Spring climbing was canceled by China and Nepal on their respective sides of Mount Everest to prevent infections due to the coronavirus pandemic. This opened up a huge opportunity for the Chinese Ministry of National Resources to deploy a 53-member team to conduct a survey to determine the mountain’s current height and natural resources.
On-Mountain Surveying About to Start
According to the official Xinhua News Agency, the survey team has been conducting preliminary scientific research since early March. This month, the surveyors are due to work directly on the mountain. The team will use China’s network of Beidou satellites, considered to be a rival to America’s Global Positioning System (GPS), to determine the mountain’s current elevation and natural resources. Reportedly, they will also be using other surveying technology that has been domestically developed.
Data to be Collected
Data on snow depth, weather and wind speed would also be measured to “facilitate glacier monitoring and ecological protection,” Xinhua reported. But no date was given for when the surveyors would arrive at the top of the mountain via the northern approach. In addition to the surveying work, China has also taken advantage of the lack of climbers to collect garbage from Everest and other popular climbing peaks.
Photos of the Camp
In these aerial photos, taken on April 30, 2020 and released by China’s Xinhua News Agency, vehicles and tents are seen at the base camp at the foot of the peak of Mount Qomolangma, also known as Mount Everest, in southwestern China’s Tibet Autonomous Region. China sent scientists to climb Mount Everest while the world’s highest peak is empty of commercial climbers because of the coronavirus pandemic. (Purbu Zhaxi/Xinhua via AP)
Photos provided courtesy of China’s Xinhua News Agency via Associated Press