Mount Everest Higher Than We Thought, Say Nepal and China

KATHMANDU (Reuters) -
Mount Everest, the world highest peak, and other peaks of the Himalayan range are seen through an aircraft window during a mountain flight from Kathmandu, Nepal. (Reuters/Monika Deupala/File Photo)

Mount Everest is higher than previously thought, Nepal and China said on Tuesday, settling a long-running conflict over the height of the world’s tallest peak that straddles their shared border.

Kathmandu and Beijing had differed over its exact height but after each sent an expedition of surveyors to the summit they have agreed that the official height is 8,848.86 metres (29,031.69 feet), a bit more than their previous calculations.

Nepal had never previously measured the height of Mount Everest on its own but had used the 8,848 metres (29,028 feet) estimate made by the Survey of India in 1954 that includes snow.

A Chinese measurement in 2005 determined that the rock height of the summit was 8,844.43 metres (29,017 feet), about 3.7 metres (11 feet) less than the 1954 estimate.

Mountaineers had suggested a 7.8 magnitude earthquake in 2015 which killed nearly 9,000 people in Nepal may have altered the height of Everest.

Nepal, which is home to another seven of the world’s 14 highest peaks, sent its first team of surveyors in May last year to measure Everest. Chinese surveyors then climbed the peak in spring this year, when the mountain was closed by both countries for other climbers due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Everest has been climbed 10,184 times by 5,789 people from both sides since it was first scaled by New Zealander Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay in 1953, according to the Himalayan Database, which maintains records on climbs. At least 311 people have died on its slopes.