It had taken us 7 days or more to reach Rongphu Monastery at the north face of Mount Everest and the mountain was now teasing us. The clouds were down over the mountain and very occasionally we would catch fleeting glimpses of small parts of the top of the peak as we stood outside the monastery looking south.
After dinner in the restaurant at the Rongphu Monastery Guesthouse and as the light was rapidly going the clouds cleared and at last, we saw Mount Everest standing proud and clear in front of us …… it was spectacular.
Mount Everest at 8,848m is the highest mountain above sea level in the world. We had seen Mount Everest from the Nepal side some years ago during a trek to Tengboche so it was interesting to see the north face, which is much more dramatic as the peak is not hidden by any other mountains, unlike the Tibet side.
The current official elevation of 8,848 m (29,029 ft), recognised by China and Nepal, was established by a 1955 Indian survey and subsequently confirmed by a Chinese survey in 1975. In 2005, China remeasured the rock height of the mountain, with a result of 8844.43 m. There followed an argument between China and Nepal as to whether the official height should be the rock height (8,844 m., China) or the snow height (8,848 m., Nepal). In 2010, an agreement was reached by both sides that the height of Everest is 8,848 m, and Nepal recognises China’s claim that the rock height of Everest is 8,844 m
In 1865, Everest was given its official English name by the Royal Geographical Society, upon a recommendation by Andrew Waugh, the British Surveyor General of India. As there appeared to be several different local names, Waugh chose to name the mountain after his predecessor in the post, Sir George Everest, despite George Everest’s objections.
Everest Base Camp
The next morning we rose early and drove up to the end of the road in the dark to try and catch the sunrise over Mount Everest from the Everest Base Camp at 5,200m. The original base camp which is about 4km up the track from the end of the road is now closed to the public but there is a temporary camp at the end of the road then you can trek about 1km up the trail to a monument. We arrived here at dawn but the clouds were still very low and we could not get a clear view of Everest unfortunately.
On our return to our guesthouse at Rongphu Monastery, and just as we were packing up to depart, the clouds cleared and again we got some great views of Everest. So we were lucky in that we got two wonderful sightings of this magnificent mountain before we had to leave on our return to Shigatse.
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