Mount Everest, known in Nepali as Sagarmatha and Chomolungma in Tibetan, is Earth’s highest mountain above sea level, located in the Mahalangur Himal sub-range of the Himalayas. The international border between Nepal and China runs directly across its summit point.
The current official elevation of 8,848 m (29,029 ft), recognized by China and Nepal, was established by a 1955 Indian survey and subsequently confirmed by a Chinese survey in 1975. In 2005, China remeasured the rock height of the mountain, with a result of 8844.43 m (29,017 ft). There followed an argument between China and Nepal as to whether the official height should be the rock height (8,844 m, China) or the snow height (8,848 m, Nepal). In 2010, an agreement was reached by both sides that the height of Everest is 8,848 m, and Nepal recognizes China's claim that the rock height of Everest is 8,844 m.
In 1865, Everest was given its official English name by the Royal Geographical Society, upon a recommendation by Andrew Waugh, the British Surveyor General of India. As there appeared to be several different local names, Waugh chose to name the mountain after his predecessor in the post, Sir George Everest - a British surveyor and geographer who served as Surveyor General of India from 1830 to 1843.
The first recorded efforts to reach Everest's summit were made by British mountaineers. As Nepal did not allow foreigners into the country at the time, the British made several attempts on the north ridge route from the Tibetan side. After the first reconnaissance expedition by the British in 1921 reached 7,000 m (22,970 ft) on the North Col, the 1922 expedition pushed the north ridge route up to 8,320 m (27,300 ft), marking the first time a human had climbed above 8,000 m (26,247 ft). Seven porters were killed in an avalanche on the descent from the North Col.
When on a speaking tour of the United States and Canada in advance of their summit attempt, George Mallory was pressed by reporters to give an answer as to why he wanted to climb to the top of the highest peak on earth. Having been to the Himalaya in both 1921 and 1922, Mallory was anxious to stake a claim on the mountain both he and his climbing partner, Sandy Irvine, wanted to summit first.
The 1924 expedition resulted in one of the greatest mysteries on Everest to this day: George Mallory and Andrew Irvine made a final summit attempt on 8 June but never returned, sparking debate as to whether or not they were the first to reach the top. They had been spotted high on the mountain that day but disappeared in the clouds, never to be seen again, until Mallory's body was found in 1999 at 8,155 m (26,755 ft) on the north face. Whether Hillary and Tenzing were the first to actually climb Everest's 29 035 ft. height, George Mallory and Andrew Irvine were the catalysts who drove the spirit of climbing throughout the Twentieth Century.
A full 29 years later, Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary made the first official ascent of Everest in May 1953, using the southeast ridge route rather than the North side of Everest as attempted by Mallory and Irvine.
Had Mallory and Irvine reached the top, 29 years earlier? We will probably never know the answer. Even the discovery of Mallory’s frozen remains in 1999 did not provide any clarity but instead, added more questions to the mystery. His watch and altimeter were broken in the removal of the artefacts from his body so there is no record of how high they climbed or at what time Mallory fell. He was wearing a light weight walking rope around his waist, which means he was most likely roped to Irvine. The rope was broken by the fall - probably split on a rock. Sandy Irvine’s body has never been found. if it was to be discovered, and his camera recovered - might it carry a photograph of the summit?
Mallory’s famous response to the question ‘why do you want to climb Everest’ has become synonymous with Everest history – ‘because it’s there’.
Knowing how much training and preparation our AGS team has undertaken, giving them the best chance possible at a safe and successful summit – why not ?
Hillary and Norgay, Everest, 1953
Mallory and Irvine and Base Camp, 1924