HISTORY OF THE NAME
Western name: Everest
Tibetan Name: Qomolangma/ Chomolungma
Nepalese Name: Sagarmatha
The Royal Geographic Society gave the mountain the name Everest in 1865. The mountain didn’t draw a lot of attention until in 1840’s trigonometrical survey of India calculated its exact height. Information that it was the highest mountain on the planet came as a surprise. The Royal Geographic Society learned that the mountain had several local names. There was a debate regarding the new name until Andrew Waugh persuaded the society to name the mountain after the head of the trigonometric survey. Although Sir George Everest opposed it, the mountain got his name.
HEIGHT OF EVEREST
Everest is officially 8,848.86 meters or 29,028.87 feet high.
In 2020 group of Chinese and Nepalese scientists remeasured mount Everest. They jointly announced an updated height. The mountain became a little taller compared to the previous measurement of 8,848 meters. However, it can change. Mount Everest stands on tectonic plates that are still moving and can rise even higher. There is also a debate about the layer of snow and ice that can affect the measurement of the height.
HOW TO VISIT MOUNT EVEREST
Since Mount Everest sits at the border between Nepal and Tibet, you can visit it from both countries.
EVEREST FROM NEPAL
When traveling from Nepal, you have a choice of trekking to Everest or taking a helicopter flight to it. While the trekking route is very scenic and you can see many other magnificent peaks along the way, it can take 12-14 days both ways.
The helicopter ride is much faster and you can complete it in a day. However, the main downside of taking a Heli is that you cannot spend a lot of time enjoying the view at the base camp, because you wont acclimatize to high altitude and will run a risk of acute mountain sickness. Additionally, even group ride on a helicopter is expensive and depends on the weather conditions.
EVEREST FROM TIBET
When traveling from Tibet, most people prefer driving directly to the Everest Base Camp, although there are trekking options as well.
Driving from Lhasa to the Everest Base Camp in Tibet usually takes 2 days with unavoidable stops to enjoy amazing views along the way. Although the drive is short, the typical journey from Lhasa to Everest is at least 8 days long. It allows you to acclimatize to high altitude of the Himalayas.
Once you arrive in Lhasa, you will spend 2-3 days in Tibetan capital. Explore the city, visit Potala Palace – the residence of all successive Dalai Lamas, 7th century Jokhang Temple housing the Buddha statue created during the lifetime of the Buddha himself, and Sera and Drepung monasteries. On the way to Everest you will see Brahmaputra River, turquoise Yamdrok Lake, huge Karola glaciers and beautiful mountain ranges. You will also make stops at the religious centers: Gyantse monastery with 11-storey high Kumbum stupa and Tashi Lhunpo monastery in Shigatse, the residence of the Panchen Lamas (second highest lama in Tibet).
EVEREST BASE CAMP IN TIBET
Climbers attempting to reach the top of Mount Everest are staying in the tent camp about 10km away from the Rongbuk monastery. That’s where the summit organizer’s team also stays for about 2 months trying to make climbers as comfortable as possible in the harsh conditions of the Himalayas. Altitude at the Base Camp is 5,200 meters. Sun radiation during daytime is strong. Coupled with strong winds, it can easily cause sunburns. However, at night temperatures drop significantly often going well below zero.
Previously, non-climbers also visited the area of the climbers tent camp. However, starting from 2019 this area is no longer open for tourists to protect the fragile environment of the region.
All tourists are staying by the Rongbuk Monastery, the highest monastery in the world. During the warm time of the year, there is a tent camp. Large tents offer simple twin beds for 8-10 people. There is a stove in the center of each tent. You can order dinner and breakfast from an English menu. The dishes offered at tent are simple Tibetan meals: fried rice, noodles, soups, eggs and pancakes.
There is also a monastery guesthouse open for tourists year-round. Most of the rooms are dormitory and a few have twin beds. There is a simple restaurant in the guesthouse, where you can warm up and order meals.
For those, visiting Everest in Tibet with a private tour, there is another option available. If you cannot spend a night at high altitude or prefer a more comfortable stay, we can drive from Everest Base Camp back to Shegar, a small town about 100 km from the Rongbuk. In Shegar, you can stay in the Roof of The World Hotel. It is a 3-star hotel offering all necessary basic amenities.
Rongbuk is the highest monastery in the world located at 5,050 meters above sea level. It belongs to Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism. A small number of monks and nuns are staying in Rongbuk. They have separate living quarters but use the same monastery building for religious practices.
About 8km from the day monastery are some old ruins and small chapels with meditation cave. Padma Sambhava (Guru Rinpoche) meditated in this cave. Before 2019, tourists were visiting the cave. Unfortunately, the area is now closed for all tourists.
When visiting Rongbuk, be mindful of nuns who often spend time there in silent retreats.