helicopter ride of a lifetime! I was selected to sit in the cockpit of a
Sikorsky Helicopter from Syangboche in the Solu Khumbu area of Nepal.
The experience was just as rewarding as trekking to Everest Base Camp,
the view was incredible, as well the
pilots who manoeuvred the huge machine through the mountains. The
airstrip is the closest airstrip to Mount Everest and Everest Base Camp.
However, it is not often used by those going to either (or any other
place significantly higher than Syangboche's 3780 meter elevation) as
this is generally not viewed as consistent with safe, reasonably paced
elevation acclimatization. Rather, typical users of this airstrip are
tourists who plan on visiting a nearby hotel (especially the Hotel
Everest View) and going no higher or those who plan only on going to
The airstrip is not licensed for commercial
operations and has few facilities. There are no scheduled services and
most aircraft landing and departing at Syangboche are helicopters and
STOL aircraft making chartered flights from Kathmandu or Lukla.
Helicopters do fly further, and higher, up to Everest Base Camp, but
only for picking up exhausted or injured mountaineers or dropping
critical supplies. Without altitude acclimatization,
Syangboche is the highest point it is advisable to reach by aircraft. It
is not uncommon for people visiting Syangboche to be out of breath, due
to the high altitude.