Above: A view of the north face of Mount Everest from the Rongbuk monastery in Tibet.
The world’s highest mountain has finally been given protected status after Tibet formally opened Qomolangma National Park. The border between Nepal and Tibet runs directly across the summit of Everest—so named in 1865 by Andrew Waugh, the British Surveyor General of India—and the Nepali side has been officially protected since 1976 with the inauguration of Sagarm?th? National Park, which was made a UNESCO site three years later. Qomolangma, the local name for Everest, will encompass a further four mountains over 8,000 meters, covering a total of 78,000 square kilometers across six districts of Shigatse Prefecture. Qomolangma National Park is the third in Tibet, following Yarlung Zangbo Grand Canyon National Park and Namtso National Park. The region’s tourism authority said that the new status would allow a greater focus on the protection of biodiversity at the roof of the world. Last year, almost nine million people visited Tibet—bringing in tourism revenue of more than a billion dollars—and authorities aim to see 15 million tourists visit annually by 2015.