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Nepal calls for help to settle Everest height

February 29, 2012

KATHMANDU:  Nepal is appealing to international donors to help it finally settle a long-running dispute over the height of Mount Everest, a government official said Wednesday.

The world’s highest peak, which straddles Nepal and China, is usually attributed a height of 8,848 metres (29,029 feet) following an Indian survey in 1954, but other more recent measurements have varied by several metres.

China measures the peak four metres lower — by excluding the snowcap — while in 1999 an American team using GPS technology recorded a height of 8,850 metres, a figure used by the US National Geographic Society.

Nepal’s state-run Survey Department told AFP it was seeking to obtain grants and expertise from international donors, as well as the global scientific community.

“This is part of the ongoing three-year Nepal government project to settle the mountain’s height. But we have neither the scientific expertise nor the resources to carry out such tasks,” said director-general Krishna Raj BC.

“We have already measured from sea level to the base camp. But the difficult part is from there on. We need to train Sherpas on how to measure the height scientifically. For example, we need to carry up GPS equipment.”

He said Italian scientists researching the mountain had already expressed an interest in providing help.

Everest was first measured in 1856, nearly 100 years before it was conquered by Sherpa Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary.

In 2010, Nepal and China reached a compromise under which Nepal measured the height of Everest’s snowcap at 8,848 metres and China measured the rock peak at 8,844 metres.



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