33 Mount Everest Facts Even More Astounding Than The Mountain Itself

Published May 23, 2018
Updated August 30, 2022

From its dead bodies serving as guideposts to its most remarkable climbers to its enormous feces problem, these Mount Everest facts are even more fascinating than you could imagine.

Mount Everest Facts Height
Everest's first surveyors added two extra feet to their height figure. When British surveyors in the 1850s first calculated Everest's height at exactly 29,000 feet, they assumed people would think it was a round estimate and thus added two extra feet to their total.Wikimedia Commons

Everest From Drukair
It may be even taller than officially reported. More recent surveys put Everest's height at 29,029 feet but a disputed satellite measurement from 1999 says that number might actually be 29,035.Wikimedia Commons

Markers On Mount Everest
There have been more than 200 climbing deaths on Mount Everest, and many of the bodies remain on the mountain.Wikimedia Commons

Facts About Mount Everest Green Boots
Some of these bodies serve as guideposts for other climbers. The body of "Green Boots" (pictured), who died in 1996, lies in a cave near the summit.Wikimedia Commons

Climbers On Mount Everest
Most corpses remain because it requires $30,000 - $70,000 and six to ten sherpas to bring a corpse back down the mountain.rkilpatrick21/Flickr

Mauna Kea
Everest isn't Earth's tallest mountain; Hawaii's Mauna Kea is. Everest is the planet's highest point above sea level. Hawaii's Mauna Kea is about 4,000 feet higher, but most of that height is below sea level.mbiddulph/Flickr

Mount Everest Facts Permit
The permit to climb Everest costs $11,000. If you're caught climbing without one, the penalty fee is double the permit cost.Wikimedia Commons

Mount Everest Facts Cost To Climb
But the full cost of climbing can be as high as $100,000. Between gear, training, travel, and accommodations, TIME estimates that the climb can cost between $35,000 and $100,000.Pixabay

Trash On Mount Everest
An estimated 50 tons of trash have been left by Everest climbers over the last six decades. Litter includes water bottles, oxygen tanks, equipment, and feces.NAMGYAL SHERPA/AFP/Getty Images

Facts About Mount Everest Feces
About 26,000 pounds of human feces must be hauled off the mountain every year.STR/AFP/Getty Images

Yuichiro Miura
The oldest climber to reach the top was Yūichirō Miura of Japan at age 80.TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA/AFP/Getty Images

Min Bahadur Sherchan
He broke the record of Nepal's Min Bahadur Sherchan, who did it at 76 and died on the mountain while trying to reclaim his title at 85.Wikimedia Commons

Kami Rita Sherpa Everest
The record-holder for most climbs to the summit, Kami Rita Sherpa, has done so 22 times.Milan Adhikari/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

Blind Mountain Climbers
Recently, the government of Nepal decided to ban solo climbers, blind people, and double amputees from climbing Everest in order to decrease fatalities.Pixabay

Erik Weihenmayer
Before the ban, two blind climbers were able to reach the summit. They were mountaineers Erik Weihenmayer (pictured, right) and Andy Holzer (not pictured), who did so separately.deetrak/Flickr

Pemba Dorje Moni Mulepati
Nepalese Sherpa Pem Dorjee married Moni Mulepati atop Everest in 2005, making them the first to wed at the summit.DEVENDRA M SINGH/AFP/Getty Images

People Climbing Everest
Many more deaths occur on the way down from the summit than the way up. Almost four times the amount of climbers die descending from the summit compared with those that die on the final leg of the climb to the summit.Wikimedia Commons

Snowy Summit Selfie
At least one person has died on Everest every year since 1969, except in 1977.Wikimedia Commons

Sunny Mountain Summit
The Nepalese call Mount Everest Sagarmatha, meaning "Forehead (or Goddess) of the Sky."Wikimedia Commons

Sherpa Portrait
The Sherpas used to regard Everest as sacred, believing gods and demons lived in the high peaks and the Yeti roamed the lower slopes.Wikimedia Commons

Edmund Hillary Tenzing Norgay
Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay were the first documented climbers to reach Everest's summit on May 29, 1953.Wikimedia Commons

George Mallory
George Mallory and Andrew Irvine attempted to be the first to reach the top of Everest in 1924, but they disappeared. Mallory’s body was found in 1999 — but Irvine, along with his camera, was never found.Wikimedia Commons

Facts About Mount Everest Beck Weathers
The highest rescue mission ever completed was the retrieval of Beck Weathers, an experienced climber who was left for dead twice, but is still alive.YouTube

Tectonic Plates
Mount Everest formed about 60 million years ago, as India crashed into Eurasia. This collision erased a Mesozoic Era ocean named Tethys in the process.Pixabay

Limestone Mountain Rock
The limestone and sandstone rock at the summit were once sedimentary layers below Tethys and are 450 million years old.Wikimedia Commons

Base Camp Of Everest
Glaciers have chiseled Mount Everest into a giant pyramid with three faces and three ridges. The southeastern ridge is the most traveled climbing route.Pixabay

George Everest
It's named for a man who never saw it or had anything to do with its history. Andrew Waugh, the British surveyor who first measured the mountain, named it for his predecessor, George Everest, whose India home was near the Himalayan Mountains.Wikimedia Commons

Winds On Mount Everest
Winds at the summit can reach 175 miles per hour.deetrak/Flickr

Cold Mountaineers
The warmest average daytime temperature on the summit is about −2 degrees Fahrenheit.Mário Simoes/Flickr

Nepal Sherpa Village
The valleys below Everest are inhabited by Tibetan-speaking Sherpas, who live in villages at elevations up to 14,000 feet.Wikimedia Commons

Kala Patther Base
Sherpas and Nepali mountain workers made up 40 percent of all Everest deaths over the last century. Sixteen of them died on one single day (April 18, 2014) due to an avalanche.Wikimedia Commons

Most of us would gaze upon the majestic beauty of Mount Everest and simply stand in awe. Others see it as the ultimate conquest.

But to climb the world's tallest peak above sea level, it takes unimaginable endurance, courage, and strength as well as tons of money. Of course, it also takes the willingness to risk some limbs — and maybe even your life.

In the 65 years since Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay became the first documented climbers to summit the Himalayan peak on the border of Tibet and Nepal, more than 200 mountaineers have died there.

Some were experienced veterans who met tragic ends, like David Sharp, who was ignored by dozens of other passing climbers as he sat on the verge of his impending death in 2006.

Others were brazen daredevils who aimed for glory and came up short, like Marco Siffredi, who died trying to snowboard down Everest in 2002.

But although Everest has countless stories of tragedy and suffering, it has just as many tales of triumph and heroism. Look no further than the stories of the man who reached the summit despite being blind or the courageous couple who reached the top and got married there.

For more on these brave climbers as well as all the other astounding tidbits about Earth's ultimate peak, check out the most interesting Mount Everest facts in the gallery above.

After this look at the most fascinating Mount Everest facts, read up on Francys Arsentiev, the mountain's "Sleeping Beauty." Then, discover the story of Rob Hall, whose story proves that Everest can conquer any climber no matter how experienced they are.

Erin Kelly
An All That’s Interesting writer since 2013, Erin Kelly focuses on historic places, natural wonders, environmental issues, and the world of science. Her work has also been featured in Smithsonian and she’s designed several book covers in her career as a graphic artist.