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Mount Everest

Mount Everest in the Himalayas has claimed the lives of many of those attempting to reach its summit.

July 11, 2011 New York Post Robin Wallace

is the highest mountain and tallest peak?

If you want to know what it feels like to stand on top of the world, you would need to pack your bags for Asia. Mount Everest, located on the borders of China, Tibet and Nepal, rises to a height of 29,035 feet above sea level, making it the highest mountain in the world. However, if you wanted to scale the tallest peak on Earth, you head to the Hawaiian volcano Mauna Kea, which is 13,796 feet above sea level and 33,000 feet tall.

The height of a mountain is the measure of the distance from the base of the mountain to its highest peak. In the case of Mauna Kea, its base lies on the ocean floor. The mountain rises up out of the ocean, but only over 13,000 feet of it extend above sea level, above the ocean surface.

Mount Everest, located in Asia majestic Himalayan mountain range, is entirely above ground, its full 29,035 feet, stretching into the sky. So, although Mauna Kea, from base to peak, is more than 3,000 feet taller than Everest, the top peak of Everest rises 20,000 feet higher above sea level than Mauna Kea.

Everest is shaped like a pyramid, with three flat sides coming to a point, and is covered by glaciers. Temperatures on Everest never rise above freezing. In January, they can plummet to 75 degrees below zero (F), and in July, when things warm up, expect a balmy average of negative 2 degrees.

The mountain is whipped by hurricane-force winds and blizzards and ice storms, and avalanches are common. There is very little oxygen at that elevation. The conditions are, in most respects, incompatible with human life.

Yet, scaling Mount Everest has been a human obsession since Sir Edmund Hillary, the legendary explorer from New Zealand, and his climbing party became the first people to reach the summit on May 29, 1953.

Since then, thousands more have climbed more than 4,000 ascents of Everest meaning some have climbed the mountain more than once.

However, the mountain has claimed more than 200 lives, and because of the punishing nature of the journey, most of those bodies have been left behind. It is estimated that the corpses of about 120 doomed mountaineers have been left behind on Everest.

On the other side of the globe, Mauna Kea is a one million-year old volcano whose eruptions helped form the island of Hawaii, the largest of the Hawaiian islands. It is considered an active volcano, since even though it last erupted more than 4,500 years ago, it is expected to erupt again.

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