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For 13 years after it was found to the highest mountain in the world, Peak XV had no European name. In 1865 the then Surveyor Gen of India suggested that it be named after his predecessor, Sir George Everest, the man responsible for the remarkable Great Trigonometrical Survey which ultimately determined its height. Everest himself, while honored, was privately unhappy, as it was official policy that mountains be given their local vernacular name. However, an exception was made and the name stuck.
Mt.Everest has been climbed many times and by many routes since 1953. The route taken by Hunt’s expedition is the ‘Ordinary Route’, disparagingly called the ‘Yak’ route by Sherpas. The first Chinese expeditions to reach the summit from the north side did so in 1960 and 1975. We shall never know if the British mountaineers Mallory and Irvine preceded them in 1924, when they perished on the mountain! Following his achievement on Annapurna’s South Face, Chris Bonington led two expeditions to tackle Everest’s Southwest Face and succeeded in 1975, with Dougal Haston reaching the summit. In 1970 Yuichiro Muira tried to ski down the Lhotse Face from the South Col, spent most of it airborne and out of control and ended unconscious on the edge of a crevasse! Rheinhold Messner and Alison Hargreaves have climbed it without oxygen. Peter Hillary followed in his father’s footsteps and stood on the summit in 1990. In Apr 1988, two teams of Japanese met on top, having scaled the North and South Faces. There to record the event was a television Crew!
On 29 September 1992 a ‘GPS’ survey using signals from satellites determined the height of Everest as 8846.1m. Although this is 2m lower than believed previously, Everest is still higher than K2, despite claims to the contrary made in the New York Times in Mar 1987. In Apr 1993 the team that first climbed Everest trekked to the Base Camp for a 40th anniversary reunion – to find 1,500 other climbers waiting their turn to go to the top of the world.