Where Is the World’s Highest Mountain?
The world’s highest mountain is Mount Everest, on the Nepal—Tibet frontier in the eastern Himalayas. Mount Everest was named after Sir George Everest who discovered it in 1856, when he was surveyor general of India. At that time its height was estimated by trigonometry as 29,002 feet, but more recently it has been established as 29,035 feet.
Everest is not only the highest mountain in the world, but also the most magnificent and inaccessible. It is swept by icy winds and gripped in a coldness that often drops far below zero. There are great glaciers and crevasses, ice falls and sheer rock faces, and the rarefied atmosphere as its greatest heights has defied generations of climbers.
It was not until 1920 that the Dalai Lama of Tibet was persuaded to permit a British climbing party into his territory. Until then both Nepal and Tibet had forbidden any such intrusion. Several unsuccessful British expeditions were made to conquer the mountain and 16 men were lost in the attempts. In 1951 Eric Shipton made an approach from the south through Nepal.
Before then all the
expeditions had made their approach from the north. Shipton had no intention of
attempting an assault on the summit. His object was to gather information for
future expeditions. With the help of this information a British expedition,
using light-weight oxygen-breathing apparatus and other weight-saving
equipment, reached the summit in 1953. It was led by Colonel H. C. J. Hunt,
later Lord Hunt.
Nine camps were made during the climb, and on the morning of May 29 a New Zealander, Edmund Hillary, and Sherpa Tensing Norgay made the final assault. At 11.30 a.m., after a hard climb, they reached the summit.
Almost everyone calls Mount Everest “the highest mountain in the world,” and climbers from everywhere travel to Everest hoping to earn the distinction of climbing the “World’s Highest.” But what does “world’s highest” really mean?
Mount Everest is called the world’s highest mountain because it has the “highest elevation above sea level.” We could also say that it has the “highest altitude.” The peak of Mount Everest is 8,850 meters (29,035 feet) above sea level. No other mountain on Earth has a higher altitude. However, some mountains might be considered “taller” (with taller being “the total vertical distance between their base and their summit”).