Friday, 7 May, 2021
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EDITORIAL

Sagarmatha Rises Higher



Nepal is now in the global spotlight once again with the announcement of the new height of Sagarmatha (Mount Everest). As per the fresh announcement of the findings of the joint measurement efforts made by Nepal and China, the height of the world's tallest mountain is now 8,848.86m (29,31.69ft). Before unveiling the new findings of the measurement, the accepted height of Sagarmatha was 8,848m (29,028ft). But China's previous official measurement was 8,844.43m. It means that there was no uniformity between Nepal and China in terms of the official height of Mt. Everest that demarcates the two nations' border. The latest declaration has definitely resolved the longstanding debate on the height of this mountain. Minister for Foreign Affairs Pradeep Kumar Gyawali and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on Tuesday announced the official height of the mountain in Kathmandu and Beijing simultaneously through a virtual meeting.
It may be recalled here that it was during Chinese President Xi Jinping's historic state visit to Nepal in October last year that the two neighbours agreed to make joint announcement of the height of Sagarmatha, which is also called Zhumulangma in Chinese language, for making an end to the protracted debate forever. Since 2011, Nepal had been working to measure the height of Sagarmatha. But the project moved ahead smoothly after 2017. This is the first time that the country has been able to measure the elevation of this mountain through mobilising its own resources. Numerous methods ranging from traditional ones and those based on the latest technology, were applied to ascertain the new height. In 1954, the Survey of India had determined 8,848m as the height of Mt. Everest. Using the trigonometric method, the height was measured from India's Bihar.
The survey had also found K2 (8,611m), located in Pakistan, as the second tallest mountain in the world. Similarly, in 1999, a US survey, sponsored by the National Geographic Society and others, made some precise measurements with the help of a global positioning system (GPS). The survey found the height of Mt. Everest to be 8,850m (29,035ft). But the measurement was not accepted widely. Other different surveys were carried out by various countries. Minister Gyawali said that it was a matter of pride for Nepal to announce the new height of Mt. Everest. It is certainly historic that the country has carried out the challenging task of measuring the height of the world's tallest mountain with the use of its own resources, expertise and skills. He added that not only have we explored the new facts regarding the exact height of Mt. Everest but also forged consensus with China concerning the new official height of the mountain to increase its credibility."
No doubt, Sagarmatha is a pride for Nepal as it has made the country and the Nepali people known to the outside world. The mountain has been a major attraction among brave mountaineers from across the world. Until now, more than 6,500 climbers have reached the summit of this mountain from the Nepal side alone since May 1953 when Tenzing Norgay Sherpa and Edmund Hillary created history on the peak. The country earns millions of dollars through issuing permits alone every year. The government and other stakeholders now need to promote Mt. Everest as well as the entire mountain tourism to give a boost to the national economy.