Taking a helicopter to see the Himalayas and see Mt. Everest is, without a doubt, the adventure of a lifetime! I have been fortunate enough to be in Kuala Lumpur, a place that connects to many countries around Asia, and when I saw that there is a direct flight from KL to Kathmandu, I couldn’t miss it!
I was picked up at 5 in the morning at the hotel on my third morning in the city. I arrived at the airport with my driver, and I met the other passengers joining this fascinating journey. In total we were 6: a couple, two friends, the pilot and I. The day was sunny and we were all praying that it would stay like that the whole journey!
Our adventure began with a 45-minute ride from Nepal’s capital Kathmandu to Lukla’s Airpot, which is located about 2,860 meters above sea level. Lukla’s Airport is considered one of the world’s most challenging and dangerous airports in the world to access. The runway is 526 meters long (to give an idea, the JFK Airport is 2,560 meters long) and heads off a cliff with a steep drop and rugged terrain on all sides! This airport is certainly no joke, and only the most trained and pilot’s with most experience can do it. Luckily for us, we were in a helicopter, so no worries about the pilot steeping on the brakes when arriving and trying to not run into the mountain!
As soon as we set off on our quest, the view was beautiful! I cannot describe with words how beautiful Kathmandu Valley is from the skies, a combination of colors: greens, yellows, oranges, the blue skies and the white fluffy clouds that were all around us. As the time passed, we were surrounded by breathtaking snow-peaked mountains, we were all in complete silence, in awe of seeing the Himalayas—I felt like between Heaven & Earth. The tour continued with some beautiful landscapes, waterfalls, rivers, great mountains, everything around us, and with the headphones that we had from the helicopter, the perception of the view was more intense because an inner silence predominated.
We arrived at Lukla’s Airport and got some gas, it didn’t even take 5 minutes! But we were truly excited leaving the airport, as it meant we were closer to get to see Mt. Everest!
We pass by one side of Namche Bazaar, the last village or town before reaching Everest Base Camp. In this part of the journey, the pilot (who I had by my side, I was in the middle front, perfect spot!) became more serious and it seems that it gave more intensity to the speed of the helicopter. We went through a narrower path with mountains on both sides, and in the background would be Mount Everest. It could not be seen in the clouds, but we all knew it was there. When the speed of the helicopter increased, as well as the seriousness of the pilot, the density of the clouds and mountains grew and visibility decreased. The pilot turned us around and on the radio communicated that the weather was changing very fast and the clouds would not let us through. After turning around, the pilot increased the speed even more and we entered the narrow path of mountains trying to reach the Everest base camp-or even to see Mount Everest closer! The excitement increased with every second, but still certain “anxiety” trying to see the Great Everest. He went one more lap, but it was a failed attempt… You could see our sadness…
We descended on Namche Bazaar and the views were incredible… as amazing as being there! Writing these lines and remembering everything I saw, my heart rejoices! We were there between 30-45 minutes, and we had to leave when the clouds began to “agglomerate” into our surroundings and the pilot said it was better to leave.
Ascending, the pilot took the path of the narrow road again trying to see Everest … and in the second round he says “there is, there is Everest!”. And, we saw Everest! It was a moment of such a short time, that I had to decide: to take a picture or see it with my own eyes — I decided on the latter!… An image that I would love to see again, and if I have the opportunity I would go back to make this tour so indescribable and amazing journey. The incredible thing about seeing Mount Everest is that it is as shown in a photo: imposing, strong, tall, rigid and white.
Without any doubt it is the highest mountain in the world, and must be feared by anyone who has the courage to try to conquer it!
This following pic shows Mt. Everest on the side, certainly not the best picture.