Chinese team to measure Everest with BeiDou-3 tech

The mission to measure Mount Everest in 2020 is on its way.

A team of over 30 Chinese surveyors left the base camp on its arduous and potentially deadly journey to the peak Wednesday as part of the country’s mission to remeasure the height of the world’s highest mountain, China Daily reported.

China has launched a campaign to measure the height of Mount Everest, which is known in China as Mount Qomolangma, the Ministry of Natural Resources announced.

The re-measurement of the peak’s height is a part of China’s latest large-scale comprehensive scientific survey of Everest, and the project is jointly organized by the Ministry of Natural Resources, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the General Administration of Sports of China and the regional government of the Tibet autonomous region, China Daily reported.

The 1st Geodetic Surveying Brigade under the Ministry of Natural Resources and the China Mountaineering Team are the two parties carrying out the project.

Its official height is 8,848 metres (29,029 feet), first recorded by an Indian survey in 1954. Numerous other teams have measured the peak, although the 1954 height remains the widely accepted figure, The Jakarta Post reported.

Preparation of the project was initiated in early March, with 53 surveyors from the 1st Geodetic Surveying Brigade getting stationed near Everest to carry out adaptive climbing and training, China Daily reported.

“We are sending a team because there were questions regarding the height of Everest after the (2015 Nepal) earthquake,” the expedition’s co-ordinator from the Survey Department, Susheel Dangol, told AFP.

To ensure the accuracy of the measurement, and to work it in a more scientific way, experts from the Chinese Academy of Surveying and Mapping, the Shaanxi Bureau of Surveying, Mapping and Geo-information, and the China Geological Survey were invited to assist in the technical design and planning of the project, China Daily reported.

China’s surveyor team have left Everest base camp (shown) for the lengthy journey to the peak. Credit: Handout.

The technical innovations include the application of the BeiDou-3 Navigation Satellite System and advanced domestic surveying and mapping instruments.

Enriched with many high peaks, including Mount Everest, Southwest China’s Tibet has long been considered as a haven for climbers from all over the world, China Daily reported.

This spring, the region suspended climbing services for foreign climbing expedition teams, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the first successful expedition to Mount Everest, and the 45th anniversary of China’s first accurate measurement of Everest’s height, China Daily reported.

The 1960 Chinese Mount Everest expedition was the first to successfully ascend Mount Everest via the North Ridge.

Chinese mountaineers and researchers climbed Mount Everest in 1975 to determine its height afresh and concluded that the rock height of the peak was about 8,848.13 meters, and in 2005, the summit was measure at 8,844.43 meters (29,017 feet), China Daily reported.

In May 1999 an American team added two metres to Everest’s height (29,035 feet) when it used GPS technology to survey the peak, The Jakarta Post reported. That figure is now used by the US National Geographic Society, but otherwise not widely accepted.

“It will not be easy to work in that terrain, but we are confident our mission will be successful,” said the Chinese expedition’s leader and chief surveyor, Khim Lal Gautam, who summited Everest in 2011.