Nepal and China to announce height of Everest on Tuesday

The precise height of Mount Everest has been contested ever since the British, during their rule in India, first measured it in 1849.

Nepal and China are officially announcing the new height of Mt Everest on Tuesday after both countries recently measured the world’s tallest mountain.

This will be the first time the two countries that the mountain straddles are announcing the height, ending controversies regarding its height since it was first measured in 1849 by the British.

“We [Nepal] and China will then announce the height jointly on Tuesday,” said Padma Aryal, minister for land reform and management.

Between 1849 and 1855, observations were made from Dehradun, India base to Sonakhoda base in Bihar. During these triangulation observations, the Himalayan peaks of Nepal were also observed. At that time it was not known that this peak in the Himalayas is the highest in the world.

During computations, the mean computed height of ‘Peak XV’ came out to be 29,002 ft and it was named after Sir George Everest, the ex surveyor general of India.

The widely accepted height of 8,848 metres or 29,028 feet was determined by the Survey of India in 1954 from Bihar using the trigonometric method. It was the third survey by India.

It was during Chinese President Xi Jingping’s visit last year that Nepal and China agreed to jointly announce the height.
The announcement will also end geologists’ speculation that the height of Everest could have changed due to the 2015 earthquake with a possible shift in its position.

Minister Aryal told the Post that a pre-press briefing will be held on Monday at the Department of Survey where details of programmes regarding the announcement will be made public.

“We are expecting an official letter from China on Monday morning regarding the joint announcement,” a senior official at the ministry said.

While Nepal started measuring the height of the mountain in 2017, China did so last year.

In 2005, the Chinese State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping re-measured the peak and declared 8,844.43 meters as the Everest rock-height. Chinese and Nepali officials had then disagreed over the height of the iconic peak.

Nepal had announced in 2011 measuring the mountain’s height as a “national pride” project but the project could not move forward because of political instability and a lack of funds.

On November 25, the Cabinet meeting had given the go-ahead for the announcement.

Nepal, which is home to eight of the world’s 14 8,000-metre peaks, never measured the peak on its own before.

A total of 6,507 mountaineers have climbed Everest from the Nepal side since Tenzing Norgay Sherpa and New Zealander Edmund Percival Hillary first set foot atop the world's highest peak in May 1953.

Published:  Dec-8-2020

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