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20 May 2012

Climbing Mt. Everest in the public eye

This is for the Senior Primary Class at ISOCS, who revently inquired into explorers, and what it means to be an explorer today.  It's also interesting to us because we're in Switzerland, a nation of mountain climbers, and of famous mountain peaks.

National Geographic has been publicizing a current ascent of Mt. Everst, with blogs, videos, photos, iPad apps, etc.

"This expedition seeks to commemorate the historic climb of the 1963 National Geographic-sponsored American Mount Everest Expedition, almost 50 years after that first American ascent. Since poor climbing conditions have made his planned ascent of Everest’s little traveled West Ridge too dangerous, Conrad Anker will lead a team of climbers from The North Face and National Geographic writer Mark Jenkins up the mountain’s Southeast Ridge." (link)

Here are the (real-time)  posts on Twitter for this event.

There is also a blog, a photo gallery, and many other blogs, accounts, etc. Click this link to go to North Face's intro to the expedition. You can stay on top of the weather conditions, too:
Screen shot from http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/everest/blog/contents   

How high is Mt. Everest, compared to the mountains we see near our school?  Here is a beautiful infographic of the 7 most prominent mountains on each of the continents.  Click on the image to see it full size.

This one is of the tallest mountains in the world:

Who's the daddy?

Are there any Swiss mountains in these collections?  Do you know the highest peaks in the Alps?  
Here's a hint:
"Pilatus is a mountain overlooking Lucerne in Central Switzerland. It is composed of several summits of which the highest (2,128 m) is named Tomlishorn. Another summit named Esel (2,119 m) lies just over the railway station. Jurisdiction over the massif is divided between the cantons of ObwaldenNidwalden, and Lucerne. The main peaks are right on the border between Obwalden and Nidwalden". (link)

 "Zugerberg Mountain is located in Switzerland country, Kanton Zug province. Zugerberg Mountainelevation (height) is 1039 meters. Zugerberg Mountain is the 56124. highest mountain in 106.826 mounts." (link)

Here's a list of  Alpine peaks, in order of prominence, with their elevation and parent massif.  You can download the klm file for Google Earth the 4000 meter peaks of the European Alps at this link.

Do you think that the people recreating the Everest expedition are real explorers? Do they face the same challenges as the original climbers?  What has changed in the world of climbing, and of media,  in the 50 years since the first traverse?

Richard Byrne pointed me to this visualization of the 50 most prominent peaks.Go to the Guardian page to see it full size, and interact with the map.
Screen shot of http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/interactive/2012/may/23/world-highest-mountains-interactive-map
Click on the image to see it full size