Top of the World

June 06, 2001


Provided by: NASA
Summary authors & editors: Jim Foster

This exceptionally clear photograph of Mount Everest, Tibet and Nepal was taken in November 1994 from the Space Shuttle (STS066-208-025). A record number of attempts to climb Mount Everest were made this spring [2001], including the youngest person to climb it (15 years old) and the first legally blind person to make the ascent. Mount Everest, the world's tallest peak at approximately 29,035 feet above sea level, is most often climbed from mid-April through late May when the weather is relatively dry and the daylight period is getting longer. Because the wet monsoon season typically begins in late May or early June, Mount Everest hasn't been climbed later than May 29. The photo above is looking toward the south with Mount Everest near the center. Since the photograph was taken during the morning hours, shadows are cast to the west (right). The summit of Mount Everest was, officially, first scaled by Sir Edmund Hillary of New Zealand and Tenzing Norgay of Nepal, on May 28, 1953. Norgay died 15 years ago. Five years ago last month, a mountaineering tragedy occurred on Mount Everest that was documented in the award-winning book, "Into Thin Air", by Jon Krakauer.

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