In May 1953, Edmond Hillary ascended the earth’s tallest mountain, achieving a goal that many others had for years attempted but failed to reach. Lodged within the Himalaya Mountain Range, Mt. Everest has held an almost mystical fascination and has beckoned climbers from all over the world. As one of the 7 natural wonders of the world, Mt. Everest provides stunning geographical beauty as well as a rich history. The following provides interesting facts and information about the highest peak on earth.
Many explorers have attempted to scale the heights of Mt. Everest only to turn back or meet their untimely demise. British teacher George Mallory may have reached the peak first in June of 1924. The fact that he died during the descent from the mountain leaves historians unsure of whether he actually made it to the top or not. Several other attempts were also made without success. Edmond Hillary, traveling with Tenzing Norgay, was the first to officially make it to the top. Even after achieving this monumental feat, they reportedly only stayed at the top for 15 minutes before making the journey back down.
The mountain sits on the border between Tibet and Nepal and reaches 29,029 feet into the sky. Mt. Everest is formed in the general shape of a three sided pyramid and is made of a variety of rock. The lower levels of Everest are made of what is called metamorphic rock. Higher levels consist of granite, with the upper summits primarily made of limestone. The climate is inhospitable to most living creatures and there are virtually no animals at all living above 20,000 feet. Even in July the temperatures are usually no more than -2 degrees Fahrenheit near the top.
The Dangers of Climbing Mt. Everest
Approximately 240 people have died trying to make it to the top of Mt. Everest. Since it is difficult and dangerous to bring down the bodies, most are left frozen and intact along the mountain. Some of those who have lost their battle with the mountain are even used as markers along the trail for future climbers. They also serve as a stark reminder of the brutality of this beautiful mountain. Perhaps trying to stem the tide of climbers who truly aren’t ready for the trek, the Nepalese government now charges a hefty fee for a permit to climb the mountain.
Best Time to Explore Mt. Everest
Being one of the natural wonders of the world is sure to draw visitors from all over the globe. While only experienced climbers are advised to venture to the peak, there are those who only climb the mountain part way. Climbing during the right weather conditions is crucial to a successful climb. April and May are considered the best months to attempt a climb. The monsoons start after that, making the snow soft and the chance for an avalanche greater. The southern route on the mountain is the way most climbers travel to reach the top.
Unique Ways to Experience the Mountain
While most people attempt some sort of climb to experience the grandeur of one of the great natural wonders of the world, there are other ways to experience the mountain. Individuals have snowboarded and skied down the mountain while others have flown turboprop planes and helicopters to the peak. However people wish to experience Mt. Everest, they should be prepared to make a dent in their bank account. The cost for permits, guides, and supplies will be at least $25,000, and that wouldn’t include the initial travel expenses to Nepal.
Ever since Hillary reached the top, over three thousand individuals have also reached the peak of the mountain. Mt. Everest, one of the 7 natural wonders of the world, still captivates people with its rugged terrain and raw beauty.