One side of Mt.Everest in Nepal and Tibet
Mount Everest, Sanskrit, and Nepali Sagarmatha, Tibetan Chomolungma, Chinese (Pinyin) Zhumulangma Feng or (Wade-Giles romanization) Chu-mu-lang-ma Feng, also spelled Qomolangma Feng, mountain on the crest of the Great Himalayas of southern Asia that lies on the border between Nepal and the Tibet Autonomous Region of China, at 27°59′ N 86°56′ E. Reaching an elevation of 29,032 feet (8,849 meters), Mount Everest is the highest mountain in the world.
Due to the complicated location, the changing climate, the varied terrains, etc., there is a big difference concerning the tour experience at Mt.Everest, specifically in the south and north Everest Base Camp in Nepal and Tibet.
The Location, climate, Everest Base Camp tour, and Everest climbing route are mainly the four main aspects that we have carefully collected for you to better understand the differences between Mt. Everest in Nepal and Tibet. Now just follow our guide to make the most of your Mt.Everest tour.
Physical features Geology and relief
The Himalayan ranges were thrust upward by tectonic action as the Indian-Australian Plate moved northward from the south and was subducted (forced downward) under the Eurasian Plate following the collision of the two plates between about 40 and 50 million years ago. The Himalayas themselves started rising about 25 to 30 million years ago, and the Great Himalayas began to take their present form during the Pleistocene Epoch (about 2,600,000 to 11,700 years ago). Everest and its surrounding peaks are part of a large mountain massif that forms a focal point, or knot, of this tectonic action in the Great Himalayas. Information from global positioning instruments in place on Everest since the late 1990s indicates that the mountain continues to move a few inches to the northeast and rise a fraction of an inch each year.
Everest is composed of multiple layers of rock folded back on themselves (nappes). Rock on the lower elevations of the mountain consists of metamorphic schists and gneisses, topped by igneous granites. Higher up are found sedimentary rocks of marine origin (remnants of the ancient floor of the Tethys Sea that closed after the collision of the two plates). Notable is the Yellow Band, a limestone formation that is prominently visible just below the summit pyramid.
Location Difference of Mt.Everest in Nepal and Tibet
It is particularly common for one mountain to share totally different locations, especially in different countries. Everest, with its location on the border of Tibet and Nepal, is with its north face located in Tibet of China while the south face is situated in the country of Nepal.
Let’s start our exploration of the differences at both sides in Nepal and Tibet by getting acquainted with the location of the Mountains in both countries first.
Tibetan side (North Slope): The Mountain is situated in Mt. Everest National Nature Reserve, Tingri County of Shigatse City, Tibet (70% of the entire mountain is ruled by China)
Nepal side (South Slope): Mt. Everest is located in Sagarmatha National Park, Nepal (30% of the entire Mountain is ruled by Nepal)
Located at the border of China and Nepal, Mt. Everest is governed by both the two countries' governments. Due to the locations, the northern part of the Mountain in Tibet is universally referred to as the “North Slope” while the southern part in Nepal is taken as the “South Slope”. Likewise, North Everest Base Camp (5200 m) in Tibet and South Everest Base Camp (5364 m) in Nepal.
Climate Difference of Mt.Everest in Nepal and Tibet
Due to the location, both sides’ climates and plants of Mt. Everest in Tibet and Nepal bare no similarities.
Tibetan side: Surprisingly changeable, unstable, and difficult to predict with more fierce wind and much colder nights on the mountain top. While on the north Everest Base Camp, fewer plants but a much clearer sky with more magnificent Everest panorama views. Shorter summit night.
Furthermore, the climbing route from the north side of the Mountain in Tibet is typically referred to as the Northeast Ridge route or the Standard Route while the climbing route from the south side of the mountain is generally considered to be the Southeast Ridge route.
Controlled by the continental plateau climate, weather on the North Slope of Everest in Tibet tends to be more complicated and unpredictable with drier air, and dense fog at the footage but snowstorms accompanied by the relentless gale and fierce hail up in higher elevation areas.
Less influenced by the ocean, lushly plants are barely found in any season of the year, what we can see are barely the alpine meadow zone, alpine desert zone with sparsely grown grass. Ice snow belts extend their way far from the eye can see. But as compensation, much more significant Himalaya Mountains can be appreciated and more stunning panoramic mountain views can be experienced, which constantly make you stand in awe. Nepal side: Abundant rainfall, a comparatively stable climate, plant diversity, longer summit night
Affected by southwestern winds from the Indian Ocean, constant rain blurs almost all the well-known mountain pinnacles in the monsoon season from June to October, making it inappropriate to plan trekking to Mt.Everest. However, the humid air accompanied by a suitable growing environment makes the trek in Nepal characterized by plant diversities.
Everest Base Camp Tour Difference in Nepal and Tibet
Northeast Ridge Camp: Take a bus or trek to EBC, with excellent road conditions, stunning Gawula Pass, Rongbuk Monastery, and more solemn Mount Everest itself.
Climbing Route Difference to Mt.Everest in Nepal and China
During the climbing season, several amateurs and mountaineers swarm to the Everest Base Camp on both sides to get fully prepared. Due to the varied location, the Mt. Everest climbing route on each side of the Mountain has its own differences with lurking hardships and dangers. Let’s find the climbing differences to better our climbing preparations.
1. Climber Flow in Peak Climbing Seasons
Northeast Ridge route: Less crowd
Southeast Ridge route: More crowd
2. Ways to Arrive at Everest Base Camp
Northeast Ridge route: Asphalt-paved road with perfect road conditions. Buses or cars can easily get there. Or you can choose to trek there from Old Tingri County. Southeast Ridge route: Trek to Everest Base Camp, No vehicles but the helicopter is currently available to reach the Base Camp for wealthy visitors.
1). It takes 2 days to drive from Lhasa to Everest Base Camp
2). It takes 4 days to trek from the Old Tingri to Everest Base Camp; for both EBC tours by tour vehicle or trekking, we provide transfer service and trekking and camping facilities.
3). Nepal provides approximately 3 hours and 15 minutes of two-way helicopter flight from Kathmandu directly to the Base Camp and back to Kathmandu.
3. Difficulty in Climbing to the Mid-level Camps and Ascending to the Summit
Northeast Ridge route: Less difficult to climb up the mid-level camps (Approximately 6,000 m) from the Everest Base Camp, but extremely hard to top the summit from the mid-level camps. Steep slopes with smooth ice surfaces or loose rocks and the prominent Three Steps have jeopardized most of the climbers’ efforts to ascend the summit and even the mountaineers who have attempted to top the mountain several times.
Southeast Ridge route: More difficult to arrive at the mid-level camps but a comparatively moderate route heading for the summit. No vehicles but the helicopter can arrive at the Base Camp. Most climbers, as well as mountaineers, prefer to take a trek there.
Besides, a great number of unfathomable ice crevasses are crisscrossed in Khumbu Icefall which is located along the way to the Base Camp 1 (About 6,000 m). Any climber has to face the possibility of being hit by the ice towers which are fatal from higher places of the mountain.
Northeast Ridge route: Only the Rongbuk Monastery is found and it has maintained the primitive style
Southeast Ridge route: Has developed more mature commercial mountaineering with villages like Gorak Shep, Lobuche, and Dughla providing mountaineering supplies.
Insider tips: More resources are shared on the South Slope since a great number of villages are scattered around the Base Camp. While on the North Slope, only the Rongbuk Monastery can be found.
5. Rescue Services
Northeast Ridge route: No helicopter rescue is available for the moment due to the harsh flight condition and the slope terrains. More challenging.
Southeast Ridge route: Helicopter rescue is provided from the Base Camp when an emergency occurs.
On Tibet’s side, we provide a hyperbaric oxygen chamber for our clients if they happen to have acute mountain sickness. 24/7 call service and an emergency backup plan are available for an immediate retreat to the lower region. Our attentive Tibetan guide will also keep a closer eye on our clients and check the oxygen level in their blood and pulse with a pulse oximeter.
6. Summit Night Duration
Northeast Ridge Route: Shorter
Southeast Ridge Route: Longer
7. Challenge Difficulty Level
Northeast Ridge Route: Harder
1. The altitude has always been the main cause of death on the Northeast Ridge route. The Advanced Base Camp which most mountaineers deem as the true beginning of the climbing has already been located at an incredibly high elevation of 6340 m (20800 ft.). Besides, altitude issues can be possibly caused by long-time high-altitude mountaineering.
2. Crossing the more complicated Northeast Ridge which is located on the route from Camp 4 to the Second Step (One of the three prominent rocky steps on the northeast ridge of Mount Everest) requires not only excellent climbing techniques but also much more strength. To cross the ridge, every mountaineer should do a hard pulling on the fixed robe from the gully.
3. Climbing onto a rock slab with vertical ladders at the Second Step (8680 m) is also another challenge for mountaineers to conquer from the Northeast Ridge route.
4. Protruded huge loose rocks with a smooth surface and ice cracks are spread all along the route, accompanied by a steep slope of several hundred meters nearly 70 degrees. You need to care more about where to place your feet when you are moving forward.
Never be too pessimistic about the conditions on either side of the Mountain. No matter whether in Nepal or in Tibet, each side has its own distinctive features that differentiate from one the other and imposes ecstasies for every visitor and climber to explore.
Due to the transitional locations, the climate of Mt. Everest in Tibet and Nepal varies all the time. At the same time, the characterized weather and climate of both sides creates different Everest Base Camp tour. Pick up the one you favor most and neither of the routes will make you feel disappointed.
With the quite different climates, mountain terrains, and routes to the Everest summit, climbers and mountaineers must be prudent with their choices of topping the summit, for either route has its own lurking difficulties for everyone to challenge.
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