Everest

Everest Base Camp (REUTERS/Gopal Chitrakar)

Nepal and China have debated for decades about the actual height of the world's highest peak, Mount Everest.  Nepal wants to set the record straight, and the government has ordered a new survey to end the confusion over the exact height, according to a government spokesman.

As it stands right now, the overall height of Everest is designated as 29,029 feet (8,848 meters).  But, China and Nepal have a long-running argument over that height because the Chinese argue that it should be measured by rock height whereas Nepal says it should be measured including the dense, 13-foot (four-meter) deep snowpack on top.

While no one is disputing that Everest is the planet's highest point, geologists say that both estimates could be proven wrong because the mountain is becoming higher each year as India gradually pushes beneath China and Nepal due to shifting continental plates.

In May 1999 an American team used GPS technology to record a height of 8,850m - a figure that is now used by the US National Geographic Society, although it has not been officially accepted by Nepal.

Nepal government spokesman Gopal Giri told AFP news agency that during border talks with the two countries, Chinese officials use the rock height.

We have begun the measurement to clear this confusion. Now we have the technology and the resources, we can measure ourselves, Giri said.

This will be the first time the Nepal government has taken the mountain's height.

Stations are to be set up at three different locations using the global positioning system, and the task of measuring the peak is scheduled to take approximately two years.

The first official measurements were made in 1856, but it was not until 1953 that Sherpa Tenzing Norgay and New Zealander Edmund Hillary made the first successful accent to the mountain's peak.

The aforementioned number, used today for the Mountain's height, was first recorded by an Indian survey in 1955.