Mt. Everest, which is 29,029 feet above sea level, is the tallest mountain in the world. It’s located in Asia, on the boundary between two countries: Nepal and China.

As far as anybody knows, the mountain had never been climbed until May 29, 1953 when two men made it to the top. They were Edmund Hillary (from New Zealand) and Tenzing Norgay (from Nepal).

Most of the time, Mt. Everest is so cold and windy that very few people dare to climb it. For example, in January, winds at the top of the mountain can reach 170 miles per hour. That’s stronger than a Category 5 hurricane. And the average temperature in January is about 30 degress below zero (farenheit) on top of the mountain.

So most climbers try to reach the summit of Mt. Everest during two 10-day periods of favorable weather, one of which is in the Spring and the other in the Fall. That means that there are only about 20 days a year when climbers from all over the world can try to reach the top. No wonder Mt. Everest is getting crowded!

Fun Fact: A mountain called K2 is the second tallest mountain in the world. Only Everest is taller. But K2 is actually harder to climb.

Fun Fact: The air is so thin at the top of tall mountains like Everest and K2 that almost all climbers carry extra bottles of compressed oxygen with them.

Fun Fact: So many people want to climb Mt. Everest that the governments of China and Nepal issue a limited number of permits. If you don’t have a permit, you aren’t allowed to climb the mountain.

Fun Fact: The highest mountain in North America is called Denali. It’s located in Alaska.

Fun Fact: The highest mountain in Africa is Mt. Kilimanjaro. It’s over 19,000 feet tall. That’s tall, but not nearly as tall as Mt. Everest.

Quotes About Climbing Higher

“After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.”
Nelson Mandela, Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize

“Lasting accomplishment is still achieved through a long slow climb, and through self-discipline.”
Helen Hayes, Actress

“I think I climb mountains mainly because I get a great deal of enjoyment out of it.”
Edmund Hillary, Mountain Climber

“You may be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed if you don’t try.
Beverly Sills, Opera Singer

“It isn’t the mountains ahead of you that wear you out. It’s the pebble in your shoe.”
Muhammad Ali, Boxing Champion