South Summit (Mount Everest)
|Mount Everest South Summit|
The pinnacle is the South Summit in this view from the South Col
|Elevation||8,749 m (28,704 ft)|
|Prominence||11 m (36 ft)|
|Isolation||0.36 km (0.22 mi)|
|Parent peak||Mount Everest|
|Parent range||Mahalangur Himal, Himalayas|
|First ascent||May 26, 1953|
|Normal route||Traversing the South Col|
The South Summit of Mount Everest in the Himalayas is the second-highest peak on Earth, and is a subsidiary peak to the primary peak of Mount Everest. Although its elevation above sea level of 8,749 metres (28,704 ft) is higher than the second-highest mountain on Earth, K2 (whose summit is 8,611 metres (28,251 ft) above sea level), it is only considered a separate peak and not a separate mountain as its prominence is only 11 meters.
The peak is a dome-shaped peak of snow and ice, and is connected to the summit of Mount Everest by the Cornice Traverse and Hillary Step. It was first climbed by Charles Evans and Tom Bourdillon on the 1953 British Mount Everest expedition, on May 26, 1953. They were unable to continue on to the primary summit, but Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, the next pair to make a summit bid, traversed the South Summit to reach the main peak. The distance separating the two summits is approximately 130 metres (430 ft).
On reaching the South Col in 1953, expedition leader John Hunt was struck by the sight, writing "Above us rose the South Summit of Everest ... an elegant snow spire, breathtakingly close yet nearly 3000 feet above our heads ... none of us had been prepared for any spectacle quite so sharp, quite so beautiful as this. To me it seemed that a new and unsuspected peak of alpine stature stood above the South Col."
A geologist with a 1965 Indian Everest expedition discovered a deposit of fossils of seashells in limestone about 100 feet above the South Summit. This expedition put nine climbers on the main summit. 
During the 1996 Mount Everest disaster, mountain guide Rob Hall and three other people died at the South Summit while descending from the main summit in an unexpected blizzard. Hall survived overnight, and established radio contact the following day, but froze to death later that day, May 11, 1996. His body remains on the South Summit.
In 2012 Dr. Eberhard Schaaf died on descent at the south summit from altitude sickness.
The south summit is a popular place for climbers to stop for various reasons, and to turn around if so decided. From this location the cornice traverse, Hillary step, and summit can be seen in clear weather and for a typical climber using bottled oxygen in the early 21st century, it is a favored spot to change oxygen bottles.
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