Saturday, June 9, 2012

A Journey to the Top of the Earth by Mountain Flight

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For every visitor of Nepal, the Himalayan range awes and fascinates. Each and every one visiting Nepal expects not only to see Himalayas but also to reach as near as possible. One of the biggest attractions for the visitors to Nepal is the Mountain Flight. For those who are restricted by time or other constraints mountain flights offer the alternate to climbing and ensure a lasting memory of the highest peak on earth. The flight takes off from Kathmandu airport to Everest range. The mountain flights are operated by the domestic airlines. It is a guaranteed flight, which means operated only when the weather is good and view is satisfactory.  

I have always dreamt to see the Himalayas, as close as possible. It has been a desire since a long time. My father had climbed some peaks of the Kanchenjunga range, and those photographs were a great inspiration for me, and that inclined me towards the mighty Himalayas. I had been to Kedarnath and Badrinath in 2005, but I had a film camera that time. Hence my photographs of Himalayas were not up to my expectations.

This time I had a Nikon D90 camera with a telephoto and wide angle lenses which helped my dream come true ,  and everyone in my family could see the mighty peaks at a very close distance by mountain flight.

Seeing the great peaks at such a close distance is worth every rupee. When we arrive at the peaks , we literally forget to shoot pictures. The eternal beauty of these mountains are mind blowing.
Every passenger gets a chance to see the peaks from the Pilot's cabin who will helps in identifying the peaks.

As the aircraft lifts up and heads towards the east, passengers don't have to wait too long to find out what is in store for them. Where they are ? the mountains appear in the sky as they always have been. To imagine their height is unbelievable. 

As per the suggestions from many people , who had visited earlier , we booked for the Buddha Airlines.

Buddha Air
Regular flights are conducted daily from Kathmandu towards the Himalayan Range in the North and East of Kathmandu. The flight generally takes off in the morning and lasts for 50 mins - 1 hour. This is the quickest way to get a close look at Mt. Everest, the highest mountain in the world . Buddha Air operates SAAB-340 and Dornier-228 aircraft for Mountain Flights. Both aircraft have large and clear windows and provide superlative sights of the Great Himalayan Range. Buddha Air's SAAB-340 flies at an optimum altitude of between 20,000 to 25,000 ft. and shows you the Himalayan Range. 
Sharper and clearer vision of the Himalayan Range is where your money is best spent. 
Edited Image. This was not edited by me. It was captured from a tourist agency in Nepal

The Important Peaks Covered are : 

1. Langtang Lirung - 7234m / 23734ft
2. Shisha Pangma ( GoSainthan) - 8013m / 26290ft
3. Dorje Lakpa - 6966m / 22854ft
4. Purbi Ghyachu - 6637m / 21775ft
5. Choba - Bamre - 5970m / 19581ft
6. Gowri Shankar - 7134m / 23405ft
7. Melungtse - 7181m / 23560ft
8. Chugimago - 6297m / 20660ft
9. Pigferago - 6620m / 21720ft
10. Numbur - 6457m / 20660ft
11. Karyolung - 6511m / 21362ft
12. Cho Oyu - 8201m / 26906ft
13. Gyachung Kang - 7652m / 26089ft
14. Pumori - 7161m / 26089ft
15. Nuptse - 7855m / 25771ft
16. Sagarmatha (Everest) (Chomolungma) - 8848m / 29028ft
17. Lhotse - 8516m / 27940ft
18. Ama Dablam - 6812m / 22349ft
19. Chamlang - 7319m / 24012ft
20. Makalu - 8463m / 27766ft

And many other named and unnamed peaks.

First to their far left visitors see Ganesh Himal , Langtang ,  Gosaithan, also called Shisha Pangma, Standing at the majestic height of 8,013 m. Immediately to the right of Gosaithan, there appears Dorje Lakpa (6,966 m), a mountain that looks like the number 8 lying down and covered with snow. To the right of Dorje Lakpa is Phurbi-Ghyachu, which looms over the Kathmandu Valley.

The above map shows the approximate placement of the major peaks in Nepal. I have added these peaks using Adobe Photoshop.

Ganesh Himal : 

Ganesh Himāl (Nepali: गणेश हिमाल) is a sub-range of the Himalaya located mostly in north-central Nepal, but some peaks lie on the border with Tibet. The Trisuli Gandaki valley on the east separates it from the Langtang Himal; the Budhi (Buri) Gandaki valley and the Shyar Khola valley on the west separate it from the Sringi Himal and the Mansiri Himal (home of Manaslu, the nearest 8000m peak). The range lies about 70km north-northwest of Kathmandu.

The highest peak in the range is Yangra (Ganesh I), 7,422 m (24,350 ft). There are three other peaks over 7000 meters plus some fourteen others over 6000 meters. Ganesh Himal enjoys great vertical relief over nearby valleys, particularly Ganesh NW , being closest to the Shyar Khola.
The name for the range comes from the Hindu deity Ganesha, usually depicted in the form of an elephant. In fact, the south face of Pabil (Ganesh IV) slightly resembles an elephant, with a ridge that is reminiscent of an elephant's trunk.

Langtang Lirung :

Langtang Lirung is the highest peak of the Langtang Himal, which is a subrange of the Nepalese Himalayas, southwest of the Eight-thousander Shisha Pangma.  

The Langtang Himal forms the western portion of a complex of mountains which also includes the Jugal Himal, home of Shisha Pangma. This complex lies between the Sun Kosi valley on the east and the Trisuli Gandaki valley on the west. Langtang Lirung lies near the Trisuli Gandaki, and north of the Langtang Khola.

Chugimago :The summit of Chugimago stuck its head above the intervening ridge on the trail from Kabug to the Trakarding Glacier. Chugimago (Chukyima Go, 6297m) was climbed for the first time in October 1952 by Tom MacKinnon, George Roger, Douglas Scott, Tom Weir, Ang Dawa Sherpa, Dawa Tenzing Sherpa, and Mingma SherpaNumbur :Numbur Peak, 6457m, the home of spirits of protection, looms over the head of the valley. 
Karyolung :Karyolung is a rarely visited but relatively accesible mountain. It is situated just south of Sagarmatha NP and is the southern most peak of the Rolwaling Himal. To the NW two of the highest Rolwaling summits rise: Numbur and Khatang. the mountain was first climbed in the fall of 1982 by a Japanese-Nepalese team via the moderately angled but highly contoured NE Face, rising straight out of the uninhabited Lumding valley. A month or two later a second Japanese-Nepalese expedition climbed the same face and made the first winter ascent of the mountain on 24 December. Since then there have been only 1 or two ascents, and no success
Cho Oyu :Cho Oyu  is the sixth highest mountain peak in the world at 8,201 metres (26,906 ft) above sea level. Cho Oyu lies in the Himalayas and is 20 km west of Mount Everest, at the border between China and Nepal. Cho Oyu means "Turquoise Goddess" in Tibetan.Cho Oyu was first attempted in 1952 by an expedition organised and financed by the Joint Himalayan Committee of Great Britain as preparation for an attempt on Mount Everest the following year. The expedition was led by Eric Shipton and included Edmund Hillary & Tom Bourdillon.
Gyachung Kang:Gyachung Kang is a mountain in the Mahalangur Himal section of the Himalaya, and is the highest peak between Cho Oyu (8,201 m) and Mount Everest (8,848 m). It lies on the border between Nepal and China. As the fifteenth highest peak in the world, it is also the highest peak that is not an eight-thousander; hence it is far less well-known than the lowest of the eight-thousanders, which are only about 100 m (328 ft) higher. The peak's lack of significant prominence (700 m) also contributes to its relative obscurity.

Changtse (Tibetan: "north peak") is a mountain situated between the Main Rongbuk and East Rongbuk Glaciers in Tibet immediately north of Mount Everest. It is connected to Mount Everest via the North Col.The given elevation of 7,543 metres is from modern Chinese mapping. Some authorities give 7,583 metres.The Changtse Glacier flows north into the East Rongbuk Glacier forming a lake. It is possible that this could be the third highest lake in the world at 6,216 metres (20,394 ft)
Mount Everest
Mount Everest (Tibetan: Chomolungma or Qomolangma  "Holy Mother"; Nepali: सगरमाथा, Sagarmāthā) is the earth's highest mountain peak, with a height of 8,848 metres (29,029 ft) above sea level. It is located in the Mahalangur section of the Himalayas. The international border between China and Nepal runs across the precise summit point. Its massif includes neighboring peaks Lhotse, 8,516 m (27,940 ft); Nuptse, 7,855 m (25,771 ft); and Changtse, 7,550 m (24,870 ft) Lhotse :Lhotse is the fourth highest mountain on Earth (after Mount Everest, K2 and Kangchenjunga) and is connected to Everest via the South Col. In addition to the main summit at 8,516 metres (27,940 ft) above sea level, Lhotse Middle (East) is 8,414 metres (27,605 ft) and Lhotse Shar is 8,383 metres (27,503 ft). It is located at the border between Tibet (China) and the Khumbu region of Nepal.Ama Dablam:Ama Dablam is a mountain in the Himalaya range of eastern Nepal. The main peak is 6,812 metres (22,349 ft), the lower western peak is 5,563 metres (18,251 ft). Ama Dablam means "Mother's necklace"; the long ridges on each side like the arms of a mother (ama) protecting her child, and the hanging glacier thought of as the dablam, the traditional double-pendant containing pictures of the gods, worn by Sherpa women. For several days, Ama Dablam dominates the eastern sky for anyone trekking to Mount Everest basecamp.There are some peaks which are repeated and some which are unnamed. I don't remember the names of some peaks.Some are from the Langtang Himal, Shisha Pangma and Everest ranges. If any of you are able to identify any of the peaks, kindly let me know so that I can improve my knowledge. No words or photographs can bring the real glory of the mountains. The beauty has to be witnessed personally. Then only the grandeur can be admired.One cannot shoot great pictures from the plane, as it is in constant movement, the  windows are slightly tinted , covered with dust . This may lead to softness in the picture. All these are record shots. It is only when we trek to these heavens, we can try for better photographs. Never miss this flight when you are in Nepal. Its Amazing !!Equipments:Nikon D90 , Nikon 18-105mm VR , Nikon 70-300mm VR , Marumi 67mm Polarizing filter.And also you get a certificate from Buddha air, when you complete the journey.Tips for Tourists :1.  See the weather and then determine, the airlines will cancel the flight if the climate is not good.2.  Its better not to take risk when the weather is too bad,  The visibility becomes zero, and also a waste of money.3. The cost is INR 5500/- (per person which includes Flight charge, pickup and drop to the hotel and Airport tax).4. Best period to visit is from Feb-May and Oct-Dec.

 Thanks for viewing               

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