Dhe Mount Everest, the highest mountain in the world, is exactly 8,848.86 meters, according to measurements by Chinese and Nepalese scientists. The Foreign Ministers of China and Nepal, Wang Yi and Pradeep Kumar Gyawali, announced the new official height of the mountain on a video link this Tuesday.
While a Nepalese group of surveyors climbed the summit from the south in 2019, a Chinese expedition with the same goal was on the Tibetan north side of the mountain in spring 2020. The Chinese built a 5G mobile network specifically for this purpose. They are said to have worked on the summit for two and a half hours to redefine the height. Because this expedition was the only one on Mount Everest in the spring, the surveyors were not disturbed by mountaineers in their work. On the occasion of the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinpng to Kathmandu in autumn 2019, Nepal and China agreed to publish the results of their measurements together. Both states saw this as a “sign of eternal friendship”.
After the violent earthquake in April 2015, which reached a magnitude of 7.8 on the Richter scale and also caused great damage in the Everest region, it was assumed that the height of Mount Everest could have changed due to the shifting of the tectonic plates. The previously officially stated height of 8848 meters comes from the year 1954 by the Office for Cartography of India. It is the mean value of data from a total of twelve measuring stations. In the mid-1970s, a Chinese expedition confirmed the value, it came to 8,848.13 meters. The survey tripod on the summit of Mount Everest originates from this expedition and has provided evidence of the summit success for many subsequent climbers.
In September 1992 a Sino-Italian expedition determined the altitude with the help of theodolites, lasers and GPS and gave a value of 8848.82 meters. This value was confirmed by a measurement with radar reflectors in 2004. In contrast, a measurement with GPS receivers in May 1999 showed 8,850 meters, and a Chinese expedition in 2005 came to 8,844.43 meters.
There is hardly a mountain in the world, at least in the Himalayas, that has been measured as often as Mount Everest. Its name goes back to Sir George Everest, the head of the Great Trigonometric Survey of India from 1830 to 1843. Initially, the surveyors assumed that Kangchenjunga (8,586 meters), the easternmost eight-thousander, was the highest mountain in the world . Everest noted in 1841 the location of the mountain west of Kangchenjunga and named it “Peak b”.
Everest’s successor Andrew Waugh finally determined the height of the summit, later referred to as “Peak XV”, from India to be 8839.9 meters and reported this height on March 1, 1856 to the Royal Geographic Society in London. 8,840 meters remained the official value for almost a hundred years. Waugh also suggested naming the mountain after its former boss. In September 1856, the Royal Geographic Society recognized the name Mount Everest. The fact that the mountain was called Chomolungma by Tibetans and Sherpas and Sagarmatha by the Nepali was not known to the surveyors, who had not yet penetrated this area because Nepal was not allowing foreigners access at the time.
Just a few weeks ago, one of the Nepalese surveyors reported on his ascent to Mount Everest in spring 2019. According to Khim Lal Gautam, it was -43 degrees Celsius while working on the summit. The surveyors worked at night because there were no mountaineers around at that time. During the descent, he lost consciousness, said the 36-year-old Khim Lal Gautam. He was finally taken from the mountain in a helicopter. Because of frostbite, his left big toe had to be amputated later.