Trekking to the summit of Mount Everest is one of the biggest accomplishments in the eyes of many experienced hikers and mountaineers. Mt. Everest towers over the lands of Nepal to the west and Tibet to the east.
Mount Everest attracts hundreds of climbers each year who wish to make it to the top. More than 4,000 people have managed to reach the summit. The task of climbing Mt. Everest is not an easy feat. Climbers spend months training to prepare for the day they reach the Everest Base Camp to start the long trek.
The trip can be costly, and only the most dedicated climbers are encouraged to attempt the climb.
How Tall is Mount Everest?
Mount Everest is the highest point in the world above sea level. It stands at a soaring 8,848 meters (29,029 ft). The second tallest mountain, K2 in Pakistan, is almost 305 meters (1,000 ft).
Mt. Everest is a part of the Mahalangur Himal sub-range of the Himalayan mountain range. It’s home to some of the tallest mountain peaks worldwide. Some other notable mountains in this region include the Kanchenjunga, Nanga Parbat, and Annapurna.
The altitude of Everest is so high that people usually spend time at the Everest Base Camp to get acclimatized to its extreme conditions. Many people spend days at the Base Camp to let altitude sickness pass before trekking.
Khumbu Himal, referred to as the highland mountains, is home to many Sherpa villages. It’s located in the Solukhumbu District in Nepal. The town of Lukla is located in this district. Lukla is one of the first stops for climbers in Nepal before they travel to the first base camp of Everest.
A Sherpa is a member of Tibetan descent who lives in the valleys of the Himalayas. Sherpa is also used to describe mountain guides accompanying climbers on their trek up Mt. Everest.
Sherpas that escort others up Mount Everest are expert mountaineers that have become accustomed to the harsh conditions of the Himalayas.
Why People Climb Mount Everest
The reasons why people climb Mount Everest are extensive. For some, it’s the opportunity to stand at the top of the tallest mountain in the world. Some might think the journey to the summit is the challenge of a lifetime that they wish to conquer.
Many individuals throughout the decades have broken various world records for the hike.
The first people to Mount Everest’s summit were Sherpa Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Percival Hillary from New Zealand. They made it to the top on May 29, 1953.
Records following the first feat included the first female, Junko Tabei, to reach the summit in 1975. The first person to make the trek without supplementary oxygen was Peter Habeler in 1978.
People have continued to test the conditions of Everest and the limits of their bodies to do the climb. Whatever one’s reason may be, the main goal of many is to make it all the way to the summit and stand at the highest point in the world.
What Does It Take to Climb Mount Everest?
There are several things one must consider when thinking about climbing Mount Everest. It’s a challenging adventure that requires training, preparation, and perseverance.
Some of the things a climber should do to prepare for taking on Mount Everest include:
- Obtaining all of the essential gear to make the trek
- Purchasing any permits needed to make the trip
- Finding a guide to accompany you
- Physically and mentally train for the climb
A lot of climbing gear is great for different climbs. However, Mt. Everest has extreme conditions that require the right gear to be ready for the climb.
Various costs come along with hiking Mount Everest. A permit must be purchased through the government of Nepal to climb Mt. Everest.
The cost can range depending on various circumstances, but it can be upwards of $11,000. This doesn’t include other costs, such as hiring a guide.
A local Sherpa guide is required to accompany foreign climbers on their trip. The average cost of this is around $4,000. It’s also highly recommended that climbers purchase mountain rescue insurance.
Additional costs could possibly include training. Climbers must come to Everest prepared with months of training under their belt. You can choose to train on your own, but hiring a personal fitness trainer can help you reach your goals.
Mental training is equally as important. Climbers have to stay rational under severe conditions. Being mentally prepared can motivate climbers at times when they need it most.
Climbing similar peaks is highly recommended leading up to climbing Mt. Everest. It can help individuals get used to the conditions they’ll be facing.
Other skills that climbers should focus on to prepare for their Mount Everest expedition could include:
- Survival skills
- Forecasting weather conditions and avalanches
- How to prevent and treat altitude sickness
- Rope handling
It’s important to be keen on survival skills to climb Everest. Survival skills are used all throughout the trek and become even more important the closer you get to the summit and during the descent.
The weather on Mount Everest can change quickly. It’s important to know how to identify oncoming severe weather, so you can prepare.
Avalanches occur on Everest and can be deadly. Forecasting avalanches is the practice of knowing the signs of any hazards that could cause an avalanche to occur.
Altitude sickness is common when trekkers reach Everest Base Camp, the first base camp of four on the mountain. Altitude sickness occurs because the air pressure on Everest is extremely low. This lowers the oxygen level.
Individuals who aren’t used to extremely high altitudes can fall ill due to rapid changes in altitude. Some common symptoms of altitude sickness include headaches, nausea, loss of appetite, and shortness of breath.
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When Is the Best Time to Climb Mount Everest?
Planning the time of a trek on Mount Everest is important. In the winter, conditions are especially harsh. Air pressure levels are significantly reduced during this time. April or May is considered the best time to hike Mt. Everest.
April and May are just before the monsoon season in Nepal that begins in June. Monsoon season can cause a lot of problems due to wet conditions. It can also affect jet stream patterns, which are bands of strong winds that occur at high altitudes.
The monsoon season lasts until August in Nepal. Once weather conditions settle in the post-monsoon season, climbers may attempt to climb Everest in October.
However, May is considered the best time to climb Mount Everest. Air pressure is still low, but it’s typically not as low as other times of the year.
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How Long Does It Take to Climb Mount Everest?
There isn’t an exact time that it takes to climb Mount Everest. The journey length can differ depending on the climber and the weather.
Sometimes severe weather can cause climbers to spend weeks at Everest Base Camp before moving to Base Camp 2.
On average, the climb and descent can take up to two months to complete. This factors in about 2 weeks of spending time at Everest Base Camp. The next 6 weeks or so are spent trekking to the summit. The time it takes to travel between the four base camps varies.
Trekking from Base Camp 4 to the summit can take about 10-12 hours. The distance between Camp 4 and the summit is about 848 meters (2,782 ft). The altitude between the base camps increases by hundreds of meters.
Some expert climbers can climb Mount Everest within a week. Suppose weather conditions are good and a climber can acclimate to the altitude quickly. In that case, this can reduce the time it takes to complete the journey.
Why Does It Take So Long to Reach the Summit?
It takes a long time to reach the summit because it takes time to get used to the conditions.
Everest Base Camp 1 in Nepal is at an altitude of about 5,364 meters (17,598 ft). Climbers ascend a little over 3,000 meters (9,843 ft) before they reach the summit from this point.
Trekking in harsh weather conditions, such as blizzards, determines how long it takes to climb Everest. Some climbers might have to wait out storms or high winds during their trip to continue safely.
Before officially beginning the expedition, climbers often have to get used to the low air pressure at the first base camp. Some climbers may only need a few days, while others spend over a week there to become more comfortable.
The descent from the summit is shorter than the hike up. However, descending is very dangerous, and climbers must use extreme caution on their way back down.
How Long Does It Take to Go Down Mount Everest?
The descent of Everest from the summit to Base Camp 4 can take 4-8 hours.
It can take a few days or a week to descend down to Base Camp 1 from the summit. Although the time it takes to descend can be quicker, climbers must be extra cautious.
The distance between the summit and Base Camp 4 is known as the “Death Zone.” This area is named for the number of deaths that occur at this altitude. There are fewer deaths recorded for individuals who were ascending Mount Everest.
Most deaths on Everest have occurred above 8,000 meters (26,247 ft). Other deaths occurred when climbers turned back from their ascent.
Extreme caution should be used during the ascent and descent. But it’s especially important to use caution descending from the summit.
At this point, most climbers are mentally and physically exhausted. It’s easy to lose rationale during this time. Staying focused on completing the trek and continuing to analyze the conditions is essential for the descent.
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Mount Everest’s Balcony
Mount Everest’s Balcony station is at an altitude of about 8,430 meters (27,657 ft). It’s a small area on the side of Everest that climbers can stop at to take a break.
The Balcony is also known as the place where the highest weather station is located. It’s about 400 meters (1,312 ft) below the summit.
The weather station on the Balcony was installed in 2019 by climate scientists and glaciologists. It’s used to study the weather conditions of such a high altitude. It helps scientists better understand how climate change affects the Everest region at its highest point. It can also monitor jet stream patterns.
There are other weather stations scattered around Everest. Another station on Everest is at Base Camp 1.
The scientists that went on the expedition to place the weather station on the Balcony recorded its temperature at -24 degree Celsius (-11.2 degrees F).
One of the climate scientists, Tom Matthews, claimed they had trouble with their tools working because it was so cold.
The Balcony weather station could also prevent deaths from occurring. Some of the deaths on Everest happened due to bad weather that created dangerous conditions. Knowing how to forecast the weather can be helpful, but it becomes more unpredictable the higher you ascend.
One of the goals of the weather station is to make climbing Everest safer. Scientists have been able to detect the amount of sunlight at the Balcony.
This gives them insight into how heat exhaustion could affect climbers despite freezing cold temperatures.
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Mount Everest’s Hillary Step
The Hillary Step is a rocky outcrop on the Nepal side of Mount Everest. It’s located about 200 meters (656 ft) below the summit. It’s vertical in shape, making it one of the most dangerous features of the trek on Everest.
Making it past the Hillary Step is a struggle for many climbers. Although the number of deaths caused by the Hillary Step is unknown, one death occurred just below the area.
Donald Lynn Cash, a 55-year-old climber from Utah, died just below the Hillary Step while descending. He suffered an injury at a higher point during descent from the summit and could not recover. Cash was in a group of 15, some of which were climbing guides that attempted to revive him.
The Hillary Step is believed to have changed into a slope due to an earthquake. In April 2015, Nepal suffered from the Gorkha Earthquake. It was measured to have a magnitude over 7.
Some think the earthquake altered the shape of the Hillary Step. Others believed there was more snow on it, which altered its shape. Photographs of the Hillary Step throughout the years provide evidence that changes have occurred.
Why Is Mount Everest Called the World’s Highest Graveyard?
Mount Everest is nicknamed the “World’s Highest Graveyard” for the simple fact that deaths have occurred from climbers attempting the expedition to the highest summit.
It’s estimated that more than 200 deaths have occurred on Mount Everest. Some bodies are believed to be buried in the mountain’s snow. Recovering the bodies is a difficult and dangerous mission.
The “Death Zone” is where most of the deaths occur. Unpredictable weather conditions and high jet stream winds make this portion of the climb treacherous.
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Climbing Mount Everest and reaching the summit is a major accomplishment in itself. Numerous climbers have managed to break the threshold of this accomplishment and gone even further.
In May 2022, Kami Rita Sherpa reached the summit of Everest for the 26th time. He had broken the record for most ascents of Everest on his 24th trip to the summit in May 2019. As of 2022, he holds the record for the most ascents to Everest.
Kami Rita is an expert climber with over 35 years of experience. He attempted the climb for the first time in 1992 but didn’t reach the summit. He succeeded two years later, in 1994.
The youngest person to ever climb Mount Everest is 13-year-old Jordan Romero from California, US. On May 22, 2010, Romero reached the summit of Everest. He broke the record for the youngest after the title was held by 15-year-old Ming Kipa of Nepal.
Junko Tabei of Japan was the first woman to climb Mount Everest on May 16, 1975. Hundreds of women have since been able to conquer Mount Everest’s summit.
The second youngest and the youngest female to climb Mount Everest is Malavath Poorna. She was 13 years old and 11 months, just one month older than Romero, when she completed the climb.
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Mt.Everest Fun Facts
The first summit success for a solo climber was in 1980.
On August 20, 1980, Reinhold Messner became the first person to reach the summit of Everest alone. He didn’t use supplementary oxygen. It took him about 3 days to reach the summit from a base camp sitting at 6,500 meters (21,325 ft).
A severe blizzard in 1996 caused several injuries and a number of deaths.
Mount Everest had a severe blizzard on May 10, 1996, which killed 8 climbers and caused serious injuries to more than 20. The blizzard consisted of 90 mph winds and caused temperatures to drop to -40 degrees Celsius (-40 degrees F).
The air pressure on Mount Everest has extreme effects on climbers.
We’ve talked about altitude sickness, but fluctuating air pressure on Mount Everest can cause a strange phenomenon. The differing air pressure levels can cause the altitude of the mountain to be perceived differently. It can cause climbers to feel as if they’re trekking at an altitude hundreds of meters higher or lower than the true altitude.
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Everest: Facts and Figures
How old is Mount Everest?
Mount Everest is estimated to be about 50-60 million years old. The Himalayan mountain range formed as a result of plate movement and collision. The two land masses of India and Eurasia collided together.
The rock density of each land mass was very similar. This caused the pressure of the plates to push upwards. The Himalayas were created as a result. After high peaks like Mt. Everest formed, they grew even taller. The Himalayas grew about 10 km within a million years.
When was Mount Everest discovered?
Although the first person to reach the summit of Everest in 1953, it was discovered about 100 years prior. It was discovered by surveyors during a charting mission of India by the British government in 1852.
It’s important to note that India was the territory of the British Empire at this time. As they were exploring the territory, they stumbled upon the world’s tallest peak.
The average cost to summit Mount Everest
The cost to climb Mount Everest can widely vary due to several factors. Foreign climbers traveling far and wide to Nepal or Tibet must factor in travel costs. People who live closer to Mount Everest might not have as extensive costs.
Natives to Nepal don’t have to hire a mountain guide to summit Mount Everest. However, foreign climbers are required by the Nepal government to hire a local Sherpa guide to accompany them on the trip.
The cost of gear purchased to withstand the conditions of Everest also needs to be factored in. The permit needed to simply climb Mount Everest costs thousands of dollars.
The total cost of the expedition can cost anywhere between $30,000 and $180,000. The average cost can be around $45,000 to $75,000. Different factors can make the cost less or more, which ultimately depends on the time of year and things a climber may need to make the trip.
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Mount Everest FAQs
Can I climb Everest for free?
There are several costs that go into preparing for climbing Mount Everest. Since climbers must purchase a permit to legally climb Mount Everest in Nepal. You also need a permit to climb Mount Everest from the Tibet side of the mountain.
The cost to climb Everest isn’t limited to government permits. You could also include the cost of any gear and training you may need. Expert climbers may be able to train by themselves, but it still takes time and other forms of preparation that can accrue costs.
Why is Mount Everest so hard to climb?
Mount Everest is one of the hardest mountains to climb because of its cold, harsh conditions. The climb becomes more difficult as trekkers get closer to the top. The weather becomes less predictable as they approach the summit.
It can also be very straining on the human body. Climbers must take their time to ensure they don’t ascend too quickly and get altitude sickness.
Can you breathe on top of Everest?
You can breathe on the top of Everest. However, it’s very difficult. Many climbers use oxygen tanks to assist them with breathing as they climb. The lack of oxygen present on Everest results from low air pressure.
What’s the fastest someone has climbed Everest?
A Sherpa from Nepal, Pemba Dorje, broke the record for the fastest Mount Everest Climb. They completed the climb from Base Camp 1 to the summit in just 8 hours and 10 minutes on May 21, 2004.