China and Nepal jointly announced a new height for Everest, ending a disagreement between the two countries. The new official height of the mountain is 8,848.86 meters, slightly more than the previous measurement of Nepal and about four meters more than the Chinese.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his Nepalese counterpart Pradeep Gyawali simultaneously pressed buttons during a virtual press conference, and the new height appeared on the screen.
The new height of the mountain, which is on the China-Nepal border, was agreed after Nepalese prospectors scaled the peak in 2019 and a Chinese team did the same in 2020. There was a debate about what the actual height of Everest peak was, and concerns that it may have lost height after a strong earthquake in 2015.
The quake killed 9,000 people, damaged a million structures in Nepal and triggered an avalanche on Everest that killed 19 people in the base camp. There was no doubt that Everest was still the highest mountain in the world, since the second, K2 , is just 8,611 meters high.
The first measurement of Everest was by a British team around 1856, which gave an estimate of 8,842 meters. However, the most accepted figure has been 8,848 meters because it did not include the snow at the top.
In 1999, a team from the National Geographic Society using GPS technology obtained an altitude of 8,850 meters. A Chinese team said in 2005 that it was 8,844.43 meters because it did not include the snow at the top. Nepalese Climbing Community Celebrated End of Mountain Height Confusion
“This is a milestone in the history of mountaineering, which will finally end the debate on altitude and now the world will have a number,” said Santa Bir Lama, president of the Nepalese Mountaineering Association.
For China, the announcement was both a political and a geographical issue. China has brought Nepal closer to its orbit by investing in its economy and building highways, dams, airports and other infrastructure in the impoverished nation.
That appears to serve China’s interests in curbing both the influence of rival India, with which it shares a disputed border, and Nepal’s role as a destination for Tibetan refugees.