HIMALAYA HELICOPTER EXPEDITION
Designed and Led by Dr. Jack Wheeler
2 dates: November 3-10, 2018 or November 10-17, 2018
Kathmandu, Nepal to Kathmandu, Nepal
All photos taken by Jack Wheeler
Jack Wheeler’s Himalaya Helicopter Expeditions in 2016 and 2017 have been so successful that we are offering it again:
There should be no doubt whatever:
This is one of the greatest adventures available on earth today.
Mountaineers call the highest mountains in the world achttausenders, German for “eight-thousanders,” mountains over 8,000 meters (26,247 feet) high.
There are 14 of them on the Roof of the World (nowhere else) and they are the most magnificent mountains on earth.
To be in the presence of any one of them is a life-memorable experience.
As you can see in the map, the majority of 8,000ers are in the Himalayas of Nepal – 8 in all.
To trek to the base camp of any of these 8 – Everest, Lhotse, Cho Oyu, Makalu, Kanchenjunga, Manaslu, Annapurna, and Dhaulagiri – is a major undertaking of extreme physical effort, time, and money.
Each are ultimates of Himalayan trekking.
On the left you see Jack Wheeler at K2 in Pakistan.
Until now, to reach any one 8000er, you had to trek for many days, over extremely rough mountainous terrain at very high altitude. You had to in exceptional physical condition to do so.
Which is why almost no one, even the most ambitious trekker, has ever been to all of them.
Our Eurocopter landing at Khumbu Ice Fall Mount Everest Base Camp at 17,500 feet
On our journey, with the sky is sparkling clear and conditions for fabulous photography are pristine, in just one week, Jack will take you to the base camps of all eight 8,000 meter peaks in Nepal by helicopter, piloted by the most experienced mountain rescue pilots in the world.
And that’s not all.
Last September, Jack led a four-wheel drive expedition to The Lost Kingdom of Lo in Nepal’s remote region of Mustang. Now Jack has secured a rarely-given permit to reach the Kingdom of Lo and its capital of Lo Manthang by helicopter. Here is the last remaining true traditional Tibetan culture on earth. It is normally a trek of two weeks to get there.
This a completely unique ultimate world class adventure.
To be a part of it, please call or email us immediately to discuss.
Expedition members must be of unfailing good cheer, a boundless gratitude for being alive, a determination to fill their life with extraordinary experiences, and in normal good health.
Arrive in Kathmandu, Nepal. Transfer to Nepal’s most famous luxury hotel, The Yak & Yeti. Day at leisure.
Late afternoon, thorough gear check.
In the evening, we have our Welcome Reception & Dinner, and full briefing by Dr. Wheeler.
Note: All expedition members are required to arrive in Kathmandu by this day for we depart the next. Kathmandu is at a moderate altitude of 4,600ft. You may wish to arrive earlier but there is usually no difficulty for anyone in normal health at this altitude.
This morning we board our helicopters for the flight to the Everest region. We have three high-altitude turbocharged helicopters such as the Eurocopter AS 350 B3 that test pilot Didier Delsalle of France flew to the top of Mount Everest in 2005.
These are mountain rescue helicopters flown by pilots skilled at rescuing climbers and trekkers in need of medical evacuation from the highest mountains on the planet. Each helicopter holds 4 of us plus a Sherpa guide. There will be supplemental oxygen for everyone on board. We’ll be safe and in good hands.
It will take about 45 minutes to reach the airstrip at Lukla, the launching point for treks to Everest and the Khumbu region. After a cup of coffee and refueling, we follow the Dhudh Kosi River straight into the heart of the Himalayas to its source at the foot of the huge Ngozumpa glacier. As we approach, we get our first sight of Cho Oyo (the Turquoise Goddess in Tibetan), the 6th highest mountain in the world at 8,201 meters/26,906 ft.
The Ngozumpa is the longest (22 miles) glacier in the entire Himalayas. Along its side are a series of glacial melt lakes called the Gokyo Lakes, considered sacred by Hindus where pilgrims come to bathe. The views are stupendous when we reach the farthest lake, we have an amazing sight.
We are at the Cho Oyo Base Camp with the Turquoise Goddess towering above us:
Cho Oyu, 6th highest mountain in the world at 8,201 meters/26,906 ft
Nearby is a fortuitous promontory called Scoundrel’s View. Looking across the glacier through a gap in the mountains we see Everest herself in all her glory:
Everest was named after Sir George Everest (1790-1866), Britain’s Royal Surveyor of India. Tibetans call it Chomolungma, the Mother Goddess of the Snows, while Sherpas of Nepal call it Sagarmatha, Mother of the Universe.
From Scoundrel’s View at Cho Oyu, we fly over a 19,000 foot pass called Cho La to Everest Base Camp (EBC) at the base of the Khumbu Ice Fall.
Now for an irony. On the trek to Everest all the way to the Base Camp, you never see Everest – other mountains block the view.
The mountain you see behind the helicopter in the first photo above is the West Shoulder of Everest – Everest itself is hidden. But our helicopters, upon leaving EBC, rise up to give us a view of Everest no one ever sees – unless you’re in a helicopter:
The West Shoulder is on the left, behind is the entire Everest Southwest Face.
In the center is Lhotse (“South Peak” in Tibetan).
In the middle is the climbers’ route of the Western Cwm above the Khumbu Ice Fall.
Thus Everest Base Camp (EBC) is also the base camp for Lhotse. No trekker ever sees the Western Cwm, Everest Lhotse, 4th highest mountain in the world at 8,516 meters/27,940 ftand Lhotse – you only get this view from a helicopter. Here’s the view of Lhotse you’ll get close up:
Returning to Lukla, we land at the famous Tibetan Buddhist Tengboche Monastery.
We’ll have time for a visit and a cup of yak butter tea with the Nyingmapa (Red Hat) lamas.
That’s Ama Dablam on the right, the Lhotse-Nupse Wall on the left. You can see the tip of the Mount Everest summit peeking above and beyond the Wall.
Back in Lukla, we spend the night at the Everest Summit Lodge (9,300 ft).
We’ll stop in Lukla’s Irish Pub to celebrate our extraordinary day with a pint of Guinness or a wee dram of Bushmill’s.
It would have take well over a month to trek all of this – and we’ve just done it in nine hours!
The approach to the world’s 5th highest mountain, Makalu (“The Great Black” from Sanskrit as the abode of the Black God, Shiva) –– is lengthy and circuitous. But worth it – for it’s via what’s called the Valley of Eternity. We proceed up the valley getting narrower and higher until we reach the tongue of the Barun Glacier directly below the gigantic South Face of Makalu: Makalu Base Camp at just under 16,000 ft.
Makalu, 5th highest mountain in the world at 8,485 meters/27,838 ft
On the other side of the ridge line is Chinese Tibet. You’ll be celebrating just like we did last trip:
We memorialize this with our photos, and return to the Valley of Eternity for a sumptuous picnic lunch.
Then we head east to the 3rd highest mountain in the world.
Kanchenjunga means “Five Treasures of Snow” in Tibetan for its five main peaks. Lying in the far northeast corner of Nepal, the entire massif of Kanchenjunga Himal has 16 peaks over 23,000 feet and 170 glaciers.
Kanchenjunga, 3rd highest mountain in the world, 8,586 meters/28,169 ft
What you’re looking at would cause any world-class mountaineer’s jaw to drop. In the center is Kanchenjunga, the 3rd highest mountain on earth at 8,586 meters/28,169 feet. It’s much more than that. What you are seeing is unique – the entire ridge line of the Kanchenjunga Massif is over 27,000 feet, with four 8,000-meter summits in a row.
What’s even more astounding is that no one has seen what you’re seeing before from this perspective – from a helicopter 23,000 feet high. Helicopters don’t fly remotely close to that height – except that our new specialized high-altitude Eurocopters can. Kanchenjunga, even though it is the 3rd highest mountain in the world, is the remotest, least known, least climbed yet arguably the most spectacular of the Himalayan 8000ers. Now it is a part of our lives.
We return Kathmandu to celebrate and get a good night’s sleep at the Yak & Yeti.
We lift off into the morning light and fly north to Manaslu (Mountain of the Spirit in Sanskrit). We first get a view from our
helicopter flying at 19,000 feet – Manaslu – 8th highest mountain on earth at 8,163 meters/27,819 ft
Then of the summit peak coming in to the base camp – After a visit at the Tibetan village of Sama, we fly down a spectacular gorge to overfly the famous Annapurna Circuit trekking route.
We peel off at Manang to marvel at the ethereal blue of Lake Tilicho Gust north of Tilicho Peak on the map), the world ‘s highest lake at 16,138 feet.
From here we enter the Kali Gandaki Gorge (the world ‘s deepest), following it all the way up into the region of Mustang.
Next to the border of Chinese Tibet lies the Hidden Kingdom of Lo. The people of Lo are Tibetans who retain the last vestiges of traditional Tibetan life on earth, unchanged for centuries.
Closed to all foreigners until recently, it takes trekkers two weeks to get there and back, walking on yak trails at 12,000 feet or higher. We have been given an exclusive permit to fly our helicopters to the capital of Lo, the Walled City of Lo Manthang.
Founded in 1380 by the first King of Lo, Amne Pal, Lo Manthang is a UN World Heritage Site as the best preserved medieval walled city in the world. Many of its still-standing structures date from the late 1300s-early 1400s, including the King’s Palace and Jhampa and Thupchen Gompas.
Day 4 (continued)
This afternoon, explore the Kingdom of Lo by jeep. We visit the stunning Nyphu Cave Gompa built into the side of a soaring cliff…
From there, we visit the remotest village in the Kingdom of Lo, Chosar, with the Jhong Sky Caves. It’s a network of over 40 rooms where ancient Tibetans lived thousands of years ago. We can easily climb up within to explore them.
We explore the ancient city and visit all its ancient temples such as Thupchen Gompa – Then we’ll relax at the comfortable Lotus Holiday Inn hotel.
(No connection with the US hotel chain, this is owned by the royal family.)
We’re up early to visit a Drokpa Tibetan nomad encampment, where they’ll welcome us inside their tents for a cup of yak butter tea.
We then board our helicopters and are off to Dhaulagiri (Dazzling White Girl in Sanskrit). We get our first view as we depart Mustang.
Today we are off to Dhaulagiri (Dazzling White Girl in Sanskrit). We get our first view as we depart Mustang.
Dhaulagiri North and East Face, 7tti highest mountain in the world at 8,167rneters/26,788 ft
We tum right here to traverse the French Pass to land at theDhaulagiri Base Camp below the West Face:
Again, as always, we want to take time notjust for photosbut to meet and talk with climbers and their guides, the extraordinary people capable of sunmiting the great peaks of the world.
We have seen Dhaulagiri’s East, North and West Faces. Now we fly close past the South Face for one of the most magnificent sights in the Himalayas.
Dhaulagiri South Face, 7th highest mountain in the world at 8,167 meters/26,788 ft
We have one more 8,000er to go: Annapurna.
The legendary trek in all the Himalayas is to the Annapurna Sanctuary, a 13,000 foot-high basin surrounded by a gigantic cirque of Himalayan peaks.
No foreigners were allowed entry by the native Gurung yak herders until the mid-1950s, as they believe it is the home of their Naga serpent gods.
And suddenly, there we are, in the heart of the Sanctuary with Annapurna I looming in front of us…
We’re going to spend a while and won’t want to leave. The choppers will fly us around the cirque with enough photo ops to use up several memory cards.
We now make our way to Nepal’s second largest city and capital of the Gurkhas, Pokhara. We check in to the Waterfront Resort on the lake. Time to relax and have fun.
Pokhara is captivating, fascinating, beautiful – and the adventure sports capital of Nepal.
There is so much to do. You can take a jeep tour, go paragliding, hike, and many other options. Or, you may want to just relax and recharge by the lake.
The goal is to enjoy yourself as much as you can. This is your day to do it.
This morning, we fly back to Kathmandu and the Yak & Yeti.
Today, on our private tour we’ll visit the city’s colorful sites and amazing temples. This is the time that you can also shop to your heart’s content for special gifts to bring home.
Tonight, we celebrate our amazing adventure with a sumptuous Farewell Dinner.
Then we’ll retire to the bar to plan our next adventure.
HIMALAYA HELICOPTER EXPEDITION DETAILS
Dates: Saturday to Saturday: November 3-10, 2018 or November 10-17, 2018
Cost per person: $22,500
Deposit, Payment, Cancellation and Refund: Deposit of 50% (US$11,250) is due upon acceptance of application for participation. Balance due 90 days prior to departure. Refund of deposit and balance in full on the condition of a fully-paid acceptable replacement for you. Important Note: When applying for participation, you must affirm that you are in sufficient good health to be at altitudes of around 12,000 feet overnight.
Cost includes: Personal portable oxygen cylinder. All helicopter flights, all domestic flights, all ground transportation, transfers, government fees/permits, and activities as specified in the itinerary with local English-speaking medically-trained guides. All meals (breakfast/lunch/dinner including properly boiled water, tea, coffee) with group from dinner Saturday to breakfast Saturday (see dates above). All accommodation from Saturday night through the following Friday night. No single supplement surcharge.
Cost does not include: International airfare to/from Nepal or visa fees (US$25 airport on arrival). Meals, services, and activities not with group or in itinerary; personal expenditures, such as laundry, communications, alcohol, gratuities, etc.
Important caveat: Every effort will be made to adhere to the itinerary above. Due to the vagaries of travel in this region and of adventure travel in general, the itinerary may be altered in any way necessary. Participants are expected to accept this, and to maintain a cheerful attitude on an adventure such as this.
Only 12 adventurers can join Jack on the Himalaya Helicopter Expedition.
To be one of them, please contact us immediately. Life is short -the time for a Great Advent ure is now.
Phone: +351 21 781 7470
You can be with us at Annapurna -and every other Himalayan giant. Contact us to discuss.
Jack Wheeler has traveled to every country in the world …join him in the Himalayas.
About Jack Wheeler
Dr. Jack Wheeler, has been called the “real Indiana Jones” by the Wall St. Journal. He has traveled to every single country in the world recognized by the U.N (193) plus four others. He designs extraordinary expeditions that Wheeler Expeditions conducts to remote destinations around the planet.
His adventures began early. The youngest Eagle Scout in history at age 12, he climbed the Matterhorn at age 14, swam the Hellespont (LIFE Magazine 12/12/60) and lived with Amazon headhunters at 16, hunted a man-eating tiger in Vietnam at 17, and started an export business in Vietnam at 19. He wrote The Adventurer’s Guide (New York: Mackay, 1975), described by Merv Griffin as “the definitive book for anyone wishing to lead a more adventurous and exciting life.” He has three “first contacts” with tribes never before contacted by the outside world: a clan of Aushiri in the Amazon, the Wali-ali-fo in New Guinea, and a band of Bushmen in the Kalahari. He retraced Hannibal’s route over the Alps with elephants; led numerous expeditions in Central Asia, China, Tibet, Africa, the Amazon and elsewhere, including 21 expeditions to the North Pole; and has been listed in The Guinness Book of World Records for the first free fall sky-dive in history at the North Pole. His company has conducted exclusive expeditions to dozens of countries across the globe for over 35 years.
Dr. Wheeler has had two parallel careers: one in adventure and exploration with Wheeler Expeditions; the other in the field of geopolitics after receiving his Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Southern California, where he lectured on Aristotelian ethics.
On a personal note, he married Ms. Rebel Holiday in St Tropez, France in 1986. They are the proud parents of two adult sons, Brandon Holiday Wheeler and Jackson Holiday Wheeler, both world travelers and big thinkers. They are also very proud of their creative and adventurous daughter-in-law, Raya, married to Jackson!