Mount Everest Mount Everest without a doubt is one of the most exciting adventure destinations on the planet. Even if you’re never planning on climbing to the highest point on earth it’s still a marvel to view from the many […]
Mount Everest without a doubt is one of the most exciting adventure destinations on the planet. Even if you’re never planning on climbing to the highest point on earth it’s still a marvel to view from the many breathtaking vantage points in the Khumbu Valley of Nepal, including its base camp.
It was first established as the highest mountain in the world, 8848 meters, 29,029 feet, in 1856 by the Great Trigonometrical Survey of India. Back then it was known as Peak XV but didn’t receive it’s English name until 1865 when the Royal Geographical Society proclaimed it Mt. Everest, in honour of a former British Survey General of India, Sir George Everest.
In Nepal, it’s known as Sagarmatha. Tibetans, Sherpa people, and the Chinese call it Qomolungma, meaning mother Goddess of earth.
Located in the Mahalangur Range of the Himalaya in the Khumbu Valley of Nepal Mt. Everest acts as the international border with China(The Tibet Autonomous Region). Its summit peak divides the two countries. Its neighbouring peaks include Lhotse, 8,516 m (27,940 ft) 4th highest mountain in the world; Nuptse, 7,855 m (25,771 ft), and Changtse, 7,580 m (24,870 ft).
Mt. Everest was first summited on May 29th 1953, by a 33 year-old beekeeper from New Zealand, Edmund Hillary, and a 38 year-old ethnic Sherpa, Tenzing Norgay. “Both Tenzing and I thought that once we’d climbed the mountain, it was unlikely anyone would ever make another attempt,” Sir Edmund admitted once. “We couldn’t have been more wrong”.
Today Mount Everest is a huge commercial operation with an average of 40,000 people a year leaving Lukla’s Tenzing/Hillary Airport for Everest Base Camp. The majority are trekkers heading for an exciting adventure through the Khumbu Valley stopping in local villages, gazing at the incredible Himalaya, and paying a visit to where few will ever venture, Everest Base Camp. There’s also an opportunity to get the best view of Everest without actually climbing it from Kala Patthar. It’s the same view that you’ll see on Nepali rupee notes.
The Khumbu Valley, along with being home to the highest mountain in the world is also a sanctuary for rare species like the snow leopard, and lesser or red panda. It’s also where much of Nepal’s Sherpa culture is based, including the village of Tengboche, where Tenzing Norgay lived and was once sent to study as a monk at the village monastery.
When most people think of a local mountain guide in Nepal they immediately refer to them as Sherpa. Sherpa, in fact, are an ethnic group that live in the Khumbu Valley of Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan, and the Indian states of Sikkim and West Bengal. Sherpa are known as elite mountaineering guides, a huge asset to the lucrative adventure climbing business in Nepal including Mt. Everest and numerous other peaks. It’s important to note that there are many talented mountain guides and porters in Nepal that belong to various ethnic groups including Gurung, Rai, and Brahman.
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From Kathmandu, there are several flights that leave daily from Tribhuvan Airport for Lukla. It’s important to note that due to weather conditions, particularly in the busy fall season, many flights are delayed from Lukla’s Tenzing/Hillary Airport and Kathmandu. Plan extra buffer days or book an international flight that can be changed should your local flight be delayed.