Written by Prapti Sen, a grade 5 student in Mumbai.
In the time of pandemic COVID-19 when the entire world is locked down, a team of Chinese mountaineers has scaled Mt. Everest. Chinese news reports confirmed that this team wanted to remeasure Mt. Everest. Geographically, China, and Nepal share Mt. Everest between their borders. It is believed due to various natural disasters, the part of the mountain in China is four metres shorter than the part of the mountain in Nepal. This is mainly because of the earthquake that occurred in 2015.
This year, as part of the pandemic travel restrictions, both Nepal and China did not allow any foreign mountaineers to climb the Everest. While China only allowed its citizens to climb the mountain, Nepal cancelled all expeditions. This Chinese team of climbers started their journey in April. Live broadcasts showed these brave climbers walking on a wind-swept surface. They could even be seen putting a survey marker on the snow-covered peak. Climbing experts had fixed climbing ropes on the peak successfully, letting the rest of the team slowly start moving from the camp. Two members from the squad had to withdraw due to bad weather and insufficient supplies of oxygen. Record keepers say it is very rare to find Chinese mountaineers summit the peak on their own.
China recently found out that Mt. Everest is 8,844 metres in Chinese measurement and 8,848 metres in Nepalese or British measurements. Some geologists say the catastrophic earthquake of 2015 might have shrunk the ice cap on China’s side of the mountain. During that time, while the Chinese authorities insisted on continuing an observation, the Nepali authorities did not agree and hence, the observation had to be dismissed. The Chinese authorities had decided to do a workshop to make their finding public but had to delay it because of this coronavirus lockdown. China had previously conducted two height measurements – one in 1975 and the other in 2005. However, the two countries have not come to a decision about the measurements yet. The Himalayan Database reported that the second team of mountaineers had installed a Global Positioning System device on the summit with the help of China’s Bei Don navigation satellite system that could measure snow depth, wind speed, and weather.
I wish I could go there and see the mountaineers. But I can’t, because of this lockdown. I guess I just have to see them on the news.