October 20, 2010 by Post Team
Peak Xv, The year 1852 in the headquarters of the Great Trigonometric Survey of India in Dehra Dun, 140 km north-northeast of Delhi. Radhanath Sikdhar, the head of the Bureau of Information, bursts into the office of the Superintendent General, Sir Andrew Waugh, with some news that had been waiting for months.
“Lord, I have discovered the highest mountain in the world!”
Everest legend began at that time. In fact, the long process that led to the “discovery” of Everest began before at least fifty years. It is, however, hard to trace its exact origin.
Triangulations for the first time in Indian territory date back to 1764 and carried out in the Ganges Valley, but the ambitious plan to provide the British colony with suitable mapping support began later, at the end of the next century, the foundation of the Great Trigonometric Survey.
The first detailed studies of the peaks of the Himalayas by the Survey of India began in 1847, the launch of the new Superintendent, Colonel Andrew Waugh. In those years, the campaigns were complicated and laborious trigonometric, and that inspectors could examine the peaks only from great distances. Being denied access, in fact, forced the British military to place their instruments measuring the extent of 250 miles of mountains. It was hard work under such conditions, even more because, due to monsoons, measuring equipment may have a good visibility only from October to December.
In the fall of 1847, Waugh is the measurement of Kangchenjunga, until then considered the highest mountain in the world.
Behind the Himalayan giants, however, the Superintendent Survey noted with interest that another ice pick was apparently even higher: in circles topographic soon was baptized with the name
Waugh decided to increase the observations of other trigonometric stations, which were closer to the Himalayas. Its officers were able to move within 170 kilometers of mountains, and always, always taking into account the possibility of errors, all measures of “peak B,” a height that was decidedly higher than Kangchenjunga. Subsequently the results of various surveys were reviewed at the offices of Dehra Dun.
The calculation process lasted for several years, because each data obtained by surveyors had to be stripped of the effects of light refraction and excessive distance from the top of the survey stations. Meanwhile, Michael Hennessy, one of the attendees Colonel Waugh, invented a new naming system for the Himalayan mountains, the identification of major peaks with Roman numerals: Kangchenjunga Peak was renamed and IX, and Peak B became in Peak XV. Finally effort, came the final results became official in 1856:
28,156 feet (8581.9 meters), peak IX and 29,002 feet (8839.8 meters), Peak XV.
Waugh said that he could become the world’s highest mountain.
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