A bit of History



Mount Everest, also known in Nepal as Sagarmāthā (Goddess of the sky) and in Tibet as Chomolungma, (Goddess of the Universe) It is the earths highest mountain.

In 1865 the mountain was renamed in honour of the Surveyor General of India George Everest, from its original name of Peak 15.

It is located in the Mahalangur section of the Himalayas. Its peak is 8,848 meters (29,029 ft) above sea level and is the 5th furthest point from the center of the Earth. The international border between China (Tibet) and Nepal runs across the precise summit point.



There are two main routes to the summit: the south-east ridge from Nepal and the north ridge from Tibet.

There are 18 named climbing routes on Everest.

Route 1Route 2

Firsts on Everest

– First climbed in May 1953 by Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay.

– Sir Edmund Hillary’s son, Peter, has climbed Everest five times. His first summit was in 1990.

– The fastest descent was made in 11 minutes: Frenchman Jean-Marc Boivin paraglided down in 1988.

– The youngest person to reach the top is Jordan Romero, who made it, aged 13, in 2010.

– The oldest person to climb Everest is Yuichiro Miura, a Japanese man aged 80. He previously climbed it aged 70 and 75 despite undergoing heart surgery.

– The first woman to climb Everest was Junko Tabei, from Japan, in 1975.

– The record for the most summits is 21, held by 53-year-old Apa Sherpa, known as “Super Sherpa”. His most recent was in 2011.

– Babu Chiri Sherpa has remained at the summit for the longest single period: 21.5 hours in 1999.

– The first blind person to reach the summit was the American Erik Weihenmayer in 2001.

– On 30 May 2005, Pem Dorjee Sherpa and Moni Mulepati became the first couple to be married at the summit.

– The Italian climber Reinhold Messner made the first successful solo climb in 1980.

– On 10 May 1993, 40 climbers reaching the top, the most in any one day.


– In May 2006, the New Zealander Mark Inglis became the first double amputee to reach the summit. During the ascent he broke one of his prosthetic legs. Adhesive tape temporarily repaired it while a spare was brought up from base camp.

– The mountain has even been skied down. On October 7, 2000, a 38-year-old Slovenian, Davorin Karnicar, skied 12,000 feet back to the south-side Base Camp.

– The first two men to snowboard down Everest were the Frenchman Marco Siffredi and Austrian Stefan Gatt in May 2001. In September 2002 Mr Siffredi attempted to descend the mountain a second time, choosing the steepest and most hazardous route. However, this proved to be a challenge too far, and he disappeared midway through the descent.

– In May 2005 Didier Delsalle claimed to be the first helicopter pilot to land on the summit of Everest. Delsalle’s unmodified helicopter hovered while making contact with the summit for around two minutes.

– Lhakpa Tenzing Sherpa currently holds the record for the highest number of successful ascents, having climbed Everest 21 times since 1990.

– The fastest ascent from Everest base camp to the summit is officially eight hours 10 minutes, done by Pemba Dorje Sherpa.


Success and failure on Everest

– Tenzing Norgay unsuccessfully tried to get to the top of Everest six times before reaching it with Hillary.

– The deadliest year for climbers of Everest was in 2014 when 16 sherpas lost their lives. In 1996, 15 died.

– One in 10 successful climbs to the summit ends in death.

– There are estimated to be 120 dead bodies on the mountain.

– The most dangerous area on the mountain is Khumbu ice fall, which is thought to have claimed 19 lives.

– Since the first recorded deaths on Everest in 1922, approximately 235 people are believed to have died on the mountain.


– In 1924, the Britons George Mallory, 37, and Andrew Irvine, 22, disappeared on Everest. Whether they reached the summit remains a mystery. In 1999, Mallory’s body was found at 27,000ft.

– In 1934, the soldier and eccentric Maurice Wilson attempted to climb Everest solo despite little or no mountaineering experience. His body was found in 1935 near the 23,000ft mark.

– Considered a failure, climbers have left an estimated 120 tons of litter on the mountain, including oxygen tanks, tents and other kit.


Cost of climbing Everest

A Nepalese government permit to climb Everest can cost up to £17,000. (Approx R280 000)

Budget on R500 000 to R600 000 to be given the opportunity to try get to the top. And its not guaranteed!


Other facts

– Temperatures on the mountain can get as low as minus 60C.

– Temperatures can surpass 38C in the Western Cwm, which climbers go through to reach the summit.

– Everest grows about 4mm higher every year due to geologic uplift.

– Winds on the mountain have been recorded at more than 200mph.

– Towards the top of Everest, people take in approximately a third of the amount of oxygen that they do at sea level. It’s not that the composition of the air changes – it’s just that the air pressure reduces significantly, meaning less can be absorbed into the system.



Sherpa is the name of a nomadic people in eastern Nepal, who also use it as their last name. Usually, their first name is the day of the week on which they were born.


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