Mt. Everest Just Got a Tiny Bit Taller, After Years of Disputes Between China and Nepal

Mount Everest has increased in stature.
Mount Everest has increased in stature. / Gunther Hagleitner, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Possibly the most famous mountain on Earth, Mount Everest stands as one of the biggest endurance challenges for climbers. It reaches approximately 29,032 feet, or 8848.86 meters high as of December 8, 2020. That’s nearly one meter taller than it was originally believed to be. So what changed?

According to CNN, China and Nepal have finally agreed on the mountain’s measurements. The two countries both have somewhat of a claim to Everest, since it sits on the border between Tibet and Nepal. The resolution—announced during a virtual press conference—ends years of bickering over the precise size of Everest.

In 2005, for example, China conducted a survey of the mountain and declared it stood 29,015 feet tall, or 8844 meters. Nepal, however, dismissed the data, sticking with a 1955 survey that clocked the mountain at 29,029 feet, or 8848 meters.

It wasn’t until geologists pointed out that a 7.8 magnitude earthquake in 2015 may have altered Everest’s profile that Nepal decided to take another measurement. At that point, the two countries agreed that this evaluation would be deemed official for both. (China did dispatch their own team to measure the Tibetan side.) GPS receivers were used to see how long it took for signals to travel between stations and converted that data into height.

The result: It’s now about 2 feet, or roughly 0.86 meters, taller, making for a total height of 29,031.7 feet, or 8848.86 meters.

There’s not yet been an official declaration of how to pronounce “Everest.” Named after Welsh geographer Colonel Sir George Everest, who pronounced his name Eve-rest (rhymes with sleeve), many people say Ever-rest. Qomolangma is its Tibetan name; Sagarmatha is its Nepali name.

[h/t CNN]