Marine fossils - a long way from home

Geologically speaking, Mount Everest and the rest of its Himalayan neighbours are still relatively young whippersnappers at a sprightly 65 million years of age. As outlined by ThoughtCo., they began forming when Eurasian plate and the Indo-Australian plate collided, and the boundary between the plates has been steadily folding and pushing to reach its current height of 29,000 feet. A key piece of evidence advancing the notion of plate tectonics in the early 20th century, the above-linked ThoughtCo. article explains that 400-million-year-old ocean marine fossils can actually be found in the layers of limestone at the top of the mountain.

These fossils were deposited at the bottom of shallow tropical seas back in the day before eventually finding themselves on top of the world, weirdly but epically demonstrating how the sea bed has been forced up to the highest peaks of the Earth over millions of years through the collision of crustal plates. Aside from the usual awe and wonder that Everest inspires with its sheer scale and the tales of triumph and tragedy on its slopes, it's humbling to know that when we look at it, we're really looking at a monument to the dynamic nature of the Earth itself.

Green Boots - Everest’s most morbid landmark

Of the numerous corpses lying in plain sight on Everest's slopes, some achieve a greater level of morbid infamy than others. The most well-known among these is probably the poor soul known as Green Boots. So named for the bright neon green climbing boots still attached to its feet, Green Boots has become kind of a grim landmark for those attempting the climb from the north face. Almost every climber passes the Green Boots on the way to the summit, and most stop to take a rest at the adjacent cave.

The man is believed to have been Tsewang Paljor, an Indian climber who perished in an infamous blizzard in 1996.


As if the deadly conditions and the open graveyard of frozen corpses weren't frightening enough, a trek up Everest could also land you an encounter with a ghost or two.

Just ask Italian mountaineer Reinhold Messner, possibly the single most accomplished climber to ever grace Everest's hallowed slopes. Among a host of other mountaineering achievements, he was the first to ever complete a solo summit of Everest, and he was the first to complete the climb without bottled oxygen – to say nothing of that magnificent head of hair. And during a 1980 climb, according to The Guardian, Messner said he felt the presence of a phantom ally accompanying him and helping him on his way.

Messner might be the coolest people to have had an experience like this on Everest, but he's far from the only one. British climbers Dougal Haston and Doug Scott, for example, claimed to have been offered ghostly help and comfort during a 1975 expedition, and Pemba Dorji Sherpa claimed to have encountered "spirits in the form of black shadows" in 2004.