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Nature's Beauty

Mount Everest: The Goddess Mother of the World, Part 1 of 2

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In today’s program, we journey to the Great Himalayas of Southern Asia to explore one of Mother Earth’s magnificent creations, Mount Everest. Located on the border of Nepal and Tibet, Mount Everest has an elevation of 29,032 feet (8,849 meters) and is Earth’s highest mountain above sea level. Although this goddess was addressed by various names in different languages, there was one common thread – she was embraced as the mother of all mountains with an inherent quality of humility and divinity. Greatly revered by the local people, the peak’s Tibetan name Chomolungma means “Goddess Mother of the World” or “Goddess of the Valley.”

The majestic Mount Everest resembles a three-sided pyramid with flat planes that make up the sides, also known as faces. Two faces are joined by a line called a ridge. Rising above Tibet is the North Face, the North Col, and the Great and Hornbein gullies. The Southwest Face extends above Nepal, and this side of the mountain consists of the South Col and the Khumbu Icefall, with large ice blocks that have proven extremely dangerous and a colossal challenge for climbers. The third face is the East Face, or Kangshung Face, which also rises above Tibet.

With below-freezing temperatures and powerful winds, Mount Everest has an extreme climate that is at times unpredictable. On the summit, the warmest mean daytime temperature occurs in July and is about -2 degrees Fahrenheit (-19 degrees Celsius). The summit of Mount Everest is covered by hard snow-capped by 5 to 20 feet (1.5 to 6 meters) of softer snow. The slopes of the mountain are covered by glaciers: the Kangshung, East, Central, West Rongbuk (Rongpu), and Khumbu glaciers. These are responsible for creating many rivers and providing an important source of water for the people in Nepal and Tibet.

The flora and fauna that call Mount Everest home somehow thrive despite the harsh climatic conditions and high altitude. During the monsoon season, mid-June to August, most plants on the mountain grow and bloom, creating green hillsides and a picturesque landscape. Also found living on Mount Everest in the high valleys around the base of the mountain are a group of mountain-dwelling people, the Sherpas, also called Sharwa.

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