Monday, January 14, 2008


Mount Everest, also called Chomolungma or Qomolangma (Tibetan: ཇོ་མོ་གླང་མ) or Sagarmatha (Nepali: सगरमाथा) is the highest mountain on Earth, as measured by the height of its summit above sea level. The mountain, which is part of the Himalaya range in High Asia, is located on the border between Nepal and Tibet, China. By the end of the 2006 climbing season there had been 3,050 ascents to the summit by 2,062 individuals, and at least 630 more ascents in 2007.[citation needed] There have been more than 200 deaths on the mountain, where conditions are so difficult that most corpses have been left where they fell; some are visible from standard climbing routes.

Climbers range from experienced mountaineers to relative novices who count on their paid guides to get them to the top. This means climbers are a significant source of tourist revenue for Nepal, whose government also requires all prospective climbers to obtain an expensive permit, costing up to $25,000 (USD) per person.

The Tibetan name for Mount Everest is Chomolungma or Qomolangma (ཇོ་མོ་གླིང་མ, translated as "Mother of the Universe" or "Goddess Mother of the Earth"), and the related Chinese name is Zhūmùlǎngmǎ Fēng (simplified Chinese: 珠穆朗玛峰; traditional Chinese: 珠穆朗瑪峰) or Shèngmǔ Fēng (simplified Chinese: 圣母峰; traditional Chinese: 聖母峰).[citation needed] According to English accounts of the mid-19th century, the local name in Darjeeling for Mount Everest was Deodungha, or "Holy Mountain." [1]. In the 1960s, the Government of Nepal gave the mountain the official Nepali name of Sagarmatha (सगरमाथा), meaning "Goddess of the Sky".[citation needed]

In 1865, the mountain was given its English name by Andrew Waugh, the British surveyor-general of India. With both Nepal and Tibet closed to foreign travel, he wrote:

I was taught by my respected chief and predecessor, Colonel Sir George Everest to assign to every geographical object its true local or native appellation. But here is a mountain, most probably the highest in the world, without any local name that we can discover, whose native appellation, if it has any, will not very likely be ascertained before we are allowed to penetrate into Nepal. In the meantime the privilege as well as the duty devolves on me to assign…a name whereby it may be known among citizens and geographers and become a household word among civilized nations.

Waugh chose to name the mountain after George Everest, first using the spelling Mont Everest, and then Mount Everest. However, the modern pronunciation of Everest (IPA: /ˈɛvərɪst/ (EV-er-est)) is in fact different from Sir George's own pronunciation of his surname, which was /ˈiːvrɪst/ (EAVE-rest).[citation needed]

In the late 19th century many European cartographers incorrectly believed that a native name for the mountain was "Gaurisankar". This was a result of confusion of Mount Everest with the actual Gauri Sankar, which, when viewed from Kathmandu, stands almost directly in front of Everest.[citation needed]

In the early 1960s, the Nepalese government realized that Mount Everest had no Nepalese name.[citation needed] This was because the mountain was not known and named in ethnic Nepal (that is, the Kathmandu valley and surrounding areas).[citation needed] The government set out to find a name for the mountain (the Sherpa/Tibetan name Chomolangma was not acceptable, as it would have been against the idea of unification (Nepalization) of the country. The name Sagarmatha (सगरमाथा) was thus invented by Baburam Acharya.[citation needed]

In 2002, the Chinese People's Daily newspaper published an article making a case against the continued use of the English name for the mountain in the Western world, insisting that it should be referred to by its Tibetan name. The newspaper argued that the Chinese (in nature a Tibetan) name preceded the English one, as Mount Qomolangma was marked on a Chinese map more than 280 years ago

No comments: