Monday, January 11, 2010

ROOFTOP OF THE WORLD



A hundred million years ago a vast sea separated India from Eurasia. Then India began drifting northward at a rate of about four inches (ten centimeters) a year. In geologic time, that’s breakneck speed. India collided with Eurasia some 50 million years ago. Land crumpled and buckled upward—the birth of the mighty Himalaya. But the tumult wasn’t over. A cataclysmic uplift 20 million years ago formed much of the present-day Himalaya. Yet they still weren’t the dramatic peaks we know today.
“About eight million years ago,” says geologist Mark Harrison, “all hell broke loose when the present range, the really steep topography, developed.” Now slicing nearly six miles (ten kilometers) into the sky, the Himalaya became the highest mountain range on Earth.
(National Geographic)
Mount Everest is situated at the edge of the Tibetan Plateau (Qing Zang Gaoyuan), on the border between Nepal and Tibet. The mountain was named for Sir George Everest, a British military engineer who served as surveyor general of India from 1829 to 1843, during which time the peak was surveyed. Everest was the first person to record the location and height of the mountain, then known as Peak XV. Most Nepali people refer to the mountain as Sagarmatha, meaning "Forehead in the Sky." Speakers of Tibetan languages, including the Sherpa people of northern Nepal, refer to the mountain as Chomolungma, Tibetan for "Goddess Mother of the World."
In 1954, after various figures had been rejected, the height of Mount Everest was determined as 8,848 m (29,028 ft). The mountain's actual height, and the claim that Everest is the highest mountain in the world, have been disputed. But additional surveys completed in the early 1990s continued to support evidence that Everest is the highest mountain in the world. In fact, the mountain is rising a few millimeters each year due to geological forces. Global Positioning Technology (GPS) has been installed on Mount Everest for the purpose of detecting slight rates of geological uplift.
(italysoft.com)


Mount Everest north face from Tibet
Author Carsten.nebel
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Aerial view of Everest
Author Kerem Barut
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Mount Everest from Kalapatthar
Photo by Pavel Novak
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


One day in 1852 in British-ruled India, a young man burst into an office in the northern Dehra Dun hill town and announced to his boss: "Sir, I have discovered the highest mountain in the world!" After four long and arduous years of unscrambling mathematical data, Radhanath Sickdhar had managed to find out the height of Peak XV, an icy peak in the Himalayas. The mountain - later christened Mount Everest after Sir George Everest, the surveyor general of India - stood at 29,028 ft (8,848 m). Sickdhar's feat, unknown to many Indians, is now part of the Great Arc Exhibition in London's vibrant Brick Lane. Sickdhar, who was 39 when he made his discovery, was one of the survey's largely unsung heroes. The man from Calcutta was called a "computer" since he worked on computation of data collected by survey parties. He was promoted to the position of "chief computer" because of his good work.
(By Soutik Biswas, BBC News Online at BBC NEWS)
Mount Everest is an entity that accumulates numbers, but which numbers can scarcely appraise. Its peak lies 29,028 ft above sea level on the border of Tibet and Nepal -- the highest spot on earth. The first ascent took place 44 years ago. Since then, according to Jon Krakauer's new book, ''Into Thin Air,'' Everest has been climbed more than 630 times. Since 1921, when the first British expedition reached the base of the mountain, 150 climbers have died on its slopes. The top of Everest is high enough to penetrate the jet stream, and the summit can be gained only when the jet stream has been diverted northward, during a rare interval of good weather before the summer monsoon blows in from the Bay of Bengal. What kills climbers is almost never the technical difficulty of the most familiar route, which is not extreme. It is the weather -- abruptly, unexpectedly fouling the mountain, as it did in 1996, when eight climbers died in the aftermath of a sudden storm.
What climbers describe when they talk about surmounting Everest always sounds like a kind of high-altitude spelunking in a cave of dimming consciousness. After several days spent above 20,000 ft, climbers are dehydrated, sleeping badly and barely able to eat. They usually climb with the aid of supplemental oxygen -- the alternative for most climbers is hypoxia and imminent death -- and each step carries a price in fatigue that is almost unimaginable. Even with extra oxygen, the mind's ability to function is profoundly impaired. George Mallory, who died on Everest, had said that he wanted to climb it because it was there. But climbers who have reached the summit report that there is no there there -- only exhaustion and the numbness of one's attenuated presence.
So why go? The early British expeditions carried with them a sense of national honor of the kind that Robert Falcon Scott bore to Antarctica, where he died. But even on those expeditions, public and private motives mixed. Wilfrid Noyce belonged to the successful 1953 assault in which the New Zealander Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, the Sherpa guide, reached the summit, an event heralded worldwide as a broadly human achievement. But the conquest of Everest, Mr. Noyce wrote in his account of the expedition, ''suggests to me nothing but the conquest of rebellious bits of myself.'' Is it to chasten those rebellious bits that clients pay as much as $65,000 to be guided to the South Col of Everest and, with luck, over the Hillary Step and onto the summit? There has been an immense clamor over the presence of guides and paying clients on the mountain's slopes. There is an old and extremely honorable tradition of alpine guiding, but at an altitude where consciousness fails, a contractual bond is likely to fail too. Everest is no smaller than it ever was, but the motives for climbing seem to have steadily diminished.
(The New York Times, Published: May 19, 1997)

Tenzing Norgay, at the summit, 1953
Photograph taken by Edmund Hillary
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The route to Everest was closed by Chinese-controlled Tibet, and Nepal only allowed one expedition per year. A Swiss expedition had attempted to reach the summit in 1952 but was turned back by bad weather 800 feet (240 m) from the summit. During a 1952 trip to the Alps, Edmund Hillary discovered that he and his friend George Lowe had been invited by the Joint Himalayan Committee for the approved British 1953 attempt and immediately accepted.
Shipton was named as leader but was replaced by Hunt. Hillary considered pulling out, but both Hunt and Shipton talked him into remaining. Hillary was intending to climb with Lowe but Hunt named two teams for the assault: Tom Bourdillon and Charles Evans; and Hillary and Tenzing Norgay. Hillary therefore made a concerted effort to forge a working friendship with Tenzing.
The Hunt expedition totalled over 400 people, including 362 porters, twenty Sherpa guides and 10,000 lbs of baggage, and like many such expeditions, was a team effort. Lowe supervised the preparation of the Lhotse Face, a huge and steep ice face, for climbing. Hillary forged a route through the treacherous Khumbu Icefall.
The expedition set up base camp in March, 1953. Working slowly, it set up its final camp at the South Col at 25,900 ft (7,890 m). On 26 May, Bourdillon and Evans attempted the climb but turned back when Evans' oxygen system failed. The pair had reached the South Summit, coming within 300 vertical feet (91 m) of the summit. Hunt then directed Hillary and Tenzing to go for the summit.
(Explore Beyond)

Edmund Hillary
From vrthejas.wordpress.com
Snow and wind held the pair up at the South Col for two days. They set out on 28 May with a support trio of Lowe, Alfred Gregory and Ang Nyima. The two pitched a tent at 27,900 ft (8,500 m) on 28 May while their support group returned down the mountain. On the following morning Hillary discovered that his boots had frozen solid outside the tent. He spent two hours warming them before he and Tenzing attempted the final ascent wearing 30-pound (14 kg) packs. The crucial move of the last part of the ascent was the 40-foot (12 m) rock face later named the "Hillary Step". Hillary saw a means to wedge his way up a crack in the face between the rock wall and the ice and Tenzing followed. From there the following effort was relatively simple. They reached Everest's 29,028 ft (8,848 m) summit, the highest point on earth, at 11:30 am. As Hillary put it, "A few more whacks of the ice axe in the firm snow, and we stood on top."
Tenzing left chocolates in the snow as an offering and Hillary left a cross that he had been given. Additional photos were taken looking down the mountain in order to re-assure that they had made it to the top and that the ascent was not faked. The two had to take care on the descent after discovering that drifting snow had covered their tracks, complicating the task of retracing their steps. The first person they met was Lowe, who had climbed up to meet them with hot soup.
(Explore Beyond)


Edmund Hillary
From NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC


Everest Panorama
William Marler's Image Gallery at SummitPost.org


Panorama of the "Saddle" (above), Everest and Nupste approaching sunset. What is known as the "Saddle" is in the centre just a little to the left. Everest is The dark triangle just right of centre. Nupste is the jagged peak on the right that appears to be the highest point from this vantage point. The Glacier of Pumori is on the far left hand side. If you crossed over the "Saddle" you would be in occupied Tibet (China). William Marler, from Kala Pataar in Feb 1986. Kodachrome 25. Pentax Spotmatic F. Tripod. Scanned from 2 slides.
(William Marler's Image Gallery at SummitPost.org)


Tengboche in Sagarmatha National Park
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Author: Nuno Nogueira
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Namche Bazaar Market
Porters awaiting their orders on a rock above the market area
From johnloguk's Image Gallery


Namche Bazaar Market
the mix of people is incredible


Pumori is the pointed peak
trekkers target Kala Patar, the brown hill below it
From johnloguk's Image Gallery at SummitPost.org


Khumbu Ice Fall
From tommi's Image Gallery at SummitPost.org


The source of the Khumbu Glacier
A saddle of left hand side is Everest normal South Col
A small peak of center is Lhotse (8,501 m)
From Kenzo Okawa's Image Gallery at SummitPost.org


Mount Everest base camp
Mount Everest Tibetan side base camp
Everest itself on the background
From tnick's Image Gallery at SummitPost.org


Another hazard facing Everest climbers is the famous Khumbu icefall, which is located not far above Base Camp and is caused by the rapid movement of the Khumbu glacier over the steep rock underneath. The movement breaks the ice into large, pointed masses of ice cliffs and columns separated by huge crevasses, and causes repeated ice falls across the route between Base Camp and Camp I. Many people have died in this area. Exposed crevasses may be easy to avoid, but those buried under snow can form treacherous snow bridges through which unwary climbers can fall.
The standard climb of Mount Everest from the south side ascends the Khumbu glacier to Base Camp at about 5,400 m. Typical expeditions use 4 camps above Base Camp; these camps give the climbers an opportunity to rest and adapt to the high altitude. The route from Base Camp through the great Khumbu icefall up to Camp I at 6,000 m is difficult and dangerous; it usually takes 1 to 3 weeks to establish because supplies must be carried up the mountain in several separate trips.
(CHINAREVIEW)


Between Camps 1 and 2
several ladders to negotiate after climbing the Khumbu icefall
From radson's Image Gallery at SummitPost.org


The difficulties of climbing Mount Everest are legendary. Massive snow and ice avalanches are a constant threat to all expeditions. The avalanches thunder off the peaks repeatedly, sometimes burying valleys, glaciers, and climbing routes. Camps are chosen to avoid known avalanche paths, and climbers who make ascents through avalanche terrain try to cross at times when the weather is most appropriate. Hurricane-force winds are a well-known hazard on Everest, and many people have been endangered or killed when their tents collapsed or were ripped to shreds by the gales. Hypothermia, the dramatic loss of body heat, is also a major and debilitating problem in this region of high winds and low temperatures.
(CHINAREVIEW)


A very cool night at Camp 2
the stars came out over the Lhotse wall
From radson's Image Gallery at SummitPost.org


Camp 3 on the Lhotse Face
from Alan Arnette's Image Gallery at SummitPost.org


Once Camp II, at 6,500 m, has been supplied in the same manner using both Base Camp and Camp I as bases, climbers typically break down Base Camp and make the trek from there to Camp II in one continuous effort. Once acclimatized, the climbers can make the move to Camp II in 5 to 6 hours.
Camp III is then established near the cirque of the Khumbu glacier. The route up the cirque headwall from Camp III to the South Col and Camp IV at 8,000 m is highly strenuous and takes about 4 to 8 hours. The South Col is a cold, windy, and desolate place of rocks, snow slabs, littered empty oxygen bottles, and other trash.
From the South Col to the summit is a climb of only about 900 vertical m, although its fierce exposure to adverse weather and steep drop-offs poses many challenges. The section between 8,530 m and the South Summit at 8,750 m is particularly treacherous because of the steepness and unstable snow. From the South Summit there remains another 90 vertical meter along a terrifying knife-edged ridge. The exposure is extreme, with the possibility of huge vertical drops into Tibet on the right and down the southwest face on the left. A little more than 30 vertical meter from the summit is a 12 meter chimney across a rock cliff known as the Hillary Step; this is one of the greatest technical challenges of the climb.
As the popularity of climbing Everest has increased in recent years, so have safety problems. To pay the high climbing permit fee charged by the Nepalese government, many experienced climbers have recruited wealthy, amateur climbers as teammates. The combination of inexperience, crowdedsummit conditions (more than 30 have been known to summit the peak on the same day), and extreme weather conditions has led to a number of tragedies in which clients and competent guides alike have died attempting the climb.
(CHINAREVIEW)


Summit day on Vinson
From richardpattison's Image Gallery at SummitPost.org


This photo (above) was taken on the normal route in the "high valley" leading past several summits towards Vinson itself, the summit is in the centre of the picture. The standard route goes round to the left, then turns and comes back along the left skyline ridge to the top. The ridge isn't steep at any section, a trekking pole is sufficient. ANI have a stretcher and emergency supplies in the rocks at mid-left.
(richardpattison's Image Gallery at SummitPost.org)


Climbers on the Lhotse Face in some high winds
From Alan Arnette's Image Gallery at SummitPost.org


Last ladder to the Western Cwm
From radson's Image Gallery at SummitPost.org


Clipping on
From radson's Image Gallery at SummitPost.org


Looking down from the south summit
From richardpattison's Image Gallery at SummitPost.org


This photo (above) illustrates quite well the steepness of the south-east ridge, leading up to the south summit with the south col below.. The photo was taken from near the top of the south summit. The rocky section just below presents 2 deceptively difficult spurs, quite steep and loose rock requiring scrambling with hands, the difficultly is mainly due to the oxygen mask imparing your vision i.e. you can't see your feet. Also the bulky clothes and altitude add to the difficulty. The tents of camp 4 can be seen on the rockyy section of the south col mid-right.
American Dale Wagner, Briton David Fairweather & Sherpa Tenji are below.
(richardpattison's Image Gallery at SummitPost.org)


Just below Washburn's Thumb on the ridge
between 16,000 ft and 17,200 ft camp on the West Buttress
richardpattison's Image Gallery at SummitPost.org


View from the top
From sutcliffe996's Image Gallery at SummitPost.org


The highest mountain in the world attracts climbers of all levels, from well experienced mountaineers to novice climbers willing to pay substantial sums to professional mountain guides to complete a successful climb. The mountain, while not posing substantial technical climbing difficulty on the standard route (other eight-thousanders such as K2 or Nanga Parbat are much more difficult), still has many inherent dangers such as altitude sickness, weather and wind. By the end of the 2008 climbing season, there had been 4,102 ascents to the summit by about 2,700 individuals. Climbers are a significant source of tourist revenue for Nepal, whose government also requires all prospective climbers to obtain an expensive permit, costing up to US$25,000 per person. Everest has claimed 210 lives, including eight who perished during a 1996 storm high on the mountain. Conditions are so difficult in the death zone that most corpses have been left where they fell. Some of them are visible from standard climbing routes.
(Mountain7.com)


North-east Ridge of Everest in the morning glow
From Kenzo Okawa's Image Galleryat SummitPost.org.


Everest Ablaze
(not Photoshoped in any way)
From bbirtle's Image Gallery at SummitPost.org


The last rays of sunlight on Mount Everest
Author Thomas.fanghaenel
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia



No comments: