97. How far is the moon from

Where is the tallest mountain on Earth?

Some days you might be so happy that you feel like you're standing on top of the world. Would you believe that some people have stood on top of the world? It's true!

Those who have climbed all the way to the of Mount Everest — the highest on Earth — can say they've gone as high as they can on this planet. And how high have they gone? A 29, 029 feet (8, 848 meters) — about 5.5 miles! — above sea level, to be exact.

Mount Everest wasn't always the highest point on Earth, though. About 60 million years ago, two of Earth's plates — the Indian and Asian plates — collided and started pushing huge mounds of rock into the sky. The result was the Himalayan range with Mount Everest as its highest . Today, Mount Everest is still growing at the rate of about one quarter-inch per year!

Even though Mount Everest has been around a long time, it's only been explored over the past couple hundred years. In 1841, Sir George Everest led a British team that first identified Mount Everest and called it 15. It was later renamed Mount Everest in honor of Sir George Everest.

The, or highest point, of Mount Everest sits at an that many airplanes usually fly at, and it's higher than birds fly. The actually marks the border between Nepal to the south and Tibet to the north. People in Nepal call Mount Everest “Sagarmatha, " which means “Goddess of the Sky." People in Tibet call it “Chomolungma, " which means “Mother Goddess of the Universe."

The of Mount Everest juts into the jet stream, a powerful current high up in the Earth's . This means that the top of Mount Everest can experience speeds of over 200 miles per hour and temperatures as low as -80° F.

Such weather conditions would make it nearly impossible to stand on Mount Everest's . Twice each year, though (in May and November), the jet stream moves just far enough north to allow climbers to try to reach the top while the winds are calm and temperatures are warmer. Climbers call these periods “ windows."

Climbing to the top of Mount Everest is no easy task, though. The first people ever to reach the were Sir Edmund Hilary from New Zealand and Tenzing Norgay from Nepal. They reached the of Mount Everest on May 29, 1953.

Since then, thousands of people have reached the . Unfortunately, many climbers have died while making the attempt. Because of its high , it takes approximately two months to make the climb, because the human body must have plenty of time to adjust to the lack of at high altitudes.

Climbers also face a multitude of other obstacles. In addition to extremely cold weather, climbers face rough . As well as carrying things like tents, sleeping bags and food items, climbers must use special climbing . This includes special spikes — called crampons — on their boots, ice axes, nylon ropes, ladders and tanks to make their to the top.

Wonder Contributors

We’d like to thank:

Jessie, Ryan, Ashlynne and Jaymyn
for contributing questions about today’s Wonder topic!

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Source: wonderopolis.org
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