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After more than a decade of disputes and controversies, China and Nepal finally agreed on the height of Mount Everest.

The highest peak in the world, which is located on the border of Nepal with Tibet in the Himalayas, stands at 8,848.86 meters, officials from both countries announced today.

This is less than a meter taller than the previously recognized height.

A long line of mountaineers lines up on a path on Mount Everest, in this photo that made headlines around the world.
A long line of mountaineers lines up on a path on Mount Everest, in this photo that made headlines around the world. (Project Nimsdai possible via AP)

The agreement marked the end of a lengthy debate over the precise dimensions of the mountain, known as Sagarmatha in Nepal and Qomolangma in Tibet.

Over the years, the two countries, as well as other governments around the world, have offered different estimates of the mountain’s height.

“The project was a source of national pride for Nepal and a prestigious undertaking for the Nepalese government. I am very proud that we were able to complete it successfully,” Susheel Dangol, deputy director general of the Nepal Department of Studies, told CNN.

“Nepal and China jointly processed the survey data and got the result.”

The virtual press conference was attended by Nepalese Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali and his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi.

In 2005, a Chinese study of the mountain estimated that it was at around 8844 meters.

However, since the investigation was not authorized by Nepal, the country did not recognize it as the official height.

China and Nepal announce a new agreed height for Mount Everest of 8,849 meters, ending the past discrepancy. (Tashi Tsering / Xinhua via AP)

At the time, they were using a figure of 8848 meters, in line with the findings of a 1955 Indian survey.

Then in 2015, multiple scientific studies suggested that the mountain’s elevation may have changed after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal.

Two years later, the Nepalese government began its own arduous mission of re-measuring altitude for the first time.

During Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Nepal last year, both countries agreed to jointly announce the new height, calling the peak “an eternal symbol of Nepal-China friendship.”

China began measuring from the Tibetan side of the mountain after Xi’s visit.

China sent an eight-member team to conduct its own survey.

China began measuring from the Tibetan side of the mountain after Xi’s visit. (AP Photo / Niranjan Shrestha)

Since then, the two sides have been discussing their findings.

The new height was calculated using a combination of geodetic data received from three mechanisms: leveling instrument, gravity gauge, and GPS.

The team placed a signal receiver at each station and measured how long it took for signals to travel between the receiver and the satellites, then converted that measurement to height.


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