Mt Qomolangma is the world's highest peak at 8,850m.
Everest is not in the same category as Kailash when it comes to being a sacred peak. For one thing, the monastery at Everest only dates from the 20th century while those at Kailash date to the 13th century. More importantly, Kailash has always been offlimits to climbers and Tibetans don't flock to Everest since you can't circumambulate around it. But no matter, Everest has always been sacred since the name in Tibetan, Chomolangma, means Queen on an Ox or more properly Mother Goddess of the World. Tibetans believe that Miyo Langsangma resides on Everest, her steed is an ox but she sometimes is shown astride a tiger, and is one of the five Tsering Sisters, goddesses who reside in different peaks among the Himalayas.
Everest Base Camp is unique in that you can drive there, unlike any other base camps used to attempt summit climbs. The rough road used was built in 1960 for Chinese mountaineering attempts.
Flora and fauna
The best season to visit is May to October, but the peak is often covered in clouds from July to August. Snow can be found on the Tingri Route areound October.
There are two treking routes as well as an access road for Land Cruisers (which can be arranged in Lhasa or Shigatse).
Permits cost ¥65 per person and ¥405 per vehicle and can be purchased at Shelkar, Tingri or Chay Village.
Those who enter the Preserve via landrover travel the road through Cray Village til you reach Pasum. For those continuing on to Everest Base Camp, you will need to transfer to passenger vans which travel the remainder of the way for a fee of Y80 p/p r/t. Theoretically this is to limit the number of vehicles at Base Camp due to parking problems but you will find various connected Chinese and group tour vehicles continuing on past this checkpoint.
Food is available at Benba Guesthouse in Tashidzom and the Snowman Hotel in Pasum.
Staying at private houses is the most common practice. At Rongbuk Monastery, lodging is available but expect the bare minimum.
Lodging in tents is available at Jomolangma (Everest) Base Camp.