This week, the highest mountain in the world saw the making of two new records by climbers from the US and Hong Kong.
According to the Madison Mountaineering company, 75-year-old American climber Arthur Muir became the oldest American to scale Mt. Everest. And Tsang Yin-Hung, 45, from Hong Kong, became the first woman to scale the peak in the shortest time. A former teacher, she recorded the fastest ascent at just under 26 hours.
"Arthur Muir is the oldest American at 75 years old to summit Mount Everest," Garrett Madison, expedition leader with the Madison Mountaineering company told Reuters from the base camp. Earlier, the record of the oldest American to climb Mt Everest was held by Bill Burke at the age of 67 in the year 2009.
Separately, Everest Base Camp government liaison officer Gyanendra Shrestha said that Tsang Yin-Hung climbed the mountain within the record time of 25 hours and 50 minutes. "She left the base camp at 120 pm on Saturday and reached (the top at) 310 pm the next day," Shrestha told AFP. This record was earlier held by a Nepali woman named Phunjo Jhangmu Lama, who climbed the mountain within 39 hours and 6 minutes in 2017.
In the year 2017, Tsang was the first woman from Hong Kong to scale the mountain. This was her third attempt. She still needs to present her claim to the Guinness World Records to receive a certification of her feat. The government of Nepal does not issue any record certificate. They only issue completion certificates where it shows that the climber has reached the summit.
Nepal issued a record of 408 certificates this season after last year season was cancelled due to the pandemic. This year by spring, about 350 people have climbed the mountain.
Incidentally, last year Nepal and China jointly declared that Mt Everest had grown taller. While we were locked down and in the middle of a pandemic, the world's highest mountain Mount Everest added 0.86m to its height. The two countries jointly announced that the new height of Everest, which is on the border between the two countries, is 8,848.86m (29,032 ft). China had earlier put the height at 8,844.43m, four metres lower than Nepal's estimate. Now it seems that surveyors from both countries have agreed on the new height.
There have been several discussions about what the reason for the change could be, including the devastating earthquake of 2015. Scientists say that the height of the tallest mountain could be increasing due to plate tectonics.
According a 1954 measurement by Survey of India, the height of Everest is 8,848 metres.