Mount Everest has captured our imagine and tested the limits of human endurance and capability. Here are just a few of the many firsts and records set on the mountain both by man and nature. If you think we missed some important ones let us know and we will add them to the list!
Climbing Facts and Records
- Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay reached the summit in 1953 for the first time.
- A Swiss team failed to reach the summit of Everest in 1952 just 250m short of the summit.
- Sir Edmund Hillary was also the first man to reach both of earths poles as well as the summit of Everest – aka “The three poles.”
- Willie Unsoeld and Tom Hornbein summited via Everest’s West Ridge in 1963 one of the most difficult routes possible.
- The last time that a season went by without anyone reaching the summit was 1974
- Reinhold Messner in 1978 became the first to climb Everest without oxygen.
- Peter Hillary, son of Edmund Hillary, scaled the peak in 1990 making Edmund and Peter the first ever father and son combination to climb the mountain.
- Yuichiro Miura made the first septuagenarian summit in 2003. The same man who tumbled 1320 feet down the mountain while skiing it in the 1970’s.
- 13 year old Jordan Romero became the youngest to summit the mountain in 2010. The previous record was held by 15 year old Ming Kipa of Nepal.
- It normally takes 12 hours to climb the final mile between camp 4 and the summit.
- Lhakpa Tenzing Sherpa has climbed Everest a record 21 times.
- Churim Sherpa completed back-to-back climbs in 2012 and is the first to climb the summit twice in the same climbing season.
- Leszka Cichy and Krzysztof Wielicki both from Poland made the first winter ascent of Everest in 1980.
- Babu Chiri Sherpa remained on the summit for 21 hours in 1999 and holds the record for most time on the summit.
- Babu Chiri Sherpa made one of the fastest ascents completing the climb in 16 hours and 56 minutes.
- Pemba Dorje Sherpa holds the record for fastest ascent at eight hours 10 minutes but not without controversy.
- Arunima “Sonu” Sinha became the first female amputee to climb the mountain in 2013. She lost one of her legs below the knee after a train accident in her homeland of India.
- Nawang Gombu became the first person to reach the summit twice in 1963.
- In 1975 Junko Tabei, from Japan, became the first woman to reach the summit.
- Pem Dorjee and Moni Mulepati a Nepali couple got married on the summit of Everest in 2005.
Discovery Facts and Records
- The mountain was named after George Everest in 1856. Everest was a British surveyor who never actually saw the mountain. However, to name the peaks in this fashion was not unusual.
- The existence of Everest was first confirmed in the 1850’s by the Trigonometric Survey of India.
- The height of Everest was initially calculated in the 1850’s by Indian mathematician Radhanath Sikdar who put the elevation at 29,002 feet a remarkable achievement at the time. Today using satellite altimetry we calculate the mountains height to be 29,035 feet a difference of just 33 feet.
- Everest was initially called Peak XV and was named by Col. Waugh who surveyed the mountain from Darjeeling in the 1850’s and finding it to be the highest peak named it after his boss.
- The mountains name in Nepali is Sagarmatha which means “forehead of the sky” and in Tibet the name “Chomolangma” is used which means “mother of the universe.”
- In 2011, a team from Google maps spent 2 weeks gathering images of the trek to Everest Base Camp.
- The first flight over Everest occurred in 1933 when Douglas Douglas-Hamilton and David Fowler MacIntyre took a Westland PV-3 biplane over the summit.
- Didier Delsalle is said to be the first person to land a helicopter on the summit in 2005. He attempted this with a unmodified turbo engine AS350 B3. See the video here.
Skiing, Snowboarding and Paragliding Records
- Davorin Karnicar descended 12000 feet on skis from the summit in the year 2000 to the south side base camp.
- Frenchman Marco Siffredi and Austrian Stefan snowboarded down Everest in 2001. Marco Siffredi choose a more difficult decent path in 2002 and disappeared on the mountain.
- In 1970, Japanese skier Yuichiro Miura made the first decent from the South Col and fell over 1320 feet aka “The Man Who Fell Down Everest.”
- Bear Grylls became the first man to fly higher than the summit using a powered paraglider in 2007.
- Yiuchio Miura stared in the 1975 film “The Man Who Skied down Everest” the first sports film to garner an Academy Award.
- Ms. Elizabeth Hawley, the record keeper of Everest, notes that as of 2014 there have been a total of 6,871 successful summit attempts.]
Everest Deaths and Disasters
- The most dangerous part of the mountain is the Khumbu Ice fall just beyond basecamp due to the numerous unstable ice ledges and crevasses.
- Since, 1990 the death rate for climbers is a low 3.6% making Everest much safer then Annapurna or K2.
- Since 1924 a total of 248 climbers have died on the mountain and of these 87 were Sherpas.
- The most deaths in a single season occurred in 1996 when 15 climbers died on the mountain.
- Here’s a look at the 10 deadliest years on Everest
|10 Deadliest Years on Everest|
Weather and Climate Records
Check out this blog post on Everest Weather
- The best weather for reaching the summit usually occurs between the 10th and 30th of May. A short window when the northern hemisphere jet stream relaxes and moisture from the Indian Monsoon is at a minimum.
- The temperature at the summit never rises above freezing.
- Winter temperatures at the summit average -32F (-36C) and summer temperatures -2F (-19C).
- The density of the atmosphere at the summit is about 33% of that at sea level.
- The summit of Everest might be the windiest place on earth with hurricane force winds buffeting the summit on over 50% of days during the windiest months.
- The Coldest Temperature on the summit are estimated at -41ºC (-42F).
Geology of Everest
- Everest continues to grow taller by 4mm a year due to the collision of the Indian and Eurasian plates.
- The summit of Everest is made up Limestone’s deposited 450 million years in a tropical marine setting.
- The Himalayas began uplifting between 30 and 50 million years ago.
- The famous Yellow Band is composed of the North Col Formation which is composed of low grade metamorphic rocks.