Helicopter Trip to Everest Base Camp – Story By Mr Alex From Canada

Helicopter Trip to Everest Base Camp

The helicopter Trip to Everest Base Camp is the best alternative for Himalayan enthusiasts who want to embrace the magical atmosphere beneath the pristine. This is the most astonishing experience where every moment is filled with the magic of the Himalayas. If you want to immerse in the true beauty of the Himalayas at the foothills of the mightiest peak on the planet, Mt. Everest (8,848.86 meters), things don’t get better than this. For this exciting aerial exploration, you don’t have to put in any physical effort, unlike the trek and mountaineering adventures. Also, it is just a one-day itinerary so you add this experience to your vacation without the need to worry about the limited timeframe.

I did this helicopter trip to Everest Base Camp with Everest Assitance, and it was one of the most joyous experiences of my life. The overall flight and private shuttle for a more immersive experience were just simply phenemenoal. In this blog, I am going to share my experience on this helicopter tour from beginning to end, so stick with me if you are looking forward to this most extraordinary experience in the Himalayas.

Planning the Trip

Everest Base Camp Helicopter Tour in July

Before planning the trip, there are several factors to be considered, and I took my time analyzing all the aspects of this trip so that it would guarantee an unforgettable journey. Here are the steps that were involved in the preparation part for this aerial adventure in the Himalayas.

Choosing the Right Period

If you haven’t done any helicopter tours previously, then it is important to understand the most suitable period for these aerial explorations. Generally, the months of spring (March to May) and autumn (Septemeber to November) are considered the most appropriate periods to enjoy this adventure without any disturbance. These seasons have the ideal period that makes the aerial journey feasible and comfortable.

Still, I am not trying to say that you cannot make a helicopter trip to Everest Base Camp in other seasons like monsoon (June, July, and August) and winter (December, January, and February). But you have to understand they are called off-seasons for a reason; during these periods, the weather is not that stable, which can risk the helicopter tours as the turbulence due to bad weather can make the flights unstable.

You will have to wait for the most appropriate climatic conditions for the flight to take off, which can take days in these off-seasons. So, if you cannot manage multiple contingency days in your vacation, it will be best to set out for this helicopter tour in either spring or autumn.

Booking the Helicopter Tour Service

Why Everest Base Camp Helicopter Tour in February

Although I am an avid traveler and have already explored some of the major trekking destinations across the world, this was my first time doing a mountain adventure in Nepal. I have done multiple tours in this Himalayan country with my friends and family, and the experience has always been outstanding. The warm and sweet natives, amazing culture and traditions, fascinating architecture, and glorious history, there is so much to learn and understand here in this beautiful country.

I always had a pleasant experience whenever I visited Nepal, although this time was different than other visits as I was heading out to the mountain, I was confident that it was going to be a treasured memory. So, I did some research on the agencies that operate the helicopter tours, and throug recommendations and elongated filtration, I finally found my ultimate partner for this aerial tour, Everest Assitance. The follow-up and communication were easy, and the booking procedure was simple, so I had high hopes for this aerial tour before it even began.

Although I was going to get briefed on the overall journey after reaching Kathmandu, the customer handling team provided me with details about the trip on the call as well. Besides the details and highlights, they also gave me insights into the overall climate conditions, what I could expect, and some helpful tips, which were really helpful during the preparation part.

Preparing for the Journey

This is nothing like a trek or mountaineering adventure, you don’t have to train yourself for weeks to take part in this aerial adventure. However, if you do some light training the little bit of hiking part will be much easier, and it will also help you with the acclimatization process. The majority part of your preparation should be keeping yourself warm and comfortable during the helicopter trip to Everest Base Camp. I also packed some healthy snacks and warm beverages in the thermos flask so that even if it was chilly, I could cope with it. You also need to bring a water bottle to keep yourself hydrated; it is quite significant as you will be landing at high altitude points in the Everest region.

The Journey Finally Begins

Everest Base Camp Heli Trek

I booked the helicopter trip to Everest Base Camp with Everest Assitance two days after my arrival at Kathmandu. I didn’t want to participate in this once-in-a-lifetime experience jet lagged. So, after landing around mid-day, I took a cab to my hotel and got some rest before heading out to stroll around the bright city in the evening. I took another whole day for sightseeing and took a refreshing break before joining the helicopter tour. As I was doing this epic Himalayan tour in mid-March, I was confident about the favorable weather. I visited the Everest Assistance office located in Thamel, where they greeted me and provided all the necessary details about the trip.

Then, after submitting copies of the documents, I continued with my sightseeing while Everest Assistance took care of the arrangements. I turned early for the night as the tour was starting early in the morning for the best views, and I wanted to get properly rested for a blissful time. I woke up at around 5:30 AM as the flight was going to take off at 6:30 AM to 7 AM; I got fresh and ate some light breakfast. Although your helicopter trip to Everest Base Camp will include breakfast, I suggest that you have a light breakfast before the flight so you don’t get hungry or nauseous during the tour.

At around 6:15 AM, a representative from Everest Assistance came to pick me up at the hotel where I was staying, and we went straight toward the designated take-off destination in Tribhuvan Airport. I met with the rest of the members joining the helicopter tour, the maximum number of travelers for the helicopter flight is just five so that everyone can admire the diverse landscape of the country from the window seat. After boarding the chartered flight, our pilot gave us a brief description of the tour, including safety regulations and precautions for our Everest helicopter flight.

We gradually hovered from the heart of Kathmandu at around 6:45 AM to touch the clear blue sky.

Making Touchdown at the Kalapatthar

After the helicopter took flight, we slowly flew over the vibrant settlements and popular landmarks heading toward the mountain. The bird-eye views of popular religious sites like Swayambunath Temple and Pashupatinath Temple were a visual treat. These religious sites were already swarming with devotees so early in the morning. After that, we headed out of the mountain bowl that housed the capital and flew over the Jiri and Nagarkot Hill, the popular hill stations heading toward the eastern side of the Himalayas.

In about 40 to 45 minutes of our take-off, we finally reached Lukla (2,800 meters/ 9,186 feet). The towing peaks that we could see from afar started getting more magnificent as we headed closer to them. After making a landing at the airport, which is considered the gateway for Everest, we got a little break to explore the vibrant Sherpa town while the helicopter was refuleing.

Flight to Pheriche (4,371 meters/ 14,340 meters) from Lukla

After our short break, about 0 to 15 minutes, we boarded back in our helicopter and continued with the second phase of this aerial exploration. We flew from Lukla to Pheriche, which is a majorly popular resting destination for trekkers and mountaineers in the Everest region. This high-altitude Sherpa village is also the rest stop for the helicopter trip to Everest Base Camp before heading toward the mountain. During this phase, we flew over the major highlights of the Everest Base Camp Trek route, like Phakding (2,610 meters/ 8,562 feet), Namche Bazaar (3,440 meters/ 11,286 feet), Tengboche (3,860 meters/ 12,664 feet) and Pangboche (3,900 meters/ 12,795 feet).

It is not possible for the helicopter to carry all five passengers for the high-altitude flight at the base of the mountain. So, from Pheriche, a maximum number of three people will take the flight; this way, everyone will be able to enjoy the panoramic aerial views of the Himalayas from the window seat, and it is much safer, too. The helicopter flew over the bright tents at the Everest Base Camp and toward Kalapatthar (5,644 meters/ 18,517 feet). The views of Everest, Lhotse, Lobuche, Cho Oyu, Ama Dablam, Tawache, Mera Peak, Island Peak, Cholatse, and many more were just surreal from above. We also made a quick touchdown at the Kalapatthar, the highest viewpoint in the entire valley.

Considering the high altitude risks, we took our time to embrace the serenity of the Himalayas for about 10 to 15 minutes before heading back to the helicopter for a flight back to Pheriche.

Pheriche to Everest View Hotel (3,962 meters/ 13,000 feet)

After our team was done with the round-trip, with fond memories of the magical experience, our helicopter then headed toward Everest View Hotel. This is the highest-placed hotel on earth and is also a popular viewpoint for trekkers who don’t want to push themselves all the way to the Everest Base Camp (5,364 meters/ 17,598 feet). The journey to this charming high-altitude hotel took about 5 to 7 minutes, and we took about a half-hour break here. Enjoying the warm, delicious breakfast surrounded by the dazzling peaks it was like sneaking into the fairy enchanted world for a brief.

Flight Down to Lukla, Then to Kathmandu

It was time to head down to Lukla after enjoying the magical moments at the high-altitude hotel. This flight back to the starting tour of the helicopter tour in the Everest region will take approximately 15 minutes. We flew over the same popular highlights of the trekking route to return to beautiful Sherpa town. After the landing, we took another short break while our helicopter was refueling before making the return trip back to Kathmandu.

The return flight was also a magical experience; hovering at the home base of the tallest peak on the mountain, we slowly spanned to the lush valleys. We could see the lush fields, thick forest, colorful settlements, and soaring rivers as we headed toward the capital surrounded by hills.

Note: In the general helicopter trip to Everest Base Camp, there isn’t a landing option available. You will just have a flyover from Pheriche to Everest Base Camp and Kalapatthar in a 3-person shuttle (15 to 20 minutes duration).

Gain Insights on:

Challenges and Considerations for Helicopter Trip to Everest Base Camp

Discover the Everest Base Camp by Helicopter
Discover the Everest Base Camp by Helicopter

The helicopter trip to Everest Base Camp is a short and exciting Himalayan adventure. Although there aren’t that many challenges in this trip as you are flying in the helicopter for the most part, there are a few things that you should consider for this helicopter tour. I personally felt these two so it will be wise to be a little prepared for these factors.

Altitude Sickness

What most travelers fail to understand is that even if this is a single-day tour, you will reach a significant altitude. Trekkers and mountaineers who take this route generally take two acclimatization days before heading all the way toward the base of Mt. Everest. The acclimatization break takes place at two strategic destinations: Namche Bazaar (3,440 meters/ 11,286 feet) and Dingboche (4,400 meters/ 14,435 feet). The trekking pace on this route is also slow in order to keep the risk of altitude sickness at bay.

Although you will spend the majority of part in this aerial Himalayan exploration inside the helicopter, landing at Pheriche (4,371 meters/ 14,340 meters) and Kalapatthar (5,644 meters/ 18,517 feet) (if included in your tour) can be a little challenging as you will be exposed to the high altitude atmosphere with low oxygen level.

Packing Right Layers

I did the helicopter trip to Everest Base Camp in mid-March, the weather was stable and warm in Kathmandu. Although I had an idea about the chilly temperatures in the alpine altitude (4,000 meters above), thanks to my research, the other companions on the trip had taken it as a leisurely trip. It’s especially chilly while making the landing at the Kalapatthar as you will be literally standing at the base of the mountains. So, be mindful that light layers won’t absolutely cut it, even if it is okay to wear light layers at the lower region for Pheriche and above; bring insulated layers and warm footwear and headwear.

Our flight captain told us that during the winter season, the entire area near and above Pheiche is covered in snow. He happened to have led a few helicopter tours during the winter season as well. So, just because it is a one-day adventure, don’t miss out on the important part: you will be heading to the base of the alpine mountains. If you are doing this aerial adventure in any other season besides autumn and spring, I would suggest you research the temperatures and prepare accordingly.

Note: If your helicopter trip includes landing, you should get sturdy shoes with good traction. You can also use the trekking boots with microspikes, you can rent one if you don’t have it.

Weather Conditions

This is one of the less talked things about when it comes to adventures in the high-altitude Himlayas. Even if we have a general outline of the weather conditions in different seasons throughout the year, the same is not applicable when it comes to high-altitude regions like the Himalayas; they have climatic zones of their own. So, even a nice and sunny day can suddenly get dark and cloudy. Although there is a very low possibility of weather conditions getting adverse during the high seasons like spring and autumn, it cannot be said the same about the off-seasons like winter and monsoon.

These off-seasons have a higher probability of weather instability, even at higher altitudes. Our pilot told us that such sudden changes in weather can affect the maneuverability of the helicopter. So, the travelers can either wait for the weather to clear up or postpone the flight, considering the safety factors. Thus, it will be a pleasant experience if you set your helicopter trip to Everest Base Camp during any appropriate period of the high season.

Reflecting About the Experience

The helicopter trip to Everest Base Camp was overall an incredible experience that certainly can be considered a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Flying over the diverse landscape of the country and reaching the pinnacle point of the planet is something of an otherworldly experience. If you want to enjoy a hassle-free adventure to embrace the mystical vibrance of the Himalayas, this one-day helicopter tour is the most ideal choice. I really enjoyed this helicopter, and this certainly will be one of the fondest memories of my life. The landing part on Kalapatthar was even more extraordinary as we got to touch and feel the Himalayan vibrance at the foothills of the mightiest peaks.

This helicopter flight is the best way to take part in the iconic exploration of the Himalayan range that houses the tallest peak on the planet. Everest is the ultimate goal of every mountaineer out there, and for those who don’t want to take on the risky and strenuous climb, Everest Base Camp Trek is the next best alternative. However, even the base camp trek takes about two weeks, and you will have to navigate your way across remote-steep sections on the mountain. So, the Everest Base Camp Trek also may not be everyone’s cup of tea.

If you really want to enjoy an incredible, seamless aerial tour that doesn’t have any physical the helicopter trip to Everest Base Camp is an opportunity that you shouldn’t miss.

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