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Top Facts & FAQs about Mt. Everest

Outdoor Curious™ with Melissa Arnot Reid
14 Apr 2020

Ever wonder, ‘How Tall is Mount Everest?’ or, ‘Where is Mount Everest?’ Learn about these facts and the most frequently asked questions about Mt Everest. Follow along with Melissa Arnot Reid, world record holder with 6 successful summits of Mt. Everest as your guide.

Meet The team


Alpine Climbing Guide

High-altitude climber, fitness disciple, and high-camp peacemaker, Melissa Arnot holds the American women’s world record with 6 successful summits of Mt. Everest. She is the first American woman to summit Everest without supplemental oxygen. A professional mountain guide since 2004, she has guided on 4 continents, summited Mt. Rainier 109 times, and co-founded The Juniper Fund to support Sherpa families faced with climbing tragedies.

How tall is Mount Everest?

Surprisingly, a very controversial question. The country of Nepal is re-measuring the official height, right now, but there’s two heights and it depends on if you’re actually using the metric system or the imperial system. So some people say it’s 29,035 feet. Some people say it’s 29,028 feet. And that’s 8,850 or 8,848 meters. I say 29,035 feet. That’s a lot of math I had to do for my first question just to be clear. I just do not like that that was so hard.

Where is Mount Everest?

Mount Everest is on the border of Nepal and China. Half the mountain is in China or Tibet and half the mountain is in Nepal.

How hard is this to climb Mount Everest?

This is a really hard question to answer. I’ve had an experience of climbing on Mount Everest for around 370 days of my life and some of those days have been really really hard. The hardest physical days of my life. I climbed without oxygen to the summit in 2016. And that was one of the hardest things that I’ve ever done. I’ve also had days climbing on Everest that were pleasant and casual, I would say and about as difficult as going on a day hike. Once my body was adjusted to the altitude and climbing at lower elevations below 20,000 feet. So there’s a huge range and this is a really hard question to answer of how hard is climbing Mount Everest, but even when it’s easy, it’s still pretty hard.

How long does it take to climb Mount Everest?

Just really depends on the style that you’re climbing in. If you are pre acclimatized or adjusted to the altitude, but the most average expedition takes about 55 days to climb Mount Everest.

How much does Mount Everest weigh?

I have no idea how much Mount Everest weighs. Do mountains weigh? Is that a thing we know? I don’t know. How much does Mount Everest weigh? How much does Mount Everest weigh? 357 trillion pounds. Everyone knows that. I mean, that’s a crazy number. This is some crazy questions.

How much does it cost to climb Mount Everest?

This is a super variable question. You can climb Mount Everest on a couple of different routes. The main routes are in Tibet and in Nepal and that changes the cost just a little bit now because the permits have changed over time and how much they cost. So I would say the range to climb Mount Everest depending on what your logistic services you’re using and if you’re being guided or not will go anywhere from around $20,000, upwards of $125,000. A lot, cost a lot.

Who’s the first person to climb Mount Everest?

Also a very controversial question. In mountaineering, it’s sort of widely considered a successful summit if you summit and descend alive and so, as of now, all of the evidence points to the fact that Sir Edmund Hillary was the first person to successfully climb Everest with Tenzing Norgay in 1953 from the Nepal Side of the mountain, but there is some questions around an expedition that Mallory did in the late 20s and he could have been the first person to summit, but him and his climbing partner, Irvine died at some point on that expedition, so whether they climbed to the summit or not remains a mystery.

How cold is Mount Everest?

So Mount Everest has a huge temperature range with all the different elevations. If we’re talking about the summit, it can be around negative 40 at the coldest times, which is fahrenheit and celsius temperature evens out at that temperature and it can be warmer actually. It can be around like negative 20 degrees fahrenheit on a typical summit day. Down lower at the base camp where you start, it’s around 17,000 feet. You can have days that are around 40 degrees fahrenheit and even warmer when the sun starts to reflect off the glaciers, the air temperature can get quite warm in those lower elevations. It can be quite cold to quite warm.

How high is Mount Everest Base Camp.

So this depends on if you’re talking about the base camp on the south side in Nepal, which is around 17,500 to 17,800 feet. Depends, it kind of spans about a mile and has an elevation change or the base camp on the North side in Tibet, which is just about 17,000 feet.

How many people have climbed Mount Everest?

This is bit of a tricky question. I’m not totally sure and there’s sort of two ways to classify this. There’s the total number of climbs, which probably is around 9,000. And then there’s the total times that an individual person has climbed, which is like closer to 5,000 because some of those people have climbed multiple times. How’s that for confusing math? Good luck.

Why do people climb Mount Everest?

This is a pretty complicated question. It’s probably a bit of a personal question for people. But I think that there are you know, very few things in the world that you can access as a human that are the most or the highest point on Earth or the lowest point on Earth and I think that there’s an innate human curiosity to sort of put ourselves out in nature at those most extreme ends. And I know for me, that’s been what climbing Mount Everest is about, is a pursuit of curiosity. Of how does my physical structure work with nature at the most extreme environments. But I think some people do it for other reasons. I will not speculate on what those reasons are.

Why is breathing so difficult on Mount Everest?

So, as you get higher in elevation, the oxygen molecules that are in the air are more and more spread out from each other. So each breath you take, you’re getting fewer oxygen molecules in and it takes your body some time to actually adjust to those lower blood oxygen levels and it makes moving and breathing really hard on Mount Everest. There’s still 21% oxygen in the atmosphere on the summit of Everest, but those molecules are really spread out from each other, so you have to… To breathe really deep to be able to get just a couple of molecules in.

Who was the first woman to climb Mount Everest?

Junko Tabei from Japan and she did that in 1978… 75, why do I think 78? 75, yeah, okay. It’s really interesting, those earliest expeditions. There used to be as I understand it like a… Lottery for which countries could send somebody to try to climb Mount Everest and so, it was really competitive in those early days of countries sending people to climb Everest and she was a really well-known and really well-respected mountaineer from Japan who just died very recently.

How did Mount Everest get its name?

Mount Everest actually has many names. In Tibet, the Tibetan language, it’s actually called Chomolungma and that’s sort of in reverence of a goddess that lives inside of the mountain. The name Everest, I believe is after a British surveyor who I don’t even think had anything to do with actually surveying and measuring Everest, but it was named after him.

What’s the boiling point for water on Mount Everest?

I feel like… This is a trick math question, so work with me here, but water boils at 212 degrees Fahrenheit and it takes longer for it to get to that temperature at higher altitudes or it has a lower boiling point at higher altitudes. How long does it take? It’s a very mathematical question. I clearly do not know the answer to this question. It boils when the bubbles come up to the top and then it’s boiling and it’s not as hot as it is at sea level. This is a really fun time to see how much stuff Melissa does not know. You want me to keep going?

Why is Mount Everest so dangerous?

So Mount Everest, like a lot of mountains in the world, has objective hazards, which just means there’s hazards that exist because it’s a active mountain and the Earth is sort of a living, active thing. So there’s rockfall. There’s icefall, there’s crevasses or big cracks in the glaciers. There’s really extreme weather systems when you get up to very very high altitude and then you have that sort of spread out oxygen molecules and our bodies really needing oxygen to survive and any combination, any one of those things or any combination of those things can make Mount Everest really dangerous.

How is there snow on Mount Everest?

There’s two kinds of snow on Mount Everest. There’s glacier ice, which has been there for a really really really long time. A scientist could probably tell you exactly how long and then there’s like just new winter snow, like we see in other places in the world where our snow pack comes in the winter and then melts down and so, Everest is just like a lot of other places. It has Seasons. There’s a wet season and a drier season and during wet season, often new winter snow forms and then there’s the glaciers that are… They’re permanently, we hope.

How long is the Mount Everest Base Camp trek?

Well, if you go to Mount Everest Base Camp on the South Side in Nepal, that track takes about an average of seven to 10 days to get to base camp and three or four days to get back down and that round trip is around 55 miles that you can do. And if you go to the base camp on the North side in Tibet, it’s actually about a four day drive from Lhasa. And you can drive right on up to the base camp on a paved highway. So, a little bit different of an experience.

Is Mount Everest a volcano?

Mount Everest is not a volcano. There’s different types of mountains in the world and Mount Everest is is not a volcanic Mountain. I think we’re all so curious about Mount Everest because I truly believe that it is an incredibly special and sacred place in the world. And worth seeing if you can and worth respecting, whether you see it or not. It’s been a huge thing in my life and I know that it will continue to be a huge part of my life for as long as I’m here.

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