The world’s highest mountain lies on the border between the two countries and they have disagreed for years over its exact height, which Nepal puts at 8,848 meters – nearly four meters more than the measurement used by China.
Officials reached a compromise in Kathmandu this week by agreeing the two measurements referred to different things – one to the height of Everest’s rock and the other to the height of its snowcap.
“The Chinese side – led by Li Qingyuan – accepted Nepal’s claim that the snow height of Mount Everest is 8,848 meters, while the Nepali side recognized the Chinese claim that the rock height of the mountain is 8,844.43 meters,” a senior official at Nepal’s Department of Surveys told the Kathmandu Post daily.
The broadly accepted height of 8,848 meters was first determined by an Indian survey in 1955, and measured the mountain’s snow cap, rather than the rock beneath it.
The Hindu reports that in May 1999 an American expedition used GPS technology to measure a height of 8,850 metres and this figure is now used by the US National Geographic Society, though it has not been accepted by Nepal.