Mount Everest by the Numbers

atkins-bookshelf-trivia“There [are] many, many fine reasons [not to climb Mount Everest], but attempting to climb Everest is an intrinsically irrational act — a triumph of desire over sensibility,” writes Jon Krakauer in his introduction to Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mount Everest Disaster [of May 1996], “Any person who would seriously consider it is by definition beyond the sway of reasoned argument.” Well stated. So, if you are contemplating an expedition to summit Mount Everest, perhaps these numbers might persuade you to choose sensibility over triumph:

Number of people who have died climbing Mount Everest: about 255
Highest fatalities in one day: 16 Sherpas, killed by an avalanche at Base Camp (April 18, 2014)
Number of corpses on Mount Everest: about 120 mostly located in the “Death Zone” (rescuing bodies is far too dangerous; some of the bodies are buried if conditions permit)

Top causes of death for climbers:
32% Fall
16% Exposure or frostbite
12% Altitude sickness

Top causes of death for Sherpas
35% Avalanche
18% Fall
15% Icefall collapse

Number of climbers who have reached the summit: over 4,000
First person to reach summit: Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay (May 29, 1953)
Youngest person to reach summit: Jordan Romero, age 13 (May 2008)
Oldest person to reach summit: Yuichiro Miura, 80

Longest time spent at summit: Babu Chiri Sherpa, 20 hours (1999)

Most times to summit, Sherpa: 21 times by Apa Sherpa (from 1990 to 2011)
Most times to summit, non-Sherpa: 5 times by Rob Hall

Highest number of summits in one day: 40 (May 10, 1993)
Highest number of summits in one year: 633 in 2007

Cost to climb Mount Everest: $65,000
Breakdown of total cost:
Local expedition companies: $25,000
Gear, oxygen, and food: $15,000
Permits, fees: $15,000
Airfare, hotels, and transit: $10,000

Amount of trash on Mount Everest: about 120 tons each year
Trash deposit: $4,000 per climber (each climber must return with 17.6 lbs of trash or lose their deposit)

Height of Mount Everest: 29,035 feet (highest peak in the world)
Cruising altitude of a Boeing 747: 35,000 feet
Amount of oxygen above 26,000 feet (the “death zone”): 70% less than at sea level, incapable of sustaining human life.

Atmospheric pressure above 26,000 feet: 5.16 psi
Elevation of base camp (southern side): 17,600
Temperature range: -31 to -100 degrees F
Wind speed: up to 51- 118 mph

Age of Mount Everest: 60 million years
Number of countries visible from summit: 3, India, Nepal, and Tibet

Read related posts: Who Holds the Most Guinness World Records?
Fastest Man in the World
Red Bull Stratos: Mission to the Edge of Space

For further reading: Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster by Jon Krakauer, Anchor (1999)
High Risk by Emily Maltby, infographic by Lon Tweeten, Time Magazine, May 19, 2014

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