How Tall is Mount Everest? (Taller Than You Think)
Ahh, Mount Everest! The world’s most famous mountain has been capturing the minds of all walks of life since its discovery in 1852. If you haven’t heard, the peak of Mount Everest is the highest altitude above sea level, technically making it Earth’s tallest mountain. But how tall is it exactly?
In this article, we’re going to look at the height of Mount Everest and talk about some other interesting facts related to the mountain. Who knows, maybe you’ll feel inspired to climb it when you finish reading? We’ll also compare Everest to Kilimanjaro to see how the two mountains stack up against each other.
How Tall is Mount Everest?
Mount Everest measures up to 8,848.9 meters (29,032 feet) tall. In kilometers, that puts it at a height of 25 kilometers (or 16 miles). That means if you were driving at a speed of 100 kph (62 mph) in a vertically straight line, it would take just about 15 minutes to reach the peak.
As you know, Mount Everest holds the title of being the tallest mountain in the world, but there’s a bit of controversy. It does reach the highest altitude above sea level, but Mount Chimborazo is the tallest mountain from Earth’s center, and Mauna Kea is the tallest mountain when measured from base to peak.
So, although it’s fair that Everest gets the title of the world’s tallest mountain, don’t forget about Mount Chimborazo and Mauna Kea.
Where is Mount Everest Located?
Like many of the world’s other tallest mountains, Mount Everest is located in the Himalayan Mountains. Many people associate Everest as being part of Nepal, but it actually sits on the border between Nepal and China. However, the most popular summiting routes are located on the Nepal side.
The closest city to Mount Everest is the capital of Nepal, Kathmandu. The flight to the small town below Everest, Lukla, only takes an hour. But due to sporadic weather conditions, the landing can be very dangerous, and there have been several fatal incidents. There are just two direct flights into Lukla a day. If something goes wrong, getting back to the capital can be quite challenging.
How Old is Mount Everest?
Mount Everest is old–very old. Scientists have dated the mountain to be between 50 and 60 million years old. To put that in perspective, it’s possible that dinosaurs were around 66 million years ago–just missing Everest by around six million years.
The mountain was a result of the Indian and Eurasian tectonic plates smashing into each other. The event was catastrophic and responsible for creating all of the Himalayan Mountains. Interestingly, the collision is still happening today, which is why Mount Everest gets taller every year–only by about 2 centimeters. It will likely keep getting taller for millions and millions of years.
Do Climbers Use Oxygen on Everest?
Mount Everest is so tall, and the oxygen is so thin that most climbers carry oxygen tanks to avoid serious side effects. At 8,000 meters (26,000 feet), climbers enter what is referred to as the death zone. At this point, oxygen levels aren’t high enough to sustain life for long periods of time, so anyone who is in the death zone is quite literally getting closer to death minute by minute.
The biggest threats of having no oxygen are heart attacks, strokes, and confusion. It’s not uncommon for oxygen-starved climbers to make strange decisions that lead to their death. Most of the time, oxygen is used once climbers reach the 7,000-meter (23,000-feet) mark. If they don’t, well then, they better climb fast because the clock is ticking.
What’s the Average Temperature on Mount Everest?
As you can imagine, Mount Everest gets bitterly cold. Just like anywhere in the world, the temperature of the mountain depends on the season. Starting in December, Mount Everest reaches its coldest temperatures. At base camp, it can get down to around -17°C (1.4°F), and the summit can get to the shockingly cold temperature of -37°C (-35°F).
Those temperatures might sound cold, but there’s one more thing that needs to be taken into consideration: wind. Wind chill can bring the temperature of the summit all the way down to -70°C (-90°F). At that temperature, any exposed skin would suffer from frostbite almost immediately. Even with the proper gear, climbers are still at risk of losing their toes and fingers. That’s why it’s so important for climbers to summit the mountain as quickly as possible to avoid getting stuck in extreme temperatures.
How Long Does It Take to Summit Everest?
From base camp, it takes about 40 days to reach the summit. During that time, guides will slowly lead groups to the next base camps, giving everyone a chance to adjust to the altitude. Groups can also only move as fast as weather conditions allow. Bad weather can keep a group hunkered down for days or weeks.
Once climbers reach Camp 4, which is right at the death zone of 8,000 meters (26,000 feet), it takes between six and nine hours to summit Mount Everest. That short section is by far the most dangerous part of the climb. In the death zone, small problems become life-or-death problems. One mishap or stroke of bad luck can turn the entire group around, forcing them to flee for safety.
The Height of Everest Compared to Kilimanjaro
So, now that you know how tall Mount Everest is, how do you think it compares with Mount Kilimanjaro. Well, Kilimanjaro obviously doesn’t hold the title of being the tallest mountain in the world, but it’s still quite impressive. Mount Kilimanjaro comes in at 5,895 meters (19,341 feet)–around 3,300 meters shorter than Mount Everest.
Unlike Everest, climbing Kilimanjaro doesn’t require additional oxygen, but climbers will undoubtedly notice the difference between being at sea level and 5,000 meters. The good news is that completing the hike of Mount Kilimanjaro only takes seven to eleven days, compared to the 40 days it takes to complete Everest. So, check out Climbing Kilimanjaro if you’re interested in hiking to the top of the mountain with the help of professional guides!