Mount Everest

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 27 January, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 27 January, 2010, 12:00am

The name game

The highest mountain in the world sits on the border of Nepal and Tibet. It is 8,848 metres. The name Everest comes from an English surveyor in India - George Everest. The British couldn't find a local name for it because Nepal and Tibet were closed to the outside world at the time.

The Nepalese call the mountain Sagarmatha. The Tibetans call it Qomolangma. In Chinese it is called Zhumulangma Feng.

The Tibetan name means 'Saint Mother', so the Everest is also called Shengmu Feng in Chinese.

Finding the world's highest peak

In the early 1800s, India was a British colony. The British knew the world's highest mountains were in the north of the country. They decided to begin a big survey to find out which ones were the highest.

But Nepal would not let the surveyors into the country. It did not want to become a colony like India. The surveyors had to measure the mountains of the Himalayas from more than 200 kilometres away in the jungle.

In 1854, they calculated that Mount Everest was 8,840 metres and named it the highest in the world.

A challenge

For a long time, people had wondered if you could climb Mount Everest. But it was not until 1921 that somebody had a close look. That year, Briton George Mallory climbed 7,000 metres up the mountain. He thought he could see a way to the top, but was not ready to try it that year.

Mallory went back twice, in 1922 and 1924, but he died close to the top on his third try.

The mountain was climbed eight more times before someone reached the top on the ninth try in 1953. Tenzing Norgay, a Nepalese who had helped with past journeys, and New Zealander Edmund Hillary reached the top at 11.30am on May 29, 1953.

The Olympic torch

On May 8, 2008, the Olympic torch was carried to the top of Mount Everest ahead of the Beijing Games. The climb was started and finished by Tibetan women.

now do this

1 Mount Everest is a ... name.

a. Tibetan

b. Nepalese

c. British

2 Mount Everest was named the tallest mountain in the world in ...

a. 1953

b. 1854

c. 1808

3 Mount Everest is on the border of ...

a. Nepal and Tibet

b. Tibet and India

c. Nepal and India


January 20

1. q, 2. c, 3. c