Do you dream of seeing Everest up close & personal? Does the thought of many days arduous trekking at high altitude deter you?
Worry not as here are three ways you can make your Everest dreams become reality….the easy way. No trekking!
Everest is big……really big!
Until you see Everest for real, trying to imagine just how big the world’s highest mountain is…well…it’s impossible.
So, how can you see Everest close up without hard trekking?
This has surely got to be the ultimate way to see Everest. From the cockpit of your own private helicopter you see everything!
There’s now quite a few companies offering a chartered helicopter service and within 30 minutes of leaving Kathmandu Airport you’re hovering above Everest Base Camp.
It’s got to be one of the most exciting helicopter flights in the world as you rise above the Kathmandu Valley and then head alongside the Himalayas before turning to head for Everest.
The helicopter can take you above the classic trekkers Everest view points of Gokyo Ri and Kala Pattar. The difference is that not only are you higher than these well known view points, you’ve reached them in minutes and haven’t spent many days trekking to get there either.
The views you get of Everest and other Himalayan giants are truly sensational and to make the trip even more memorable you can land at the aptly named Everest View Hotel -3980 metres- above Namche Bazaar and enjoy a champagne breakfast whilst absorbing an incredible Himalayan panorama of Everest, Lhotse and Ama Dablam and still be back in Kathmandu in time for lunch.
This really is the trip of a lifetime.
But, there are a couple of drawbacks. Firstly the cost. This can run into several thousand dollars to charter a helicopter. But, if there’s 3 or 4 of you the cost per person becomes similar to the cost of a two week Everest trek, except you get all the views as if you’ve trekked in minutes and with no effort. The second drawback is the altitude. Helicopters are not pressurised and although the pilot gets supplementary oxygen, you don’t. So, some people do get a bit nauseous at the highest elevations (circa 7000 metres).
Everest Mountain Flight
There are several daily flights by small aircraft from Kathmandu to see Everest.
The good news is that you’re guaranteed a window seat too. Joining one of these flights is certainly a lot less costly than chartering a private helicopter. The 45 minute round trip is approx $250 including airport pick up and drop off. OK, unless you’re a smarty pants like me who has been lucky enough to test out all three of these easy Everest options, these aircraft mountain flights will feel very spectacular. Though the planes can’t get as close to Everest as a helicopter can and the view from an aeroplane window compared with the 360 degree view from a helicopter isn’t anything like as good….well…you’re still going to see the Himalayas from the air and Everest too.
Whichever side of the plane you’re sitting on the pilots do their best to manoeuvre the aircraft so that everyone on board gets a view of Everest and if you’re on the left hand side of the plane you see the Himalayas on the way up to Everest. If you’re on the right side of the plane you see the Himalayas on the way back instead.
Not surprisingly these Everest Mountain Flights are incredibly popular and it’s only since the recent introduction of the private helicopter option that this more affordable way of seeing Everest has been bettered.
Yes, you can actually drive to Everest Base Camp. Not on the Nepal side though. That classic view of Everest as an iconic black pyramid is the Nepal side, so it’s trekking or by air for that one still.
However, there has been a 4wd road to Everest Base Camp on the Tibet side of Everest for many years. In fact just recently the Chinese made it smooth tarmac all the way to Rongbuk.
Here you get the Tibetan view of Everest’s imposing North Face.
The “other” face of Everest (Everest has 3 faces), the Kangshung Face remains rarely seen as it’s a serious trekking undertaking.
But, the North Face from the Rongbuk Monastery is the view that all the early Everest expeditions got (as Nepal was closed to foreigners), including the legendary Mallory and Irvine attempt.
Most people coming to see Everest from Tibet start their journey in Lhasa and travel by vehicle across the spectacular Tibetan Plateau on the Lhasa-Kathmandu Highway, from which the road to Everest is a detour.