Mount Everest has officially grown by nearly a metre after Nepal and China agree new height
Mount Everest is officially higher than previously thought, Nepal and China have confirmed.
The joint announcement settles a long-running conflict over the height of the world’s tallest peak that straddles the countries’ shared border.
Kathmandu and Beijing each sent surveyors to the summit and agreed that the official height is 8,848.86 metres (29,031.69ft), slightly higher than previous calculations.
Nepal had never before measured the mountain, but used a 1953 calculation by the Survey of India, which includes the snow cap, to put its height at 8,848 metres (29,028ft).
Meanwhile, China counted snow in its 2005 calculation of the rock summit, which was 8,844.43 metres (29,017ft) – that’s about 3.7 meters (11 feet) less than Nepal’s previous estimate.
Nepali Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi announced the findings on a video call.
Climber Ashish Gurung, who was also on the call, said the news was a big deal.
“We have to respect anything that becomes ‘plus’,” he said.
“The increase in height is a source of huge pride for Nepal and Nepalese people.”
Mountaineers had suggested a 7.8 magnitude earthquake in 2015 that killed nearly 9,000 people in Nepal may have affected Everest’s height.
The country, which is home to another seven of the world’s 14 highest peaks, sent its first team of surveyors to the peak in May last year.
A Chinese expedition then climbed the peak this spring, when the mountain was closed by both countries for other climbers due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Santa Bir Lama, president of the Nepal Mountaineering Association, said: “This is a milestone in mountaineering history which will finally end the debate over the height and now the world will have one number.”
Everest’s revised height follows the death of one of the UK’s first climbers to reach the top.
Doug Scott, who has been described as one of the greatest mountaineers of his generation, climbed the world’s tallest peak in 1975.
The 79-year-old died from cancer on Monday, a charity he founded to help people in the Himalayas confirmed.
In a statement released today, the Community Action Nepal said he died peacefully at his home in the Lake District.
Scott was the first to climb, along with his Scottish partner Dougal Haston, Everest’s southwest face in 1975.
The southwest face is widely regarded as one of the greatest challenges in mountaineering due to its length and exposure to high winds.
At the time, Queen Elizabeth congratulated the team on a “magnificent achievement”.
Mr Haston died in an avalanche while skiing in Switzerland at the age of 36 in 1977.
Mr Scott also came close to death that year, when he broke both legs while abseiling from the peak of The Ogre, a relatively uncharted peak in the Himalayas.
He effectively crawled to base camp supported by two teammates, Mo Anthoine and Clive Rowland.
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