The world is getting smaller, or so it seems. Destinations once unattainable to the Everyman — iconic, impossibly remote destinations like Mount Everest, the South Pole, and Mariana Trench — are now within reach to those with enough money and will. Now, one company is offering a bucket-list-worthy helicopter highlight tour of some of the world’s most stunning mountains.
Wheeler Expeditions’ Himalaya Helicopter Expedition does exactly what it sounds like. It’s an exclusive, eight-day journey by chopper to some of the world’s tallest and most dramatic peaks. In total, the flight allows just eight well-heeled explorers to see first-hand all of Nepal’s “eight-thousanders” — that is, every peak that tops 8,000 meters (26,247 feet) tall. In addition to visiting Everest Base Camp, passengers score exclusive tours of Annapurna, Dhaulagiri, Kanchenjunga, Lhotse, Manaslu, Makalu, and Cho Oyu. Visiting all eight — among the highest peaks in the world — on foot would require months, if not years.
Other key stops include Scoundrel’s Viewpoint in Gokyo Valley and Mount Everest’s Western Cwm. In between peaks, expeditioners will also visit the neon blue waters of Lake Tilicho (the world’s highest lake), share yak butter tea with Tibetan monks in Tengboche, and visit Nepal’s rarely seen Kingdom of Lo. The journey is made possible via twin AS350 B3 helicopters which high altitude pilots typically rely on for extreme mountain rescues. Considering the insane altitude, ground time will be limited at each stop, and guests will be outfitted with bottled oxygen to stave off altitude sickness.
Lodging along the way is comfortable, especially compared to, say, camping on the side of Everest. But, this is hardly a “luxury” tour — it’s designed with hardcore, expedition-lovers in mind.
It’s a daring journey, so it’s only fitting that the best guides and rescue pilots in the world will be at the helm to lead the way. Wheeler Expeditions, the company behind the operation, was founded by Jack Wheeler. At age 14, he became the youngest person ever to summit the Matterhorn and he’s touched down in the North Pole a total of 21 times. There’s no denying he’s among the most adventurous men in the world. So, it’s appropriate that his own custom helicopter tour would be over-the-top in every way.
The price? (Frankly, if you have to ask …) USD $22,500 per person excluding international flights. But, the yak butter tea is included. So, there’s that.
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