Everest Through the Lens

London, England
51.507217800000, -0.127586200000
Journal Entry:

Did you know that about 800 people attempt to climb Mount Everest every year? That may not seem like a big number, but keep in mind that as recently as 100 years ago, no one had stood on the top of the mountain! In 1852, a 19-year-old mathematician in India was the first to identify Mount Everest as the world’s highest peak. He used trigonometry to calculate that the summit (or top) of Mount Everest was just over 29,000 feet above sea level. Today, with all of our high-tech surveying equipment, we know that that first measurement of Mount Everest in 1852 was shockingly accurate: just about 26 feet off! Almost as soon as Mount Everest was named the highest point on Earth, there was talk about whether or not it could be climbed. Most people had their doubts.

Almost 70 years later–just after the end of World War I–a passionate group of British explorers, climbers, scientists and mapmakers (supported and guided by hundreds of local people) set out to try to climb Mount Everest. In 1921, they traveled through India and into Tibet, approaching Mount Everest from the north and investigating possible routes that might lead them to the summit. Another group of British explorers returned to the mountain in 1922, hoping to reach the top.