A Chinese government-backed team plans to climb to the summit of a deserted Mount Everest this week to measure the world’s highest peak.
Everest has been closed to commercial climbers following the outbreak of coronavirus, with China and Nepal worried about Covid-19 spreading among expedition teams.
Bad weather forced the team charged with measuring the mountain’s current height to return to base camp, but they have since taken up their former position, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.
Depending on the weather, the team expects to reach the summit on Friday morning, Wang Yongfeng, deputy director of the mountaineering administrative centre of the General Administration of Sport, told Xinhua.
China’s network of Beidou satellites, a rival to the United States’ Global Positioning System, is being used to survey the mountain’s current height and natural resources.
Data on snow depth, weather and wind speed is also being measured to monitor the deterioration of glaciers and other ecological impacts of climate change.
China has conducted six major surveys of the mountain locally known as Qomolangma, registering its height at 8,848.13 meters (29,029 feet) in 1975 and 8,844.43 meters (29,017 feet) in 2005.
China has also taken advantage of the lack of climbers to collect rubbish from Everest and other popular climbing peaks.