Mount Everest has risen above the clouds, literally, as the tallest mountain in the world since it was first measured in 1856. Since then, it’s become an icon of adventure and exploration, drawing climbers from around the globe to test their endurance and risk their lives trying to reach its peak. Here are four fun facts about Mount Everest that will make you want to climb it, whether you’re an aspiring mountaineer or just love watching others reach great heights.
Some Say It’s Not The Hardest Mountain To Climb
Even though Everest is the world’s highest peak, some climbers contend that it’s not the most difficult to ascend. Some claim that K2, the second-tallest peak, is the most difficult to climb because of its challenging ascent and harsh weather. Others believe Annapurna in Nepal is harder because it has a steeper slope and more rock protrusions than other mountains. And still others say that Kilimanjaro in Africa might be the most challenging since the summit can be reached by walking, meaning there’s no need for gear like ropes or crampons.
More People Have Climbed It Than You Think
Let’s hit you with some fast statistics to continue the theme that Everest is not as difficult to climb as you would believe. Around 6,098 climbers had reached the peak of Everest as of July 2022, making up all 11,346 summit ascents. The youngest person to ever reach the summit was American Jordan Romero at age 13 in 2010. The oldest person was Japanese Yuichiro Miura who made it at age 80 in 2013. He also holds the record for the oldest person to have climbed all 14 of the world’s 8,000 meter peaks. Climbing Mt. Everest without supplemental oxygen is a feat accomplished by fewer than 200 people out of those 11,346 successful summiteers. That being said, about 25% of those people use supplemental oxygen for part or all of their ascent.
The Hardest Part Is At The Bottom
Some claim that the most difficult portion of Mount Everest’s ascent is located at the mountain’s base. If one wants to climb the mountain, they must navigate the Khumbu Icefall, which has a reputation for being exceedingly lethal. In addition, the Western Cwm is often covered with avalanches and heavy snowstorms. Finally, it takes about 10 hours to get from Base Camp to Camp 1 and many more hours of climbing before even reaching camp 4.
There’s a Place Called the “Death Zone”
The Khumbu Icefall is hazardous, but that doesn’t mean the top isn’t, too. The area above Camp Four is known as the “Death Zone” because of the extremely poor air quality, which makes it extremely difficult to focus, much alone ascend a mountain, and has resulted in hundreds of fatalities. However, mountaineers who have reached this point are rewarded with awe-inspiring views from the summit of Earth’s tallest mountain. On May 29th, 1953 Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay became the first people to ever stand on Mt. Everest’s peak. They did so without supplemental oxygen or ropes – now considered standard equipment for climbing today – leading many to wonder if they would have survived had they attempted this feat just years later!