High tension as Nepal seeks aid in Everest height row

NEPAL has launched an appeal to establish the exact height of Mount Everest, the world’s highest mountain.

More than 4,000 climbers have scaled the Himalayan peak, which straddles the border with China, since it was first summited by New Zealand’s Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay in May 1953.

Nepal, using measurements made by the Survey of India in 1954, states Everest’s height as 29,028ft, including packed snow at the top. But China claims the mountain, which a team of its researchers scaled in May 2005, only measures 29,017ft.

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“We are doing the work of precise levelling for the height up to Namche Bazaar but we don’t have enough technical and scientific expertise or funds to measure the peak on our own,” said Krishna Raj BC, director general of Nepal’s department of survey. Namche Bazaar is the gateway to Everest in Solukhumbu region, 80 miles north-east of Kathmandu.

“We, therefore, need international support in terms of equipment, scientific research and expertise for data analysis. We are preparing a proposal which will be officially submitted to potential donors in measuring the peak,” he added.

Nepal, one of the world’s ten poorest countries, gets a large chunk of its budget from international aid.