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China, Nepal Agree on Mt. Everest’s Height

Nepalese government officers watch a live telecast of a joint announcement on the height of Mount Everest, in Kathmandu, Nepal, Dec. 8, 2020.

China and Nepal jointly announced a revised official height for Mount Everest on Tuesday, ending a discrepancy between the two nations and adding height to the world’s tallest peak.

In a joint news conference Tuesday, officials from the two nations Tuesday announced the new height of the world’s highest peak is 8,848.86 meters which is slightly more than Nepal’s previous measurement and about four meters higher than China’s.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his Nepalese counterpart, Pradeep Gyawali, simultaneously pressed buttons during a virtual news conference and the new height flashed on the screen.

In 1999, a National Geographic Society team using GPS technology came up with a height of 8,850 meters. A Chinese team in 2005 said it was 8,844.43 meters because it did not include the snow cap. But the most widely accepted height has been 8,848 meters which was determined by the Survey of India in 1954.

The debate regarding the actual height of the peak grew murkier after a major earthquake in 2015 raised concern that Mount Everest might have sunk. The quake killed 9,000 people, damaged about 1 million structures in Nepal and triggered an avalanche on Everest that killed 19 people at the base camp.

There was no doubt that Everest would remain the highest peak because the second highest, Mount K2, is 8,611 meters tall.

The height of Everest, on the border between China and Nepal, was agreed on after surveyors from Nepal scaled the peak in 2019 and a Chinese team did the same in 2020.

Everest’s height was first measured by a British team around 1856 at 8,842 meters.