How high is Mount Everest? 29,028 feet, 29,035 feet or 28,998 feet? We shall soon know for sure. A joint Chinese and Nepalese team is about to begin a detailed scientific exercise to calculate the height of the world’s highest peak. The decision was taken on Wednesday at a meeting of surveyors of the two countries.
“There is great confusion over the actual height of Everest,” said Bhamindra Aryal, an official of Nepal’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
He blamed the different technologies used by scientists over the years. “Now people depend more on the Global Positioning System (GPS),” he said.
The current accepted height -- 29,028 ft -- was arrived at in 1954 by B.L. Gulatee, an Indian surveyor. In 1998 Charles Corfield, member of a United States Everest expedition, and some other scientists claimed that the accepted altitude of the peak needed to be adjusted downward by about 30 ft.
Then, in November 1999, the mountain’s height was announced as 29,035 ft. Seven climbers, using the GPS, had measured it from the mountain’s summit.
Aryal said the government was serious about ascertaining the actual height as Everest was the pride of the country.
Whatever the findings of the latest exercise, Nepalese remain confident that any new claim will not affect the status of Everest as the world’s highest peak. K2, the second highest, is only 28,250 ft high.