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It All Started With A Helicopter

April 3, 2013

in Nepal

 

IMG_2563 Hindu ascetic at Pashupatinath

 

Maybe it was the blessing we received from the Hindu ascetics during our day of sightseeing in Kathmandu, but whatever the reason, luck was with us even when the weather wasn’t. After rising at 4am to catch the first flight to Lukla for our trek to Everest Base Camp, we sat in the airport 7 hours waiting for the clouds in Lukla to clear. By noon, we had decided to go in by helicopter–if we could get them. Medical rescues always take precedence, so we had to wait for a heli to return from an evacuation, but by early afternoon we had two French helicopters (a B2 and B3, I think) ready for takeoff. Helicopters don’t need as much visibility as planes and are safer in the cloudy weather around Lukla. We were lucky to get them and lucky the weather held long enough for us to land and start our trek on time.

IMG_2576 Helicopter taking off from Lukla

 

Day 2 we crossed the Sir Edmund Hillary suspension bridge (vertiginously high over a gorge) and hiked two hours straight up to Namche Bazaar at 11,300 ft.  Day 3 we headed out for an acclimatization hike and our first views of Mount Everest. The weather was a little hazy but we had great views of Everest, Nuptse, and Lhotse.  The adventure begins!

 

IMG_2609 Crossing the Hillary suspension bridge IMG_2615 Spinning prayer wheels as we enter Namche IMG_2618 Hiking in the shadow of Everest

 

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