Backwards Bucket List: Flying by the Top of the World!

24 Apr

Mt. Everest by planeI’ve wanted to see this place for a very long time. And since it can be difficult getting there, I didn’t know if we’d be able to, especially with children in tow. But, we did! Last week, we took a flight and got to see the top of the world…

Mt. Everest!

Mt. Everest from plane

The one with the big cloud is Everest. That's one big mama mountain!

I first started obsessing over Mt. Everest when I accidently stumbled upon Jon Krakauer’s book, Into Thin Air. Devouring it without stopping, I’ve been hooked ever since, reading everything I could about the tallest mountain in the world. Sitting at 29,035 ft., this peak has a checkered past, from soaring victories to deadly defeats. And while I don’t have a desire to climb it. (Pooping out in the open with high winds and sub-arctic temperatures isn’t my idea of fun!) I did want to see it.

Here’s how we did it.

Last week, we flew into Kathmandu, Nepal and my husband found several airlines that offer “Mountain Flights”. These 45 minute plane rides fly along the ridge of the Himalayas to Mt. Everest. After reaching Everest, the plane returns to Kathmandu. Space is limited since the airlines only sell window seats, and we almost didn’t get to go since we didn’t make a reservation in advance. But we got lucky when three people cancelled, giving us enough seats.

Feisty Spice sitting happily in her seat

For $176 per person, we boarded the plane around 6:40 a.m. We didn't have to pay for Feisty Spice and since only the window seats were occupied, she still got her own seat.

The quest to see Everest has caused quite a few deaths, and even the Mountain Flights aren’t without their own tragedies. Last September, an airplane crashed killing everyone on board. After that, the airlines operating these flights are very cautious, cancelling flights immediately for high winds or bad weather. As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, thoughts of plane crashes occupy way too much of my time, so I was a little anxious thinking about the problems we could have, but in the end, it was really amazing.

Mt. Everest from plane

Everest has already claimed two lives this year. Both who died were Sherpas. On April 19th, Karsang Namgyal, an expert Sherpa guide died at base camp of altitude sickness. He had summited Everest 10 times showing that it doesn't matter how many times you've climbed this peak, it can still claim your life.

Mountaineers climb during the months of April and May. It takes about a month just to acclimate to the altitude at lower elevations, so an attempt to summit Everest will take you a couple of months and set you back at least $50,000-$60,000! A less expensive option is to take a helicopter ride to base camp. For $5000 per person, you can fly to base camp and eat lunch with the climbers on their way to the top. However, base camp sits at 17,380 ft. making the altitude and cost a little too steep for us.

Himalaya Mountain Range

We were flying above the clouds. But to me, it almost looks like we're flying over the ocean and the clouds are big waves.

The Red Eye Family after our Mt. Everest flight

After returning to Kathmandu, we received certificates from the flight attendant as a momento of our flight.

For anyone wishing to see Mt. Everest without the high cost, financially as well as physically, taking a Mountain Flight is the tops!

P.S. We got back from our two week vacation on Saturday. During this trip I added four countries to my list: Bahrain, Qatar, Nepal and India. Yea! In the coming weeks, I hope to tell you about a funeral we attended in Nepal and an interesting drive through India.

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8 Responses to “Backwards Bucket List: Flying by the Top of the World!”

  1. Jenna April 24, 2012 at 8:52 am #

    Did Mr. Wanderlust ride along or was he working? What an amazing adventure. FS just looks so content in all the adventures. She is truly FEARLESS! Good luck with that…

    • redeyefamily April 25, 2012 at 4:42 pm #

      Eeek! Fearless is right! Actually, it’s funny that you mentioned Mr. Wanderlust, because we had a serious discussion about the air-worthiness of these planes, especially after the crash in Sept. He was a normal passenger, just like us. Whenever we get on one of these small planes, I ask him NOT to tell me how rickety the plane is….until we land safely!

  2. meredith April 24, 2012 at 8:57 am #

    Fabulous post! I can’t wait to hear more!

  3. Lisa April 25, 2012 at 10:47 am #

    What an amazing experience! I would also like to see Mt. Everest and this is the only way that I would consider doing it. Can’t wait to hear about the rest of your adventures!!

    • redeyefamily April 25, 2012 at 4:37 pm #

      Thanks Lisa. Even though we were so close in Kathmandu, I thought we weren’t going to be able to see it. I’m so glad it worked out. Next time, I’ll know to schedule in advance!

  4. LonelyTravelog April 30, 2012 at 12:56 am #

    Jon Krakauer Into Thin Air is among my favor book! You’re lucky to have the chance to fly along the mt everest.

    • redeyefamily April 30, 2012 at 3:36 pm #

      I really liked the book, too. I had no idea what was involved in climbing Everest, and he did a great job telling a story along with being informative about the climb. I highly recommend it!

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