Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Everest, in all its glory.
(Photo: iStock)by Michael ArbeiterMount Everest is
the tallest and highest peak on Earth.
Or is it? Here"s everything you need to
know about the world"s most famous mountain.
1.
MOUNT EVEREST"S ORIGINAL
ENGLISH NAME WASN"T TOO CREATIVE.
Before taking the name of Colonel Sir George
Everest, the Welsh geographer who served as Surveyor General of India between
1830 and 1843, the mountain carried the unimaginative handle "Peak XV." Mount
Everest was referred to as Peak XV in the Great Trigonometrical Survey of
India in 1856, which also provided the first official estimate of its height
at 29,002 feet.
2.
GEORGE EVEREST DIDN"T WANT THE MOUNTAIN NAMED AFTER HIM.AKA
Peak XV.
(Photo: iStock)
Everest"s successor proposed that Peak XV be named
after the geographer, and the Royal Geographical Society agreed in 1865.
There
was at least one voice who wasn"t crazy about this name choice: Everest
himself.
He worried that local speakers wouldn"t be comfortable pronouncing
his surname, and he pointed out that there was no way to write the name in
Hindi, either.
Nevertheless, the society voted the surveyor"s name onto the
mountain, which it"s unclear if Everest had ever seen.3.
IN FACT, "EVEREST" IS
COMMONLY MISPRONOUNCED BY ENGLISH SPEAKERS!You"re probably misprounoucing the
name.
(Photo: iStock)As it turns out, Hindi speakers weren"t the only ones who
had trouble pronouncing Everest"s family name.
Though "Ever-est" (where the
first two syllables rhyme with "never") is the common pronunciation of the
mountain"s moniker today, this is in fact a mispronunciation of"Col.
Sir
George Everest"s name: "Eve-rest" (wherein the first syllable rhymes with
"sleeve").
4.
THERE"S STILL DEBATE OVER THE PROPER NAME OF THE MOUNTAIN.What
is it called? (Photo: iStock)The first known documentation of the peak we call
Mount Everest occurred between 1715 and 1717 at the hands a trio of Chinese
surveyors assigned to the mission by Qing Emperor Kangxi.
The team used the
mountain"s traditional Tibetan name "Qomolangma," which translates to "Holy
Mother," in their official records.
(Variants of the spelling have included
"Chomolungma," "Zhūmùlǎngmǎ Feng," and "Jomo Langma.")
Long after the Western world had adopted the Everest handle, Nepal began using
its own name for the mountain: Sagarmāthā.
5.
MOUNT EVEREST IS NOT
THE TALLEST MOUNTAIN IN THE WORLD.
You"ve got to count what"s below,
too.
(Photo: iStock)Despite Mount Everest"s reputation as the tallest mountain
on Earth, it"s nowhere near the peaks of Hawaii.
Mauna Kea may not reach
Everest"s superlative 29,000-ish feet above sea level, peaking at just shy of
13,800 feet.
But Mauna Kea stretches a whopping 19,700 feet below the ocean,
adding up to a total height of approximately 33,500 feet and eclipsing its
landlocked rival by more than three-quarters of a mile.
6.
IT"S NOT
NECESSARILY THE HIGHEST MOUNTAIN IN THE WORLD, EITHER.
Highest peak or not?
(Photo: iStock)
Yes, Mount Everest extends farther above sea level than any
other mountain in the world.
But Everest"s peak is not, in fact, the farthest
point from the Earth"s center — that honor goes to"Chimborazo, an Andes
stratovolcano in Ecuador.
Related:"Watch: Terrifying Video Footage of Everest
AvalancheThe distinction is a product of our planet"s oblong shape: The Earth
actually bulges outward around the equator, pushing its surface farther away
from its core when approaching the equator.
Sitting only 70 miles south of the
equator as compared to Mount Everest"s distance of 1900 miles north, the
20,564-foot Chimborazo benefits substantially from this bulge.
The South
American peak measures 3967.1 miles from Earth"s core, barely edging out Mount
Everest"s 3965.8 miles.
7.
THE HIGHEST ALTITUDE PLANT SPECIES LIVES ON THE
MOUNTAIN.Moss lives on Everest.
(Photo: iStock)Unsurprisingly, Mount Everest
is home to some of the world"s highest-dwelling living things.
Scientists have
found moss growing as high as the mountain"s 21,260-foot mark.
8.
IT ALSO
BOASTS THE HIGHEST ALTITUDE ANIMAL.A spider lives here, too.
(Photo:
iStock)Even more astounding is the Himalayan jumping spider, which makes its
home at Everest"s 22,000-foot point, the highest permanent residence for any
animal on the planet.
The spider is believed to survive exclusively on small
hexapods carried up the mountain by the wind.
9.
ONE MAN WROTE ABOUT SCALING
THE MOUNTAIN ALMOST 70 YEARS BEFORE IT WAS DONE.Men have been dreaming of
summiting this peak since 1885.
(Photo: iStock)In 1885, Englishman Clinton
Thomas Dent — a decorated surgeon and the future president of the
Alpine Club of Great Britain — penned the first official prediction of
mankind"s conquering of Mount Everest.
Although Dent included this
proclamation in his book Above the Snowline, he wasn"t necessarily a proponent
of the endeavor, writing, "I do not for a moment say that it would be wise to
ascend Mount Everest, but I believe most firmly that it is humanly possible to
do so; and, further, I feel sure that even in our own time, perhaps, the truth
of these views will receive material corroboration."Related:"A 17-Year-Old
Trapped But Alive on EverestFellow mountaineer and writer Geoffrey Winthrop
Young later recalled Dent"s aversion to braving new peaks.
"He has often been
quoted as saying that the Alps were exhausted as far back as the 1880"s
[sic]," Young wrote in a 1943 issue of The Alpine Journal, "and he once wrote
me a friendly warning not to attempt new Alpine ways, ‘since there is
really nothing left worth risking much for."" 10.
THE BODIES OF TWO EARLY
CLIMBERS WENT MISSING FOR 75 YEARS.This mountain is a graveyard."(Photo:
iStock)George Mallory was a trailblazing mountaineer who participated in the
first three British attempts to scale Everest.
Tragically, Mallory"s third go
at the peak, undertaken in 1924, resulted in his and fellow climber Andrew
"Sandy" Irvine"s disappearance.
For decades, Mallory and Irvine"s bodies could
not be found."Related:"Even After Avalanche, Hikers Still Climbing
Everest.
Are They Crazy?
During a 1936 climb, mountaineer Frank S.
Smythe
spotted what he believed to be a human body at the bottom of a distant gully,
but he"confined his observation to private writings for fear of incurring
unwanted attention from the press.
Smythe"s discovery would not become public
until 2013, 14 years after the BBC-sponsored Mallory and Irvine Research
Expedition of 1999 led to the recovery of Mallory"s body, but not
Irvine"s.
11.
EDMUND HILLARY WASN"T AFRAID OF EVEREST, BUT HE FEARED HIS
FIANCÉE.Which is scarier: summiting Everest or proposing to your
girlfriend? (Photo: iStock)
Thirty-two years after the earliest known
attempts to scale Everest, New Zealand"s Edmund Hillary and Nepal"s Tenzing
Norgay became the first men to successfully complete the trip.
Appropriately,
the achievement burnished both men"s reputations for insurmountable
courage.
Hillary, who had attempted the climb once before and had served in
the Royal New Zealand Air Force, was particularly lionized for his
daring."Related:"She Found Love While Hiking Mount EverestHowever, Hillary was
not a man without fear.
The brave mountaineer was, in fact, too afraid to
propose to his girlfriend, Louise Mary Rose.
Hillary relied on his future
mother-in-law, Phyllis Rose, to pop the question in his stead.12.
HILLARY AND
NORGAY DIDN"T SPEND MUCH TIME AT THE PEAK.The first summiteers didn"t spend
much time at the top.
(Photo: iStock)Not feeling especially inclined to bask
in their feat and running low on precious oxygen, the duo spent just 15
minutes on the summit of Mount Everest.
They hugged, took care of a few bits
of business, and headed back down to safety.13.
THEY DID, HOWEVER, LEAVE THEIR
MARK ON THE SUMMIT.Gifts to the gods.
(Photo: iStock)The pair buried a few
more personal trinkets in the snows of the summit.
Hillary left a small
crucifix on behalf of friend and expedition leader Baron Henry "John" Hunt,
while Norgay left a collection of chocolates and biscuits for the gods who
oversaw the peak.
14.
TWO CLIMBERS HAVE SCALED THE MOUNTAIN 21 TIMES
APIECE.
This mountain attracts record breakers.
(Photo: iStock)Nepalese
climbers Lhakpa Tenzing Sherpa, nicknamed "Apa" or "Super Sherpa," and Phurba
Tashi share the record for most ascents of Everest.
As of 2015, each has
completed 21 climbs: Apa between 1990 and 2011, and Phurba between 1999 and
2013.
15.
NEPAL AND CHINA DISAGREE ABOUT HOW TALL THE MOUNTAIN IS.
How tall is
it, really? (Photo: iStock)
Although a difference of 13 feet seems trivial
when you"re discussing the height of a peak as large as Mount Everest, this
difference has stirred up a lasting disagreement between Nepal and
China.
Official decree by the former holds that Everest stands at a whopping
29,029 feet tall (just about 5.5 miles).
China insists, however, that Everest
is only 29,016 feet tall.
The difference? China cuts the 13-foot layer of
capping snow from its measurement.
In 2010, the two countries reached an
agreement in which China admitted the mountain"s overall height stood at 8,848
meters, while Nepal admitted that the height of the peak"s rock structure was
just 8,844 meters.
16.
THE MOUNTAIN IS STILL GROWING.
It"s a mountain on the
move.
(Photo: iStock)Give it enough time, and both China and Nepal will be
wrong.
Everest is still growing as a result of the Indian subcontinent"s
constant northward drift.
When it bangs into the Eurasian continent, the
Himalayas get a bit of a boost.
Everest"s stature increases by about 4
millimeters, or one sixth of an inch, every year.
At this rate, China will
have to concede to Nepal"s 29,029-foot decree by the year 2951.
(Of course, by
then, Nepal will claim the mountain"s height is actually 20,042 feet.)
More
from Mental Floss:Which City Has the Tastiest Tap Water?13 Straight Facts
About the Leaning Tower of Pisa25 Things You Should Know About Las Vegas (and
the Nearby Strip)WATCH: Go Now: The New Seventh Wonder of the World —
That"s EmptyLet World traveling club Travel inspire you every day.
Hang out
with us on"Facebook,"Twitter, Instagram, and"Pinterest."Check out our original
adventure travel series A Broad Abroad." Everest, in all its glory.
(Photo:
iStock) by Michael Arbeiter Mount Everest is the tallest and highest peak on
Earth.
Or is it? Here's everything you need to know about the world's most
famous mountain.
1..9.
ONE MAN WROTE ABOUT SCALING THE MOUNTAIN ALMOST 70
YEARS BEFORE IT WAS DONE.Men have been dreaming of summiting this peak since
1885.
(Photo: iStock)In 1885, Englishman Clinton Thomas Dent — a
decorated surgeon and the future president of the Alpine Club of Great Britain
— penned the first official prediction of mankind"s conquering of Mount
Everest.
Although Dent included this proclamation in his book Above the
Snowline, he wasn"t necessarily a proponent of the endeavor, writing, "I do
not for a moment say that it would be wise to ascend Mount Everest, but I
believe most firmly that it is humanly possible to do so; and, further, I feel
sure that even in our own time, perhaps, the truth of these views will receive
material corroboration."Related:"A 17-Year-Old Trapped But Alive on
EverestFellow mountaineer and writer Geoffrey Winthrop Young later recalled
Dent"s aversion to braving new peaks.
"He has often been quoted as saying that
the Alps were exhausted as far back as the 1880"s [sic]," Young wrote in a
1943 issue of The Alpine Journal, "and he once wrote me a friendly warning not
to attempt new Alpine ways, ‘since there is really nothing left worth
risking much for."" 10.
THE BODIES OF TWO EARLY CLIMBERS WENT MISSING FOR 75
YEARS.This mountain is a graveyard."(Photo: iStock)George Mallory was a
trailblazing mountaineer who participated in the first three British attempts
to scale Everest.
Tragically, Mallory"s third go at the peak, undertaken in
1924, resulted in his and fellow climber Andrew "Sandy" Irvine"s
disappearance.
For decades, Mallory and Irvine"s bodies could not be
found."Related:"Even After Avalanche, Hikers Still Climbing Everest.
Are They
Crazy?
During a 1936 climb, mountaineer Frank S.
Smythe spotted what he
believed to be a human body at the bottom of a distant gully, but he"confined
his observation to private writings for fear of incurring unwanted attention
from the press.
Smythe"s discovery would not become public until 2013, 14
years after the BBC-sponsored Mallory and Irvine Research Expedition of 1999
led to the recovery of Mallory"s body, but not Irvine"s.
11.
EDMUND HILLARY
WASN"T AFRAID OF EVEREST, BUT HE FEARED HIS FIANCÉE.Which is scarier:
summiting Everest or proposing to your girlfriend? (Photo: iStock)
Thirty-two
years after the earliest known attempts to scale Everest, New Zealand"s Edmund
Hillary and Nepal"s Tenzing Norgay became the first men to successfully
complete the trip.
Appropriately, the achievement burnished both men"s
reputations for insurmountable courage.
Hillary, who had attempted the climb
once before and had served in the Royal New Zealand Air Force, was
particularly lionized for his daring."Related:"She Found Love While Hiking
Mount EverestHowever, Hillary was not a man without fear.
The brave
mountaineer was, in fact, too afraid to propose to his girlfriend, Louise Mary
Rose.
Hillary relied on his future mother-in-law, Phyllis Rose, to pop the
question in his stead.12.
HILLARY AND NORGAY DIDN"T SPEND MUCH TIME AT THE
PEAK.The first summiteers didn"t spend much time at the top.
(Photo:
iStock)Not feeling especially inclined to bask in their feat and running low
on precious oxygen, the duo spent just 15 minutes on the summit of Mount
Everest.
They hugged, took care of a few bits of business, and headed back
down to safety.13.
THEY DID, HOWEVER, LEAVE THEIR MARK ON THE SUMMIT.Gifts to
the gods.
(Photo: iStock)The pair buried a few more personal trinkets in the
snows of the summit.
Hillary left a small crucifix on behalf of friend and
expedition leader Baron Henry "John" Hunt, while Norgay left a collection of
chocolates and biscuits for the gods who oversaw the peak.
14.
TWO CLIMBERS
HAVE SCALED THE MOUNTAIN 21 TIMES APIECE.
This mountain attracts record
breakers.
(Photo: iStock)Nepalese climbers Lhakpa Tenzing Sherpa, nicknamed
"Apa" or "Super Sherpa," and Phurba Tashi share the record for most ascents of
Everest.
As of 2015, each has completed 21 climbs: Apa between 1990 and 2011,
and Phurba between 1999 and 2013.
15.
NEPAL AND CHINA DISAGREE ABOUT HOW TALL
THE MOUNTAIN IS.
How tall is it, really? (Photo: iStock)
Although a
difference of 13 feet seems trivial when you"re discussing the height of a
peak as large as Mount Everest, this difference has stirred up a lasting
disagreement between Nepal and China.
Official decree by the former holds that
Everest stands at a whopping 29,029 feet tall (just about 5.5 miles).
China
insists, however, that Everest is only 29,016 feet tall.
The difference? China
cuts the 13-foot layer of capping snow from its measurement.
In 2010, the two
countries reached an agreement in which China admitted the mountain"s overall
height stood at 8,848 meters, while Nepal admitted that the height of the
peak"s rock structure was just 8,844 meters.
16.
THE MOUNTAIN IS STILL
GROWING.
It"s a mountain on the move.
(Photo: iStock)Give it enough time, and
both China and Nepal will be wrong.
Everest is still growing as a result of
the Indian subcontinent"s constant northward drift.
When it bangs into the
Eurasian continent, the Himalayas get a bit of a boost.
Everest"s stature
increases by about 4 millimeters, or one sixth of an inch, every year.
At this
rate, China will have to concede to Nepal"s 29,029-foot decree by the year
2951.
(Of course, by then, Nepal will claim the mountain"s height is actually
20,042 feet.)
More from Mental Floss:Which City Has the Tastiest Tap Water?13
Straight Facts About the Leaning Tower of Pisa25 Things You Should Know About
Las Vegas (and the Nearby Strip)WATCH: Go Now: The New Seventh Wonder of the
World — That"s EmptyLet World traveling club Travel inspire you every
day.
Hang out with us on"Facebook,"Twitter, Instagram, and"Pinterest."Check
out our original adventure travel series A Broad Abroad."Everest, in all its
glory.
(Photo: iStock) by Michael Arbeiter Mount Everest is the tallest and
highest peak on Earth.
Or is it? Here's everything you need to know about
the world's most famous mountain.
1.

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