km high, while the valleys at Mt Everest are approximately 5km high. The distance from Nanga Parbat to the Indus valley is around 25km, and this mountain also has the tallest face in the world. The Rupal face has a 4600m straight elevation.

  • The Nanga Parbat is actually the highest visible mountain on the earth. This mountain has a high of 8126m, but, instead of Mt Everest, the lowest valley is just 1km high, while the valleys at Mt Everest are approximately 5km high. The distance from the Nanga Parbat to the Indus valley is around 25km, and this mountain also has the tallest face in the world, the Rupal face, with a 4600m straight elevation.                                                          
  • Mountain prominence, which is what matters to the naked eye when viewing massive orogenies from afar.         
  • Farthest from Earth’s rotation axis,” which is where on the ground the gravity is weakest. That title is held by Mt. Kenya, which, at 5199 m, but even nearer the equator (0º 9′ S) than the Chimborazo, puts it farther from the axis, yet not as far from the center as the Chimborazo.                                                                                                   
  • Even if you removed most of the ocean, Everest will still be higher than Hawaii relative to the new sea level.                                   
  • Mt.Everest is the highest above sea level though.                                                                                             

  • That’s just a theory. A Gam-Mountain Theory.                                                                                                                                       
  • Everest might not be the tallest mountain because there could be another higher mountain underwater.                 
  • Mt. Everest is 8,848m “above sea level”, without the portion of the landmass that lies beneath the sea level.                                                                                                                                                      
  • The shape of the earth : many say its round, some say its oval in shape, others say its shepherical, many argue that its flat, some might even say its in the shape of an oblate spheroid.                                                                                                                                                              
  • Mauna Kea is actually even taller. It’s so big that it actually depresses the ocean floor by around 6 kilometers.                                                                                                                                                            
  • The atmospheric height is the same at any point on earth above sea level.                                                         
  • The standard for altitude (and elevation) is relative to sea level. By that standard, Everest takes it.          
  • Since the crust is bulged on the equator, the atmosphere is to and space is no closer on Chimborazo. Yet, on Chimborazo you are furthest away from Earth’s centre.                                                  
  • Mount Everest is still the highest mount on the ground, so there is ground all under it… Making it taller than everything else. Since you know to get this high you need to start from under the sea.         
  • Heights of mountains are measured from above sea level.                                                                                                                                                   

What happens to dead bodies on Everest?

For those who have asked what happens to dead bodies of climbers who die attempting to reach the summit, the first idea that comes to mind is decomposing or body recovering. However, this may not be the case. Out of the over 300 hundred dead bodies that have been estimated to be on the mount, only 150 of them are accounted for. 

What really happens?

Some climbers request that their bodies be buried in the ice and snow. However, some bodies are pushed off to the side of the climbing path, others may get thrown off the mountain. However, a great number of them might be buried under the ice and snow, even more than the 150 which the government estimates. As we have seen, then a lot of the facts we have been told about Everest are estimations and speculations. However, only a few of these bodies ever really decompose. Some are eaten by birds or tardigrades or left under sheets of ice and snow for years.

So far, it has been confirmed that Mt.Everest is the mountain with the highest altitude and, although it isn’t the highest point on earth or the tallest mountain, it is still pretty majestic and huge, plus it can be said to be the highest mountain on earth when measured from above sea level.

The Martian Mountains

Olympus Mons
 
The highest mountain and volcano in the Solar System is on the planet Mars. It is called Olympus Mons and is 16 miles (24 kilometers) high, which makes it about three times higher than Mt. Everest.

One thing we can all agree on though is that the beauty of Mount Everest is truly and indeed captivating. So here are some amazing photos or paintings of Everest to well brighten up your day.  But first here are a few facts about the base camp.

credit: pinterest.com

A base camp is a camp from which mountaineering expeditions set out or from which a particular activity can be carried out. The purpose of a base camp is the main encampment, providing supplies, shelter, and communications for persons engaged in wide-ranging activities, such as exploring, reconnaissance, hunting, or mountain climbing.      However, you can’t see Everest from the base camp until you start your hike.

How long do you stay at base camp?

On average, it is a 14-day stay at the base camp,  8 days to trek to Lukla, and 4 days to trek back.  It also takes about 16 days to climb Mount Everest. All in all, a total of about nine weeks is spent in the process of climbing Everest. 

There are two base camps on Mount Everest, on opposite sides of the mountains: South Base Camp is in Nepal at an altitude of 5,364 meters, while North Base Camp is in Tibet, China at 5,150 meters. 

Although quite a number of people have sustained injuries and an even lower number of people have died in the process, the climb to the summit of Everest is achievable and definitely a good trip for self-discovery, or bonding with that special someone, and in the end, you will see that it was worth it to attempt to climb this gigantic mountain. 

After all, “It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.” -Edmund Hillary. 

Climbing down this mountain

Although there is still an argument about whether volcanoes should be classified as mountains, and if, eventually, volcanoes are ruled off as mountains. Everest will reclaim the title of the tallest and the highest mountain on the earth. But the earth is constantly changing both in climate conditions and the drifting of continental plates, so we can only tell with time. 

Really cool blogs to check out

Also check out this cool travel guide to some of the coolest volcano destinations:  https://www.yoair.com/blog/travel-guide-volcano-destinations-around-the-world/    

And if you plan on making the climb to Everest, check out this amazing blog:    https://www.yoair.com/blog/travel-guide-planning-a-memorable-trip-to-the-mount-everest-base-camp-in-tibet/                                                            

or if you’re more into rock climbing than the extreme conditions, check out: https://www.yoair.com/blog/popular-rock-climbing-destinations-around-the-globe/        

And for an adrenaline-filled adventure, try: https://www.yoair.com/blog/travel-guide-the-bucket-list-for-an-adrenaline-rush-experience/                                     

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