Mount Everest, or Sagar Matha, is a huge part of any Nepal holiday. It’s always on the horizon when you’re trekking in Nepal and may people visit Nepal purely to climb to Everest Base Camp.
The frozen body of the British climber George Mallory was discovered near the summit of Mount Everest in 1999, 75 years after his death. Mallory’s body had been up there for since 1924 and we’ll never know, but hope that he, or his climbing buddy Andrew Irvine, had reached the summit before they died. Mallory’s famous reply to the question of why he had the urge to climb Everest was simply ‘because it is there!’
The famous New Zealander Edmund Hillary took part in an exploratory expedition in 1951 and in 1952 Sherpa climber Norgay Tenzing set off with a Swiss expedition and he reached a massive 7500m. It was in 1953 that a British expedition set both Tenzing and Hillary atop the mighty peak.
There is some dispute over the height of Everest, and you’re bound to hear all about it during your Nepal trip. The Survey of India measured it a couple of times over the years and reckoned it is 8839m and then revised the measurement to 8848m in 1954.
Nepal seems to stick with the 8848m reading and China measured the highest point of rock to exclude the ice and snow (in 2005) and came up with a figure of 8844.43m. Perhaps it depends on the measuring technique used and the theory goes that it could be shifting and moving slowly north-eastwards year by year.
For those who wish to see Everest without the time and skills to go mountaineering then you can take a stunning early morning flight from Kathmandu towards Mount Everest and its surrounding peaks during your Nepal holiday. When visibility is good this is a truly unforgettable Nepal travel experience. If trekking appeals then you can trek all the way to ‘Everest Base Camp’ while you’re travelling in Nepal. The view of Everest is apparently better along the way before you actually get to base camp. So it is not really necessary to head all the way to base camp for a good view. There is a shorter ‘Everest View’ trek too that takes around a week if you fly from Kathmandu to Lukla, so it’s well suited to travellers who only have time for a short Nepal trip.
As Everest is located on the Nepal / China (Tibet) border, this means you can also access it from Tibet. In fact, one of the best views of Everest is probably on the Tibetan side from Rombuk Monastery or the base camp on the Tibetan side.