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 Everest – 8848m

Everest 1

Key questions

  • Where is the Everest region and what is it like?
  • How was Mount Everest formed?
  • How was Mount Everest measured?
  • Who lives in the Everest region?
  • Who first reached the top of Mount Everest?
  • Who is working towards a sustainable future?

Task 1Everest Feelings
Write down ten adjectives that you would use to describe Mount Everest from what you have seen in the video. Five must be under the title of ‘Dangerous Everest’ and the other five under the title of ‘Incredible Everest’. The music to the right should help to inspire. 

Task 2 – A 60 Year Anniversary
2013 was an important year for Mount Everest. 
i. Wind the clock back 63 years, what year would you be in?
ii. Conduct a quick Google search with that year and ‘Mount Everest’ and find out why and what happened back then.

Where is Everest and what is it like?

Objective: To find out about the conditions that surround the highest mountain in the world. 

RGS – Fact Sheet

Everest is just one of 30 peaks of the Himalaya range which rise to more than 25,000 feet (7620 metres). The vast Himalayan complex covers an area of about 594,400 sq km (about 229,500 sq miles) and extends in an arc of about 2410 km (about 1500 miles). It stretches from the Indus River in northern Pakistan eastward across the disputed territory of Jammu and Kashmìr; down into northern India; across part of southern Tibet and over most of Nepal, the Indian state of Sikkim, and Bhutan.

The world’s highest mountain lies at the northern edge of the Solu-Khumbu administrative district and within the Sagamartha National Park (established in 1976) in Nepal. The park was identified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1979 and is home to around 5000 Sherpas who live within the park. The word Himalaya comes from a Sanskrit term meaning “abode of snow”.

Everest 6 prayer-flags NEPAL – FACT FILE

  • 24,302,653   million people live in Nepal (July 1999 est.)
  • Population below poverty line: 42% (1995-96 est.)
  • Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female 15-64 years: 1.04 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 0.99 male(s)/female total population: 1.05 male(s)/female (1999 est.)
  • Ethnic groups: Newars, Indians, Tibetans, Gurungs, Magars, Tamangs, Bhotias, Rais, Limbus, Sherpas
  • Religions: Hindu 90%, Buddhist 5%, Muslim 3%, other 2% (1981)
  • Languages: Nepali (official), 20 other languages divided into numerous dialects
  • Literacy: total population: 27.5% male: 40.9% female: 14% (1995 est.)

Agriculture provides a livelihood for over 80% of the population and accounts for 41% of GDP

Nepal is officially known as the Kingdom of Nepal. Kathmandu is the capital city. It has some of the most difficult landscape in the world. Nepal is the one of the poorest countries in the world with 42% of the population living below the poverty line.

One of Nepal’s main natural resources is its forests, which cover one-sixth of the country and provide timber, firewood, and herbs used in medicine. Forestry is an important industry. Wood supplies most of the energy used in Nepal. But this has led to widespread deforestation and erosion.

Rice is one of the main crops grown. Corn (maize), wheat, potatoes, sugarcane, and millet are also widely grown. Nepal also produces herbs for medicine which grow on the slopes of the Himalayas. Cattle, buffalo, goats, and sheep are kept by farmers.

Nepal’s population is growing and more than two-fifths of the population is younger than 15 years of age. Nearly everyone lives in rural areas. Kathmandu is one of the places where many people live.

Tourism has grown over the last few years. The Kathmandu valley, however, is the only area which has all the facilities needed for foreign tourists. Tourism has brought major economic changes to the region, leading to wealth for many, but also changing patterns of people use the land.

Nepal has many different ethnic groups that are facing many difficulties brought about by all the changes, especially in access to natural resources, education and development activities. As survival from farming alone becomes increasingly difficult, people believe that education is the best way for their children to find employment.

Everest 2On the map, you will see Tibet, but on other maps all you will see is China. To find out more about the trouble between China & Tibet see the link below:

Tibet – facts

Task 1 – Using both the fact sheet and the map, create your own annotated ‘Where is Everest & What’s it Like’ fact sheet. You should include the location of Everest as well as your chosen 10 facts.  Use Google maps to help you.

How was Mount Everest formed?

From the seabed to the top of the world – How?

Objective: To find out how and when Mount Everest (a Fold Mountain) was formed and to see if it is getting taller.  

Task 1 –  Watch the YouTube video above. This is a documentary but you only need to watch up to 10.35. You might find it helpful to make some notes on what you see and hear. 

i. What are the three main layers of rock called that are found on Mount Everest?
ii. What were the risks in collecting the samples?
iii. What evidence exists to prove that this rock was formed under the oceans?

You will be creating a cartoon strip to show the formation of the Himalayas in six stages. You can use the video and the fact sheet (above) to guide you. For the video, the timings of the useful clips are indicated for you.

Everest 3
Stage 1 – Continental Drift – India on the Move 
(16:00 – 16:51)

Stage 2 – Crashing & Folding (17:15 – 19:46)

Stage 3 – Folding & Thrusting (19:46 – 22:30)

Stage 4 – Everest in 2013 – Most Famous Mountain in the World

Stage 5 – Growing Pains – The Quakes
(27:55 – 31:30)

Stage 6 – Monsoon & Glaciers – Cutting Everest Down? (31:43 – 34.55)

RGS – Fact Sheet

Millions of years ago neither Mount Everest nor the Himalaya existed. These high mountains were created by movement of tectonic plates.  According to the theory of plate tectonics, the surface of the Earth is broken up into a series of plates, which move around on the surface of the earth.  When the dinosaurs still dominated the Earth, the Indo-Australian plate began moving northwards. About 50 million years ago, the Indian continent (carried by the Indo-Australian plate) started to collide with Eurasia. This began to squash and thicken the edges of the plates and the result of this cataclysmic collision was the buckling up of the land to form the Himalaya. This vast mountain range stretches approximately 2,414 km (1,500 miles) and is home to the world’s highest mountains.  In fact, the story doesn’t end there because the Indo-Australian plate continues to move northwards, carrying India with it, which pushes up the mountains further. This means that even today Mount Everest and the Himalaya are actually growing higher. The base of Everest is made up of metamorphic rocks, known as schists. These are rocks that started as muds and sands that have been crystallised as a result of the collision.   Higher up the mountain is a there is also a huge band of granite.Nearer the top of the mountain, the rocks are mainly sedimentary. For example, within a few hundred metres of the summit is a formation known to climbers as the ‘Yellow Band’. This layer of shale, sandstone and limestone is made up of marine silts, clays and animal remains. In the past these formed the bed of the ocean that separated India from Asia before the collision of the plates. However, during the collision these deposits were lifted up to more than 8000 meters (over 28,000 feet) above sea level.  The actual summit of Mount Everest stands at 8,848 metres (29,028 feet). It has the shape of a huge triangular pyramid. This type of mountain summit is known as a pyramidal or horn peak. It has three knife-edged ridges running down from it, known as arêtes. The summit is made of limestone and many sandy layers. When climbers stand on the summit and look out from the roof of the world they are perching on the remains of millions of years old marine animals and plants!

everest 4

Task 2 – Is Everest shrinking or growing? (36:55 37:50)

How much do the scientists calculate that Everest is growing by each year?

How did the scientists measure this? 
How long would it take to grow another 100 metres?

A quarter of an inch is approximately 0.6cm. 

Everest 5 kathmandu-post

Task 3 – Armed with the information that you have, you should produce a front page story for the local newspaper about the growth of Mount Everest.  You will need to think about including the following things:

1. An eye catching headline
2. A location map & two other images to show Everest 
3. Explain why Everest is growing & how it was formed. Most people will have no idea about this. 

Don’t forget to add a price and your name. Spell check, proof read and then print out. 

Who lives in the Everest region? Everest 7 DSC08674

Objective: To find out who lives close to Mount Everest and how these people help mountaineers to climb Mount Everest.

RGS – Fact Sheet – Sherpa people

The people of the Everest region are mainly the Sherpa who live in an area called the Solu-Khumbu district. The district lies in the northern part of the Sagarmatha National Park which was established in 1976.

 The word Sherpa means ‘people from the East’ and refers to their origins in Eastern Tibet. Early Sherpa settlements are thought to have been established in the 16th century. Subsistence farming was their main livelihood, supplemented by trading activities. Historically, Sherpa food is derived from high altitude crops such as potatoes, barley and buckwheat. Nepali foods like lentils and rice are also a staple of the Sherpa diet. The Chinese takeover of Tibet in the 1950s meant that trading across the Nangpa La pass was no longer possible. The route was used by Tibetan traders who would bring down yaks, salt and dried sheep meat from Tibet and return with goods from India, such as rice, corn and millet. This coincided with the first Western mountaineering expeditions in the region, which led to the introduction and rise of trekking tourism in the area.

Tourism is recognised to be of great importance to the well-being of communities of the Solu-Khumbu region, both in employment and income opportunities. But against this background there are many social and economic problems. These include the effects of tourism on religious traditions and monastic life, although recent research now suggests a more complex picture; that many Sherpas have managed to adapt to tourism successfully and without any great loss of culture. However, the environmental effects have been far greater.

 Sherpa culture is distinctly different from the other ethnic groups of Nepal. Sherpa religion and culture have evolved from years of myths, stories and religious practice, and have always been subject to a wide range of influences. Since the expeditions to Mount Everest, Sherpas have become a ‘celebrated people’ and received a great deal of international fame. The Sherpa themselves are aware of this fascination with their culture and have been able to direct this interest towards the building and repair of local monasteries. However, lifestyles have changed from one village to the next, from wealthier to poorer households and it is women rather than men who have taken on greater farming and domestic responsibilities. It is usually the women and less wealthy who are likely to maintain the ‘traditional’ link with the past. Many examples, such as the refurbishment of Tengboche Monastery and a culture and climbing museum dedicated to the many climbers that have climbed Everest show a positive world view of Sherpa culture.

Nepal’s portersEverest 8 Sherpas-Khumbu-Valley-Nepal-1176183

Nepal’s people have always moved goods around the high alpine reaches of the Himalayas. The ‘traditional porter’ continues to work for local people. The job is not well paid and the loads are heavier but it is not so dangerous as it is usually carried out between villages at a lower altitude (although this has been changing with more hotels and restaurants being built up at altitude). What is new is the modern trekking and tourism economy in which they now work. It is a valuable industry that provides jobs in one of the world’s poorest countries on the one hand, while at the same time porters have been working under appalling and dangerous conditions.

The high altitude porters are often Sherpas who carry loads above base camp on expeditions. Most trekking porters are poor farmers from lowland areas, and are as unused to the high altitudes and harsh conditions as western trekkers. Many people don’t know this and a myth seems to have been created that porters are superhuman, that they carried massive loads in harsh conditions and they are used to cold and high altitudes meant nothing to them.

 There are around 100,000 trekking porters working in Nepal in a good trekking season. They mostly come from the lower altitude middle hills and are typically poor farmers who need the cash. They often carry above the tree line into snow conditions, at altitudes up to and above the height of an expedition base camp. As a result they are at high risk of hypothermia, frostbite and Acute Mountain Sickness. This occurs when trekkers gain altitude too quickly and don’t drink enough water. The symptoms can range from bad headaches or nausea to pulmonary oedema, a dangerous accumulation of water in the lungs.

 In 1997, the International Porters Protection Agency (IPPG) was formed after a young Nepali mountain porter fell sick and was dismissed while still at high altitude. After being paid off and sent down on his own, he died at the side of the trail. The aim of the IPPG is for every porter to have access to adequate clothing, boots, shelter and food, appropriate to the altitude and weather, plus medical care when ill or injured. The organisation also raises awareness of the problems endured by trekking porters and to educate and change the practices where necessary. This applies to trekking companies and their employees, (especially the leaders and sirdars who are directly in charge of porters), trekkers and the porters themselves.

 A recent campaign by Tourism Concern ‘Trekking Wrongs; Porters’ Rights has led to a dramatic increase in the number of UK ‘porter friendly’ trek operators. As a result of this, 40 of the 81 tour operators contacted by Tourism Concern now have policies to provide essential protection and humane working conditions.

Task 1 – Wordle it.

i. Using the text in blue above (RGS Fact Sheet – Sherpa people) copy and paste it into wordle.

Wordle - from the text above.

Wordle – from the text above.

ii. What are the top 8 words associated with the Sherpa in this fact sheet? Write one paragraph to describe what Sherpa may be like.

Task 2 – The Sherpa Profile.
You must now read the first fact sheet carefully If you are using PDF, you can use the online highlighter tool (ask your teacher to show you) to show the most important information about the Sherpa. 

You need to create a person profile (like you find on the back pages of magazines) for the Sherpa. A photo should be in the middle and this should be surrounded by important information to enable the reader to gain as much information as possible about the people*

*Hint – most people think that ‘Sherpa’ is a name given to people who carry the equipment of climbers and have no idea that they are a race of people. 

Task 3 – The Hardest Job on Earth?
You must now carefully read the fact sheet and watch the YouTube video above.

Create a job advert for a Sherpa Guide on Everest. 

  • The average wage in Nepal is $1300 per year.
  • The average wage for a two month Everest expedition is between $5000-6000.

You will need to include physical and personal attributes.

The mortality (death) rate of a typical Sherpa working on Everest is around 1.2%. That means one out of every 100 Sherpa will die doing their job.

Everest 8 Pem_dorjee_sherpa_(2)

Reaching the top – 1953

Objective: To learn about the first ever people to climb to the summit of Mount Everest and the record their adventure.

RGS – Fact Sheet – Reaching the top


The Mount Everest Expedition of 1953 was led by Colonel John Hunt. This was to be the first attempt on Mount Everest from the Nepalese side.

 The photo on the right shows the core team but the 1953 expedition totalled over 400 people. The expedition also carried with it 71/2 tons (8333 kg) of equipment in 443 packages. Their contents included the expedition’s food, climbing equipment and camping kit for their three month stay.

 On March 10th, the huge expedition left Kathmandu and started on its 175 miles (282 km) walk in to the Everest region. It had to split into two walking groups because of the sheer size of the expedition. The trek took the team through countryside dotted with small villages, blooming flowers, ice cold streams and magnificent views. And after 7 days, the team got their first glimpse of the mighty mountain itself.

 After a further nine days, the expedition reached Thyangboche. This is a small settlement at 12,000 feet (3,658 m) with a gompa or monastery at its heart, yaks grazing at its edge. The team spent three weeks here for rest and ‘acclimatisation’ which involved gradually getting used to being at increasing altitudes. Their stay at Thyangboche also provided time to practice using the team’s new oxygen equipment.

On 12th April, Base Camp was established at 17,900 feet (5,456 m) to the side of the Khumbu Icefall, one of the main physical obstacles to the peak of Mount Everest. A special team began to prepare the way up this stretch of glacier that was continually moving and groaning under their feet. Camp II was pitched half way up the Icefall but was later abandoned because it was too unsafe. The threat of opening crevasses and gigantic tumbling blocks of ice was constant. Amazingly, the team and the Sherpas managed to get through the Khumbu Icefall without accident.

Khumbu Icefall

Khumbu Icefall

From Camp III at the top of the Icefall (at the entrance to the Western Cwm), the team had to cross the massive Bergschrund crevasse using a ladder. In many places, the route had to be identified by marker flags to help prevent people getting lost. Camp III was the point where all the team donned their high altitude equipment, including their specially made high altitude boots.

Camp IV (21,200 feet, 6462 m) was home to the expedition’s Advance Base Camp from which they were to make their first preparations for the final climb. There were several more camps before the final one at 27,900 feet (8504 m), high up in the cloud, freezing temperatures and raging winds. On May 26th, Tom Bourdillon and Charles Evans pushed towards the summit and made it above the high point set by the Swiss expedition the year before. Bourdillon and Evans came within 300 vertical feet of the summit.

Two days later, the expedition’s last hope for the success rested on the second and final attempt for the summit to be made by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay. A five man team helped the pair to establish a camp as high up the mountain as possible giving them the best chance of reaching the summit on the big day and then they were left on their own. The pair spent the night of 28th May hardly sleeping and breathing oxygen, wedged inside a precariously positioned tent. They ate delicacies from their store such as tinned apricots, sardines on biscuits, dates, jam and honey and lots of liquids to try and beat the terrible dehydration.

At 6.30 am, Hillary and Tenzing crawled from their tent. By 9 am they had reached the South Summit and then had a grim struggle up the ridge. At 11.30 am, Hillary and Tenzing stepped on to the top of the world’s highest mountain.

Hillary produced a camera loaded with colour film that he had been keeping warm inside his shirt and took the famous photo of Tenzing holding his ice axe with the British, Nepalese, United Nations and Indian flags attached. Tenzing made a hole in the snow and placed in it small offerings to the Buddhist gods and Hillary placed the expedition leader’s crucifix beside them. Everest 11 1953_Italian_Newspaper_-_EdW_Coll

1953 was a big year for Mount Everest. After 50 million years on its own and left alone, at 11.30am on 28th May, two now famous explorers reached the summit of the highest land on earth.

Task 1 – Watch the 1950’s newsreel YouTube video that records the excitement after the event. Remember, there were no Tweets or Skype calls from the top back in 1953.

Task 2 – Read the fact sheet – above. Copy and paste it into a word document and highlight the key date and events. 

Task 3 – Create a character profile for either Sir Edmund Hillary or Tenzing Norgay (his Sherpa) about the adventure in 1953.
You will need to research both people for their place of birth, date of birth etc. using your Google skills. 

Save your work as a word document and email to me.

The death zone – 8000m +
Objective: To find out about the effects of the ‘Death Zone’ on the human body

The Death Zone relates to any area of a mountain that is above 8000 metres in altitude. Seemingly fit and healthy climbers and mountaineers can suddenly drop dead or start suffering from a number of illnesses above 8000 metres. There is no of knowing how your body will react until you are there. 
everest-graphic 12

Mount Everest is 8850m (29,035 ft). At these heights some people get sick and even die. As mountaineers climb the mountain

they certainly feel the affects of the changes in the atmosphere. When trekkers first started going to Mount Everest, about one

in every 50 died. Above 3000m is called the Death Zone.

everest 15 Untitled

Task 1

If the temperature falls by 10°C every 1000m you climb, what would you expect the temperature to be at the locations listed below?

Fill in the table with your answers:

  Height (metres) Estimated temperature (°C)
Khumbu glacier 4926 -15
Western Ridge
South Summit
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