Nepal measurement to decide Everest height

KATHMANDU Tue Jul 19, 2011 1:08pm IST

Travellers enjoy the the view of Mount Everest at Syangboche in Nepal December 3, 2009. REUTERS/Gopal Chitrakar/Files

Travellers enjoy the the view of Mount Everest at Syangboche in Nepal December 3, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Gopal Chitrakar/Files

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KATHMANDU (Reuters) - Nepal will measure the height of Mount Everest afresh, an official said on Tuesday, a survey that could end confusion about the exact height of the world’s tallest peak.

The official height of Mount Everest is 8,848 metres (29,028 feet) from the sea level as determined by the Survey of India in 1954.

In 1999, an expedition by the National Geographic Society and Boston's Museum of Science used satellite-based technology to measure the height of the snow covered peak, and determined the mountain stood 8,850 meters (29,035 feet) high.

Nepal has stuck to the snow height determined in 1954.

"This is part of our ongoing scientific research,” Raja Ram Chhatkuli, director general of Nepal's survey department, said of the latest measurement.

“The findings can take up to years to be known.”

Mount Everest straddles the border between Nepal and China and its height has always been a hotly debated issue between the two countries.

Chinese mountaineers and researchers climbed Mount Everest in May 2005 to determine its height and concluded that the rock height of the peak was about 3.7 meters (11 feet) less than the estimates made in 1954, or the summit was 8,844.43 meters (29,017 feet), with a margin of error of about 0.21 metres.

More than 3,100 climbers have climbed Mount Everest since it was first summited by New Zealander Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa in May 1953.

Eight of the world's 14 tallest peaks including Mount Everest are in Nepal or on its borders with China and India.

Some recent climbers say the mountain's glaciers are shrinking and portions of the trail leading to the summit are losing snow and turning rocky due to climate change.

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