The World's tallest mountain belongs to the Nepalese and China border, nestled into the Himalayas, Mt. Everest rises 29,029 feet above sea level. It is an accomplishment tackled by few and finished even less.
In 1865, Mt. Everest was given its official English name by the Royal Geographical Society. Andrew Waugh, the British Surveyor General of India at the time, named it after his predecessor in the post, Sir George Everest. Although the Tibetans still call it Chomolungma or "Saint Mother". Prior to Waugh, Mt. Everest was simply called Peak XV. Waugh also helped to define Mt. Everest as the tallest peak in the 1850's, taking the title from Kangchenjunga.
Mt. Everest has two main climbing routes, the southeast ridge from Nepal and the northeast ridge from Tibet. The southeast ridge from Nepal is technically easier and is used more frequently. It was the route used by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay on the first summit of Mt. Everest.
There is a small window in which climbers are able to summit Mt. Everest. Meaning most attempts are made during May, before the summer monsoon season. It is during this time that the average wind speeds are reduced, making the climb safer. Some climbers also attempt to summit after the monsoon season, during September and October. Unfortunately, there is likely to be extra snow and the weather patterns are less stable.
Currently, 1996 holds the record of being the deadliest year on Mt. Everest. Fifteen climbers died during 1996, eight on May 11 alone. Researchers believe that odd weather circumstances caused many of the May 11 deaths and estimate that the oxygen levels dropped to 14 percent.
There are also several records on Mt. Everest. The youngest person to summit Mt. Everest was13-year-old Jordan Romero in May 2010. Apa Sherpa holds the record for reaching the summit the most, 20 times as of May 2010. The fastest ascent belongs to Christian Stangl, an Austrian climber in 2007. Stangl completed the distance in 16 hours and 42 minutes. The oldest climber to summit Mt. Everest was 76-year-old Min Bahadur Sherchan in May 2008.
Check back in the following weeks for detailed explanations of the other six mountains that make up the Seven Summits.