Nepal is sending a team of government-appointed climbers up Mount Everest to remeasure its height, officials said on Monday, April 8th, hoping to quash persistent speculation that the world's tallest mountain has shrunk.
Four government surveyors will depart on Wednesday, April 10th, for Everest, which lies on the Himalayan range straddling the border of Nepal and China, as reported by AFP.
Its official height is 8,848 metres (29,029 feet), was first recorded by an Indian survey in 1954. Numerous other teams have measured the peak, although the 1954 height remains the widely accepted figure.
But a heated debate erupted in the aftermath of a massive earthquake in Nepal in 2015, with suggestions the powerful tremor had knocked height off the lofty peak.
Nepal's Survey Department commissioned a team of surveyors in 2017 to prepare for an Everest expedition in the hope of putting the matter to rest.
The expedition's co-ordinator from the Survey Department, Susheel Dangol, said, "We are sending a team because there were questions regarding the height of Everest after the earthquake."
Officials say that they will ascend the treacherous mountain armed with advanced equipment to collect the remaining data to derive the true height of the peak.
Khim Lal Gautam, the expedition's leader and chief surveyor, who summited Everest in 2011, said, "It will not be easy to work in that terrain, but we are confident our mission will be successful."
It also provides Nepal with a chance to measure the fabled mountain for which it is famous; the impoverished country having never conducted its own survey.
In May 1999, an American team added two metres to Everest's height when it used GPS technology to survey the peak. That figure is now used by the US National Geographic Society, but otherwise not widely accepted.
Later, Nepal became embroiled in a diplomatic row with China after the latter claimed the peak was four metres shorter than the accepted height.
Nepal rests on a major fault line between two tectonic plates: one bearing India that pushes against the other carrying Europe and Asia, the process that created the Himalayas.