NFA (KATHMANDU, 8 November 2020) – 8,848.86 metres in new official height of Sagarmatha (Mount Everest. It was announced on 8 December 2020 simultaneously in Kathmandu and Beijing amid a programme attended by Nepal’s Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali and his Chinese counterparty Wang Yi.
The new announcement puts an end to the decades-long debate on the height of the world’s tallest mountain.The precise height of Mount Everest had been contested ever since a group of British surveyors in India declared the height of Peak XV, as it was initially called, to be 8,778 metres in 1847.
The new height was announced as per the joint measurement efforts by Nepal and China, the two countries the 8,848.86-metre mountain straddles. This new height converts to 29,031. 69
“This is a historic day,” Foreign Minister Gyawali said, making the much-awaited declaration on Tuesday. “The new height of Mt Everest is 8,848.86 metres.”
“There have been several surveys conducted in the last 170 years by different countries but Nepal has never measured its own peak,” said Padma Kumari Aryal, minister for land management, cooperatives and poverty alleviation. “This survey will end debates on the height of Everest once and for all. This will be a commonly accepted height.”
Between 1849 and 1855, the Survey of India made observations from Dehradun, India base to Sonakhoda base in Bihar. During these triangulation observations, the Himalayan peaks of Nepal were also observed. At that time it was not known that this peak in the Himalayas was the highest in the world.
During computations, the mean computed height of Peak XV came out to be 29,002 ft, or 8,839.80 metres, and it was later named after Sir George Everest, the ex surveyor-general of India.
The widely accepted height of 8,848 metres or 29,028 feet was determined by the Survey of India in 1954 from Bihar using the trigonometric method. It was the third survey conducted by India.
The second highest mountain in the world is K2, at 8,611 metres (28,251 ft) and is located in Pakistan. A Chinese survey in 1975 obtained the figure of 29,029.24 feet (8,848.11 metres), and an Italian survey, using satellite surveying techniques, worked out a value of 29,108 feet (8,872 metres) in 1987, but questions arose about the methods.
In 1999 an American survey, sponsored by the National Geographic Society and others, took precise measurements using a global positioning system, or GPS, equipment. Their finding of 29,035 feet (8,850 metres) was accepted by the society and by various specialists in the fields of geodesy and cartography.
Nepal had welcomed the revelations but continued to use the height of 8,848 metres determined in 1954.
“Their finding of 29,035 feet [8,850 metres], plus-minus 6.5 feet [2 metres] more than the accepted height, was accepted by the American society and by various specialists in the fields of geodesy and cartography. But Nepal did not accept it,” said Ganesh Prasad Bhatta, former head of the government’s survey department.