The will to conquer Mount Everest lives on

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 04 April, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 04 April, 2002, 12:00am

On the China-Nepal border sits the tallest mountain in the world - Everest. Mount Everest, the North Pole and the South Pole are known as the Three Poles of the Earth.

The mountain is 8,848 metres high. Tibetans used to call it Chomolungma, or 'mother goddess of the world'. The mountain was named after the British surveyor Sir George Everest.

Throughout the history of mankind, the Three Poles have been regarded as the three most mysterious places in the world. Many scientists led expeditions there for research purposes. And explorers went there for excitement and adventure - and probably found it - if they did not die in the process.

New Zealander Sir Edmund Hillary and Nepalese Tenzing Norgay were the first to reach the top of Mount Everest. On May 29, 1953, they set foot on the summit - the highest point on Earth. Hillary also led expeditions to the South Pole and other remote corners of the world.

In 1999, the frozen body of British mountaineer George Mallory - which had lain on Everest for 75 years - was discovered by an expedition. Mallory and his partner Andrew Irvine went missing during an attempt to climb the world's highest peak in 1924. Mallory's body was found about 600 metres from the summit. There was no proof that the two climbers ever made it to the top.

Since then, people have been queueing up to conquer Everest. Some have made it, and some have not. In May 1996, a group of more than a dozen climbers were nearing the summit when a storm hit them. Several of them were inexperienced mountaineers. Eight lost their lives and some survivors suffered severe frostbite.

However, Everest may not stand eternally.

According to recent research, the disastrous effects of industrial pollution, vast exploration of natural resources and waste disposal are invading the Three Poles.

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