Daily US Times: A team of Chinese surveyors have scaled Mount Everest. They were the only climbers to summit the world’s highest point during the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the Chinese media report, the team is there to re-measure the height of Everest, which is on the two countries’ border.
Until now, China has put Everest’s height at 4m lower than Nepal does. The huge earthquake in 2015 may have had an impact.
Both China and Nepal banned foreign teams from climbing the mountain this year due to coronavirus travel restrictions. Nepal canceled all expeditions, while China permitted only its citizens for the climb this spring season.
The Chinese team of surveyors began their ascent in April and summit bids had been thwarted so far by bad weather.
But China Central Television’s live footage showed the surveyors working on the wind-swept summit.
Xinhua news agency reported: “After summiting, team members began erecting a survey marker on the snow-covered peak, which measures less than 20 square metres.”
The state media reported that climbing guides were able to fix ropes to the summit only on Tuesday, allowing the rest of the team to ascend.
“Two professional surveyors have been withdrawn from the peak-climbing squad due to uncertainties about the weather and insufficient supplies such as oxygen,” Xinhua added.
Recordkeepers say it is very rare of Chinese climbers being the only on the peak. Richard Salisbury of the Himalayan Database, said: “In spring 1960, only the Chinese reached the summit. The Indians tried, but failed.”
Himalayan Database is an organisation that keeps records of all expeditions in the Himalayas.
“There were various Chinese recon, research and training climbs from 1958 through 1967 when nobody else was on the mountain, but no ascents by any of them,” it added.
China has been showing Everest’s height as 8,844.43, which excludes the snow cap, after it conducted a measurement in 2005, but Nepal uses 8,848m, a figure determined by the Survey of India during British colonial rule.
That height also includes the snow cap. The impact of the huge 2015 earthquake are yet to be asses. Some geologists believe the earthquake may have caused the snow cap to shrink.
Some mountaineers had reported that the Hilary Step just before the summit was no longer there, probably because of the quake but Nepali authorities dismissed the observation.
Nepal’s government launched its own measurement of Everest’s height in 2017. It has almost completed processing the data obtained using a combination of traditional and modern techniques.
Damodar Dhakal, a spokesperson with Nepal’s department of survey told that they just need to do some final touching now.
“The idea was to hold an international workshop during this time and make the results of our measurement public. But the Covid-19 lockdown has delayed everything,” he said.
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