China's tech edge conquering world's highest peak

By Deng Xiaoci Source:Global Times Published: 2020/5/27 21:18:41

Staff members celebrate the summiting of Mount Qomolangma by a Chinese surveying team at the Mount Qomolangma base camp in southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region, May 27, 2020. A Chinese surveying team reached the summit of Mount Qomolangma on Wednesday morning to conduct a series of surveys on the pinnacle of the planet. The event marked a crucial step in China's mission to remeasure the height of the world's highest peak, which scientists believe will enhance human knowledge of nature and help boost scientific development. After summiting, team members began erecting a survey marker on the snow-covered peak, which measures less than 20 square meters. (Xinhua/Jigme Dorje)

China has claimed a major phased victory in its latest quest to measure the height of Mt Qomolangma, the world's tallest mountain located on the China-Nepal border, as all of the measurement team's eight brave members successfully mounted the world's highest peak at around 11am on Wednesday. Experts and netizens said that such a great triumph achieved by China with the help of new home-grown technologies have inspired enormous outbursts of pride, at a time when the country has overcome the COVID-19 epidemic through a months-long tough battle and an important political event, the two sessions, will successfully come to a close at the end of this week.

The Chinese team set off to reach the summit of Mt Qomolangma from a mountain camp at an altitude of 8,300 meters at around 2:10 am on early Wednesday morning and after nearly nine hours, the team members in red, the color of the Chinese National Flag, managed to ascend to the top of the mountain. 

Chinese surveyors pose for a group photo atop Mount Qomolangma on Wednesday. The surveying team reached the summit on Wednesday with the trek being a crucial step in the country's mission to re-measure the height of the world's tallest peak. Photo: Xinhua

The whole process, especially the breathtaking moment of the team reaching the top, was closely followed by millions of viewers via livestreaming service provided by national broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV), which was made available thanks to 5G communication technology. 

Aside from 5G, many of China's homegrown new technology applications, including the BeiDou Satellite Navigation System, have been adopted and ensure the smooth undertaking of the country's latest quest to re-measure the height of Mt Qomolangma.

Wang Yongfeng, general commander of the mountain climbing mission even managed to make calls at Base Camp at an altitude of 5,200 meters with team members using the 5G-driven phone terminals on their way up. "The 5G reception is excellent," he said.

Members of a Chinese surveying team reach the summit of Mt. Qomolangma on May 27, 2020. A Chinese surveying team reached the summit of Mount Qomolangma on Wednesday morning, a crucial step in the country's mission to remeasure the height of the world's highest peak. (Xinhua/Tashi Tsering)

Many said they shared the heart-stirring moments of summiting team members through 5G-powered livestreaming, as if witnessing the magnificence of Mt Qomolangma first hand.  

The world's highest peak has been covered by the 5G network provided by China Mobile. And to ensure smooth communication as well as the high definition livestreaming service for the quest, China's communication giant Huawei has worked with China Mobile to offer detailed terminal-to-terminal solutions, China Mobile told the Global Times on Wednesday.

Having completed all measuring work, the Chinese height surveying team started to descend from the peak of Mt Qomolangma after two hours at around 1:22 pm.

During their more than two hour long stay on the world's peak, they were tasked to establish a survey marker to enable the other surveying team at a height of 5,000 to 6, 000 meters to conduct intersection measurement, use radar to measure the depth of snow and using satellite positioning to determine the location of the summit.

The exact data will be released in two to three months, according to Dang Yamin, the project leader of the re-measurement task, told the Global Times. 

The re-measurement of Mt Qomolangma's height comes as measurement techniques have been much improved with enhanced precision, and China, as one of the countries that has sovereignty over Mt Qomolangma, is obligated to offer the world an exact number of the constantly-changing height of the mountain, Dang told the Global Times.

Mt Qomolangma grows 4.4 millimeters every year, meaning it would be about 10 centimeters taller every two to three decades, which requires re-measurement, Dang said.

Earthquakes that take place in the nearby region also affect the height of the mountain. And to what extent the 2015 Nepalese earthquake had on the mountain's height, with the epicenter being 200km away, has not been verified in the international community, which calls for re-measurement, he said. 

Apart from the latest height measurement of Mt Qomolangma, Chinese researchers will also study first-hand data on the current condition of its glaciers collected during the Wednesday quest.

Glacier monitoring is believed to be a key indicator of global warming, as glaciers are extremely sensitive to climate change, said Tibet-based environment scholars, who were contacted by the Global Times on Wednesday. 

Chinese surveyors conduct surveying atop Mount Qomolangma on May 27, 2020. A Chinese surveying team reached the summit of Mount Qomolangma on Wednesday morning to conduct a series of surveys on the pinnacle of the planet. After summiting, team members began erecting a survey marker on the snow-covered peak, which measures less than 20 square meters. (Xinhua/Tashi Tsering)

A dream longed for by all

The Wednesday victory of mounting the world's highest summit has touched Chinese netiznes, as more than 100 million comments were left on Sina Weibo under the CCTV's livestreaming post to express how delighted they were and how much pride they took in the progress made by our  nation.

When viewing the livestream, many netiznes said they naturally recalled the true story adapted blockbuster, The Climbers, starring Wu Jing, a household name in China since his Wolf Warriors series, with the movie depicting the first two attempts to conquer Mt Qomolangma by the Chinese people in 1960 and 1975.

The Chinese climbers charged at the peak despite poor equipment and risking their lives only to prove that we can ascend to the top of the highest mountain, according to the movie.

Dang told the Global Times on Wednesday that it was beyond heart wrenching to see how the older-generation Chinese trailblazers took on Mt Qomolangma. "I would love to tell them that we don't have to go through their difficulties any more," he said.

Some of the old-generation climbers would often tell me how they appreciate today's advancement of our domestic developed equipment, Dang said.

"They had to take off their gloves to operate complicated foreign devices when climbing the mountain, during which some mountain engineers had their hands severely wounded by frostbite. But now the user-friendly domestic equipment can allow them to operate devices even with gloves on," Dang noted.

"We started from the bottom and even when we got there, no one would believe us." A Beijing resident told the Global Times on Wednesday. "Now we've made it again, and we nailed it in a way better than anyone else. The whole process was broadcast live, no more doubts."

"Chinese people have not only climbed the world's highest mountain today, we have also got the COVID-19 epidemic under control with solidarity and wisdom, which could be marked by the successful holding of this year's two sessions. We are proud of our country," another Net user wrote.

Netizens wrote that the climb itself, which humans have already completed many times, does not count as such a huge victory to them but the process in which our own technologies like 5G and BDS play such an important role, has really lifted our hearts. "And every one should be convinced by now that China's overall strength has been remarkably enhanced in the past few decades. How amazing is that!"

Inforgraphic: GT

The Chinese government has conducted six large-scale surveys and measurements on Mt Qomolangma in the past few decades; it had successfully measured and announced the height of the mountain in 1975 and 2005, respectively, Xinhua News Agency reported.

The measurement results of the height of Mt Qomolangma announced by China were 8,848.13 meters in 1975 and 8,844.43 meters in 2005.

According to a joint statement signed between China and Nepal in October 2019, the two sides will promote cooperation in different fields, including addressing climate change and protecting the environment, and jointly announce the height of Mt Qomolangma and conduct scientific research.

This year marks the 65th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Nepal, the 60th anniversary of humans reaching the summit of Mt Qomolangma via the north ridge, as well as the 45th anniversary of China accurately measuring and announcing the height of the peak for the first time.

Newspaper headline: China conquers world's peak again


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