Everest Measurement: Will Nepal success in challenging task?

23 July, 2011

 For the first time in the history of Nepal, the government has decided to undertake one of the toughest task i.e, an official measurement of Mt Everest on its own.

Earlier, various team of expeditions as well as adventurous team from different nations made ‘Peculiar and historic attempt’ to measure the height of Mt. Everest even though the government paid snob to their noteworthy results.

“In two years time we will measure the Everest’s exact altitude”, announced Gopal Giri, sub spokesperson at the Ministry for Land Reform and Management, at a programme held in Kathmandu recently.

With this announcement many unanswered queries are also floating over Nepalese sky. Does the government successfully accomplish the action? Will the government success to find out the actual height of the Everest that would settle the dispute for ever? Is the government bestowed with modern scientific equipments that are vital for measuring the height? Similarly, which will be an authorized agency that will proof the outcome of measurement? Such are the few questions that should be undertake seriously before measuring the height of the Everest.

The Ministry has informed that it has already kicked off the process for measuring the height of world’s tallest peak claiming the process will be accomplished within two years. Surprisingly, require expenses, workforce to be assigned for the task and substructures to perform the actions have not been disclosed yet.

According to Giri, measurement of the height should be taken from sea level with the reference to the height of some other places.

Giri said Nepal generally takes the height of Kolkata, a port in India, as sea level for the measurement. He further informed that the measurement of Namche, Taksindu and PK2 from sea level would be completed within the current fiscal year. The measurement of the height of Sagarmatha is currently taking place in Udayapur.

Though the government has claimed to perform the action within two years of time framework it seems to take more time, experts say.

The official Everest height, which is the result of the boarder negotiation between Nepal and China, is 8.848,13 meters currently.

Different measurements  carried out by several researchers and various technologies, have brought in the all history slightly different results.

For instance, in 1952 the British India Company measured 8.847,842 meters height.

In 1990 the American cartographer Bradford Washburn gave for sure the measurement of 8.850 meters of altitude.

China, instead, measured the mountain obtaining the result of 8.844,42 meters up to the rock peak and 8.847,933 meters including the snow layer.

More remarkably, Italy carried out different measurements of the highest peaks of the world and the K2 with the support of Ev-K2-CNR Committee.

The first measurement from Italian side took place in 1987, when the project  Everest-K2-CNR managed by Ardito Desio, accomplished the first Everest and K2 re-measurements by GPS (Global positioning System) with theodolite that measured Everest  8.872 meters, being 200 meters higher than the K2 (8.616 meters), denying the earlier claim made by the American George Wallerstein.

In 1985, Wallerstein from University of Washington had announced that the K2 was higher than the Everest.

Similarly, the Ev-K2-CNR Committee held a new scientific expedition for the Everest re-measurement in 1992, from the peak to the base camp, with laser technologies.

In 1996, Gps and with the help of “K2 Geoexpedition” measured again the K2.The most recent Ev-K2-CNR data dates back to 2004.

Four Italian climbers (Karl Unterkircher, Mario Merelli, Alex Busca, Claudio Bastrentaz) from the expedition “K2 2004″ guided by Agostino Da Polenza reached the peak on May 24 1996 to re-measure its actual height  and the thickness of the snow-layer with GPS-Georadar.

The team revealed that the Everest measured 8.852,12 meters height including snow layer and the rock-peak was instead, 8.848,82 meters.

The scientific part of all these expeditions were coordinated by Giorgio Poretti, professor at the “Dipartimento di scienze ambientali Università di Trieste”(In Italy) and Ev-k2-CNR researcher, who wrote several publications on it.

Along with measuring the actual height it is necessary to find out the riddle of snow layer thickness that covers the peak. Thus the government with its initiation to ‘big task’, there are numerous challenges ahead to perform the action successfully.