For a 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 adventures trek, there are mountain flights to stimulate the experience.
The one hour flight takes you within camera range of some of the highest peaks in the world and cruising 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 on your horizon in the majestic Gosaithan, standing 8,013m tall. To its right, appears Dorje Lhakpa (6,966m), looking like a massive figure of 8, lying prone and covered in snow. To its right is Phurbi Chayachu, which looms over the Kathmandu Valley.
Next on your vision is Choba Bhamare, rather 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 forward 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 as breast, and is believed to be the maternal source in the sky providing pure milk to the sherpas of Solukhumbu. Then, karyolung, a gleaming 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 ot the 7,952 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 sagarmatha by the Nepalese and Chomolungma by the Tibetans. It is an altogether different experience as one comes face to face with the world’s tallest and most enigmatic of mountains.
Mountain flights are offered by a host of airlines. Buddha Air offers several flights a day, the others being Gorkha Air, Necon Air, Mountain Air, Yeti Airlines, Cosmic Air and Royal Nepal Airlines. All the flights leave Kathmandu between 7.00 and 9.30 am. Buddha Air flies 19 seater American Beech 1900D aircraft. Gorkha Airlines and Cosmic Air operate 18 seater German Dornier 228s. Mountain Air flies 1900C beeech aircraft, RNAC operates 44 seater Avros and 19 seater Twin otters, while Necon Air has 44 seater Avros and ATR-42s. Please check timings with local operators.
Helicopters and Aircraft are also available for charter use, especially for group treks and expeditions. STOL (Short take off and landing) airstrips are located throughout the country.