Mount Everest is arguably the world’s most famous mountain. It is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a source of pride, a national symbol and holy site to many, and the focal point of one of the most treacherous challenges on Earth.
Mount Everest is one of the most impressive natural wonders in the world. In this article, we’ll cover some common, unusual, and intriguing facts about Mount Everest.
Let’s get right to it!
1. Mount Everest is located in the Himalayas, a mountain range spanning six Asian countries. These countries are India, Pakistan, China, Bhutan, and Nepal. Everest sits right on the border between Tibet (China) and Nepal, with a base camp on either side.
2. Mount Everest was originally referred to as Chomolungma by the Tibetans and Sagarmatha by the Nepalese. The British changed its name in 1865. They called it Mount Everest in honor of Sir George Everest, a British surveyor-general of India. Interestingly, he had never actually seen the mountain.
3. Many people consider Mount Everest to be a sacred site. The Nepalese people refer to Mount Everest as the ‘Goddess Mother of the Earth, while the Tibetan people refer to the mountain as the ‘Goddess of the Sky’.
4. Mount Everest is often referred to as the “world’s highest graveyard” due to the number of climbers who have perished on its slopes. Some bodies remain on the mountain.
5. Mount Everest is part of Sagarmatha National Park. Unsurprisingly, this national park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s most recognized for its outstanding natural beauty and the sheer drama of its landscapes.
6. Standing at 8,848 meters (29,029 feet) above sea level, Mount Everest is the highest point on Earth. That makes it 20 times the height of the Empire State Building in NYC. Its peak, or the Himalayan region in general, is sometimes referred to as the “roof of the world.”
7. Despite its size, Mount Everest is only 238 meters (781 feet) taller than K2. K2 is the second-tallest mountain in the world. It is in a different chain of mountains in Pakistan, the Karakoram. Mt. Lhotse, which is next to Mt. Everest, is the 4th tallest mountain in the world.
8. Mt Everest weighs 350 times more than all the humans on Earth. It’s estimated to weigh approximately 175 billion tons or 350 trillion (350,000,000,000,000) pounds. For comparison’s sake, if you took all the humans in the world and put them on a giant scale, they would only weigh 1 trillion pounds.
9. Mount Everest continues to grow. Scientists estimate that the mountain grows approximately 4 mm (0.15 inches) every year. The mountain was most recently measured in 2020 by Chinese and Nepalese authorities.
10. Mount Everest is considered an active mountain, with the Everest region experiencing occasional tremors and earthquakes due to tectonic activity. In 2015, an Avalanche disaster on Everest killed upward of 20 people.
11. Mount Everest can be divided into three main parts: the Base Camp Area, the Khumbu Icefall, and the Summit Pyramid. The Khumbu Icefall, located near Everest Base Camp, is one of the most dangerous sections of the mountain. It’s prone to avalanches, crevasses, and shifting ice formations.
12. The slopes of Mount Everest exhibit distinct ecological zones. The lower regions are covered with forests and vegetation, while the higher elevations are characterized by alpine meadows and barren rocky terrain.
13. Mount Everest is surrounded by several glaciers, including the Khumbu Glacier to the south and the Rongbuk Glacier to the north. Khumbu Glacier is the world’s tallest glacier.
14. Several major rivers originate from the glaciers around Mount Everest. These include Dudh Koshi, Imja Khola, and Bhote Koshi. These rivers are lifelines for the local communities and provide water resources for millions of people downstream.
15. The high-altitude region of Mount Everest is not immune to pollution. Studies have found microplastics and black carbon particles in snow samples taken from the mountain, highlighting the global impact of pollution.
16. Mount Everest is known for its extreme weather conditions, with temperatures dropping as low as -60°C (-76°F) during winter. The summit experiences strong winds and low oxygen levels.
17. The snow at the summit of Mount Everest can be up to 9.5 meters (31.1 feet) thick. That’s almost the same height as a regulation basketball hoop!
18. Despite the harsh conditions, Mount Everest and its surrounding region support a variety of rare wildlife. This includes rare species like the elusive snow leopard and the Himalayan black bear.
19. The Sagarmatha National Park in Nepal and the Qomolangma Nature Reserve in Tibet are designated protected areas surrounding Mount Everest. These areas are home to diverse flora and fauna.
20. Although rare to spot, the endangered red panda (Ailurus fulgens) inhabits the forests surrounding Mount Everest. It’s estimated that only approximately 2,500 red pandas remain in the wild.
21. The Himalayan tahr (Hemitragus jemlahicus) is a wild goat species that roam the rocky slopes of the Everest region. It has a shaggy coat, curved horns, and remarkable agility, allowing it to navigate the rugged terrain.
22. The Everest region is home to a diverse array of bird species, including the impressive Himalayan monal (Lophophorus impejanus), also known as the Danphe, which is the national bird of Nepal. Other species such as snowcocks, choughs, and ravens are also commonly seen.
23. In the lower altitudes, especially in the spring, vibrant rhododendron forests bloom with a riot of colors, adding beauty to the landscape. Rhododendrons are the national flower of Nepal.
24. Alpine meadows dotted with hardy plants cover the Mount Everest landscape. Climbers might spot Himalayan Blue Poppies, Gentians, Saxifrages, and Edelweiss during their ascent.
25. At higher elevations, juniper trees dominate the landscape. These hardy evergreen trees provide shelter and serve as important windbreaks for climbers and the local ecosystem.
26. Despite the risks and challenges, thousands of adventurers from around the world continue to be drawn to the allure of Mount Everest’s summit. In total, there have been approximately 12,000 ascents to the summit of Mount Everest.
27. The first successful ascent of Mount Everest was achieved on May 29, 1953, by Sir Edmund Hillary of New Zealand and Tenzing Norgay, a Sherpa of Nepal. Reinhold Messner, an Italian mountaineer, achieved the first solo ascent of Mount Everest without supplemental oxygen on August 20, 1980.
28. A Nepali Sherpa mountaineer, Apa Sherpa holds the record for the most ascents of Mount Everest, He reached the summit an incredible 21 times between 1990 and 2011.
29. In 1999, the body of famous adventurer George Mallory was found on the slopes of Mount Everest. His body was found almost 80 years after he went missing.
30. The youngest person to reach the summit of Mount Everest is Jordan Romero, who achieved the feat at the age of 13 in 2010. The oldest person is Yuichiro Miura of Japan, who was 80 years old when he reached the summit in 2013.
31. On May 19, 2019, a record number of 381 climbers reached the summit of Mount Everest in a single day. This led to overcrowding and safety concerns.
32. Bear Grylls, a British adventurer, author, and television presenter, has visited Mount Everest on multiple occasions. The mountain has been featured on his popular survival and adventure television shows.
33. Rob Hall, a New Zealand mountaineer, was a highly regarded Everest guide who tragically lost his life in the 1996 Mount Everest disaster. His story was depicted in the film “Everest” (2015).
34. Mount Everest has appeared in a wide range of movies. These include “Into Thin Air: Death on Everest” (2015), “The Wildest Dream: Conquest of Everest” (2010), and “Sherpa” (2015).
35. Everest has also been the main focus of several documentaries over the years. Some examples include “Everest: The Hard Way” (1976), “Everest: Beyond The Limit” (2006-2009), “The Summit” (2012), “Sherpa: Trouble on Everest” (2013), and “14 Peaks: Nothing is Impossible” (2021).
36. Everest, the 7th pup in the cartoon Paw Patrol, is named after Mt. Everest. As she is known to say, Ice or snow, she’s ready to go!