For the traveler who is unable to make a trekking
trip to the mountains either because of lack of time or physical
fitness, or due to sheer want of the adventure streak, there are
mountain flights to simulate the experience.
The one hour flight takes you within camera range of some of the
heights peaks in the world, and cursing this close to the awe-inspiring
massifs of rock and ice, is an out-of-this earth experience. The
aircraft takes off and heads eastward and almost immediately, the
peaks come into view. The first peak that appears in your horizon
is the majestic Gosaithan, standing 8,013m tall. To its right, appears
Dorje Lakpa (6,966m), looking like a massive figure of 8, lying
prone and covered in snow. To its right is Phurbi Chyachu, which
looms over the Kathmandu Valley.
Next on your vision is Choba Bhamare, rather than small in this
company at 5,933m, but singularly stubborn as it remains unconquered
to this day. Then comes Mt. Gaurishanker (7,134m), standing out
sharp and conspicuous-Hindus believe that lord Shiva and his consort
Parvati protect this mountain.
As the flight moves towards the eastern Himalaya, a succession of
majestic mountains follows. Melungtse, with a plateau-like top stands
at 7,023m; Chugimago is at 6,297m, and still remains to be scaled.
At 6,956m, Mt. Numbur resembles a breast, and is believed to be
the maternal source in the sky providing pure milk to the Sherpas
of Solukhumbu. Then, Karyolung, a gambling–white mountain
at 6,511m, and Cho-Oyu, the sixth highest in the world at 8,021m.
The last and most exciting stretch of the journey takes you close
to the 7,952m tall Gyachungkang, which is considered an extremely
tough climb. To its right is Pumori at 7,161m and Nuptse at 7,855m.
Finally, there is Mt. Everest itself (8,848m), called Sagarmath
by the Nepalis and Chomolungma by Tibetans. It is an altogether
different feeling as one comes face to face with the world’s
tallest and most enigmatic of the mountains.
Mountain flights are offered by a host of airlines. Buddha Air
offers several flights a day, the other being Gorkha Air, Necon
Air, Mountain Air, Cosmic Air and Royal Nepal Airlines. All the
flights leave Kathmandu between 7.00 and 9.30 a.m. Buddha Air flies
19- seater American Beech 1900D aircraft. Gorkha airlines and cosmic
air operate 19- seater German Dornier 228s. Mountain air lies 1900C
Beech aircraft, RNAC operates 44-seater Avros and 19-seater Twin
otters, while Necon Air has 44-seater Avros and ATRs. Please check
timing with local operators.
Helicopter and air craft are also available for chatter use, especially
for group treks and expiations. STOL (short take off and landing)
airstrips are located through hour the country.