Because it’s there.
George Mallory

Claim to fame

Everest is the highest mountain on earth, standing at 8 850m/29 035ft. Its measurement is taken from sea level. Mauna Kea in Hawaii is the tallest when measured from its base on the ocean floor.

Belonging to Nepal, Tibet and China

Most people know that Everest is in the Himalayas, but not many people know the name of the actual portion of the mountain range the massive mountain sits in – the Mahalangur. The range straddles Nepal and Tibet.

The weather up there

The temperature never rises above freezing point and can drop to -60°c/-76°f, while the wind has been known to blow at over 160km/100mph an hour.

A mountain by any other name

Although the Great Trigonometric Survey of India was begun in 1802, to determine the names of the world’s highest mountains, it was only in 1852 that an Indian mathematician and surveyor, Radhanath Sikdar identified Everest as the world’s highest peak. Naming it however, was a problem. The desire was to use local names if possible, but Everest has many names. Among them are Deodungha or Holy Mountain, Qomolangma or Holy Mother and Sagarmatha or Goddess of the Sky. The two countries in which the mountain stood were closed to foreigners. In the end, despite his objections, the Royal Geographic Society officially named the mountain after a previous Surveyor General of India, Sir George Everest.

Khumbu Icefall
Everest summit ridge
everest runway

From a nine year-old in the library to an adult on a mountain

Dreams of becoming an explorer started early. I vividly remember being in the Rosebank library looking through National Geographic magazines for a school project. I came across an article on one of the earlier Himalayan expeditions and I remember thinking, “One day, I want to do that!” In 2007, that dream came true.

After two years of planning, training and preparation four of us landed on an extremely short runway at Lukla. It was an exciting start to the adventure. We took our time hiking to base camp, stopping in each village on the way up to Gokyo Lake and then over the Cho La Pass. In order to acclimatise we climbed Kala Pattar (5545m) twice.

From base camp we climbed the Khumbu Icefall a number of times, moving equipment a little higher up the mountain each time. We built up to spending a night at Camp 3, which was really cold and tough going. The next day we back down to the valley to recover and wait for a good weather window. When it arrived we climbed back up. Above Camp 3 and on our way up to the 8000m high Camp 4 on the South Col we went onto oxygen. Even getting snow to melt for water felt like a huge effort.
It’s amazing what altitude can do to you. I hadn’t eaten for several days when we set out to climb the summit at midnight. It was only when I watched the sunrise from the South Summit that I started to believe I might actually do this.
After all the preparations it was ironic that it was a tangle of old ropes left over from previous expeditions that helped me navigate the Hillary Step. And on 17 May at 8am I finally stood at the summit of the highest mountain in the world. The view of the Himalayas was awe inspiring.

On the way down it seemed as if the whole mountain was following us as avalanches kept dropping of the side walls near Camp 1 every few minutes. To say I was exhausted was an understatement. Despite that, I could almost imagine that if I turned around, somewhere over my shoulder I’d see that nine-year-old kid grinning at me.

Everest ascend

When I fell down a crevasse, it was pretty scary.

Edmund Hillary