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Mount Everest

08 Apr, 2009

Mount Everest

Climbing your own Mount Everest

For what it’s worth, the Mount Everest means a lot of things for many people. Most tourists go to Kathmandu and Nepal’s other surrounding cities just to view the majestic structure of the planet’s highest mountain. Although very few actually climb the peak of Mount Everest, a lot of people go on hikes with tour guides and just enjoy the fresh air of the mountainous provinces.

Where it’s at

Mount Everest sits on the borders of Nepal, Tibet, China, and the Sagarmatha Zone. It is part of the longer Himalayan Mountain Ranges, and is currently measured 29,029 ft. tall. It is also fondly called Sagarmatha by locals, which in Nepali means ‘head of the sky’.

It is believed that Everest was formed 60 million years ago. Nothing can outshine Mount Everest when it comes to its height because it’s actually still growing. 10 years ago, it grew 6 feet taller than the readings of previous years.

The mountain is named after Sir George Everest, whom, in 1965, was the British Surveyor-general of India. Before the naming of the mountain, it was simply called Peak 15 of the Himalayan Ranges.

While it’s usually an honor to be named after a place, Sir George Everest strongly opposed to the baptizing of Mount Everest. He wanted it to be named from a commonly used Tibetan name, to preserve the culture of the place. Apparently, “Everest” cannot be written in Hindi. Despite his strong oppositions, the Royal Geographical Society still named the peak after him. Mount Everest was adapted into the official records in 1865.

The lesser famous Tibetan name for the mountain is actually Chomolungma or Qomolongma. Now, we can imagine how a western tourist guide would have to twist is tongue around the words just to produce the sound of the name. Needless to say, the name Everest remained, and Chomolungma or Qomolungma was pushed into the background.

The Chinese transliteration of Chomolungma or Qomolungma is “Saint Mother”. This is highly in-keeping with the feminine nickname of the Nepalese to the mountain, which is “Goddess of the Sky”. In Darjeeling, India, however, the mountain acquires an asexual personality, as it’s called “Deodungha” or “Holy Mountain” by locals, and probably your local travel guide.

However, in 2002, the Chinese media expressed much opposition about the Western name of the Mount Everest. Chinese locals insisted that the peak has been recorded as “Qomolangma” in their maps for 280 years. However we may call the mountain, whether it’s Qomolangma or Deodungha or Mount Everest, this natural wonder never ceases to amaze. It has inspired images and metaphors from a lot of writers, and it has been the site of many classical and contemporary films. You can even ask your travel guide about this.
Just the fact that the highest peak of the world has been climbed by more than one person is already a cause of celebration. Most people come here and to the Tibetan cities and temples to find their inner peace and to pay homage to certain sectors of spiritualities.

Climbing Routes

There are two main climbing routes for the Mount Everest: one is from the southeast ridge coming from Nepal, and the other is from the northeast ridge, coming from Tibet. While it’s tempting to explore the lesser taken paths up the Mount Everest, it’s not safe to do so, especially if you don’t have an experienced tourist guide with you.

As you go up, there’s nothing much to see but rock and ice formations. Expect the temperature to drop dangerously low as you reach the peak. Mount Everest’s exploration history shows, though, that it’s not impossible to climb the peak of the mountain. Among those who have succeeded include a legally blind person names Erik Mweihenmeyer, a 15 year old named Temba Tsheri, a 64-year-old named Sherman Bull, an American woman named Cathy O’Dowd, and many more.

While it’s highly suggested for tourists to go up the mountain equipped with enough oxygen, two people were able to reach the summit without oxygen masks on. They were Reinherd Messner and Peter Habeler, who climbed the mountain using different routes both on May 8, 1978.

It takes a lot of will power and rigorous physical training to be able to climb the Mount Everest. You would want to steer clear from climbing if you’re not physically fit for the climb. Although reaching the summit is possible, the atmosphere as you go up is highly hostile to human life. You can die of hypothermia, a bad fall, or an avalanche when you’re up there. There’s also a possibility for you to just die of thirst because it’s impossible to light a fire and melt ice once you’re nearing the peak. Climbing the Mount Everest requires good strategies as well as stable physical fitness.

The death toll of those who tried to climb the mountain and failed has reached 120. Despite the dangers, groups led by a local tourist guide still continue to peruse the heights of the mountain. Some say it’s for personal satisfaction: apparently climbing the mountain gives most people a sense of self worth. Some just climb up the highlands of Tibet to think and stay out of the noise of city life.

Temples in Tibet

For those who are less sporty, Tibet is also a wonderful place to visit for a spiritual unraveling. Buddhist temples can be found in the habitable regions of the Himalayan Ranges. Here, you’ll be able to witness the fusion of Chinese and Indian cultures. The place seems to have been frozen in time, that is probably hasn’t changed much since the early Western settlers first took claim of the rest of Asia.

The Jokhang Temple in Lhasa, Tibet is one of the primary travel destinations. You don’t have to be a Buddhist to appreciate the calm of the place. The architecture of the temple is also extremely impressive. Like most things in this region, it seems to be untouched by time. No matter how many visitors Tibet welcomes every year, it remains the same.

The monks are not the only ones who have retained the region’s culture either. Most locals here still dress in the same way they did a century ago. English is hardly spoken, save for your assigned tour guide, probably. When you’re in the temples of Tibet, it seems impossible not to pay homage to their beliefs, even if it’s very far from Western culture. You’ll simply be bedazzled by the temples, and the Mount Everest is not far behind.

The Ramoche Temple is also a good place to visit. Like the Jokhang Temple, it embeds much of the region’s culture into its walls. When you’re visiting these holy places, make sure that you follow pay respect to the local people’s customs. If you need to leave your shoe out of the temple, do so. Sometimes, your tourist guide might even ask you to wear special clothing, usually in all-white.

Top of the World

If you’re not in a healthy enough state to actually climb the top of the world, you can enjoy the view of the peaks from the jet plane. If you’re going to Nepal, Tibet, or northern China, you’re sure to catch a glimpse of the Mount Everest piercing through the clouds. Nothing is more majestic than realizing you’re face to face with the highest point of the world. Do you remember how it felt as a child when you were patiently waiting to reach the topmost edge of the refrigerator? It’s something like that, only a hundred times more significant.

Who knows, all that staring off the jet plane’s window can even entice you to at least go near Mount Everest. You can ask your travel guide to plan a healthy hike for you and your companions. Hikes up the Mount Everest, up to a certain point, are actually enjoyable. Unless you’re equipped and knowledgeable enough, don’t attempt to reach the summit of the mountain. It might actually spell suicide on your part, and that’s not the essence of your trip, is there?

Also, don’t miss out on the vegetarian or Buddhist cuisines you’ll meet on your way around the Himalayan ranges. Some temples serve varieties of tofu dishes that can leave you calm and contented, as if you’ve already reached the mountain’s summit.

If you are going on a hiking, climbing or cycling trip around or up the Mount Everest, you should make sure that you’re physically fit first. Most people go through months or even a year of rigorous physical training before daring the heights of the mountain.

Keep in mind that you’re climbing up a spot with a different attitude, so it will be more difficult to breath. Make sure that you have the right climbing gear, clothing, and skills before you attempt to climb the mountain.

While you’re at the base of Mount Everest, you can probably find comfortable lodgings from inns and temples dotted across the surrounding regions. While you’re climbing the mountain though, you will have to pitch tents and make bonfires to keep yourself warm. You can’t find much life in the mountain itself save for a few wild animals that are accustomed to the cold.

Mount Everest

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