Stop the Presses! Everest Visible from Kathmandu

From a smog-free Kathmandu, Everest looms almost 200km away. Photo: Abhushan Gautam

Anyone who has visited teeming Kathmandu knows that air quality is not among the city’s many charms. With 2.5 million people and seemingly almost as many cars, Kathmandu typically rests beneath a blanket of smog. But just over a week ago, a strange sight appeared in the distance: Mount Everest. Most residents had never seen it before.

Credit COVID-19. With factories shut and few driving to work, Kathmandu was not only quieter, its air was almost pre-industrial — hence the view of Everest, looming almost 200km away.

According to one study cited by the Nepali Times, cars belch up to 70 percent of all particles in Kathmandu’s air. The graph below illustrates the rapid improvement in air quality after mid-April, leading to the remarkable view of Everest. The lower the horizontal line, the fewer particles in the air.

Alas for local Everest watchers, the brief lull in traffic has already ended, and haze has returned. Although the lockdown in Nepal is still in effect, more drivers are venturing out, as this recent video shows.

About the Author

Jerry Kobalenko

Jerry Kobalenko

Jerry Kobalenko is the editor of ExplorersWeb. Canada's premier arctic traveler, he is the author of The Horizontal Everest and Arctic Eden, and is currently working on a book about adventures in Labrador. In 2018, he was awarded the Polar Medal by the Governor General of Canada.

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9 Comments on "Stop the Presses! Everest Visible from Kathmandu"

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Actually this is not possible… it is a photoshop hoax hahaha! Everest is hidden behind many peaks of Rowling and Khumbu. It is hardly visible from the valleys surrounding it not to mention KTM 200 km away… try to see mount Assinibone from your front porch and see how far you will get 🙂


Has anyone even verified that it is Everest? 🤔

Damien François

It’s not. This view is to the NW, Everest lies to the EAST (slightly North)…

Damien François

I’m wrong, see below…

Damien François

This view is towards NW, the Ganesh-Manaslu ranges. In between KTM and the 7 hills surrounding “the “Nepal Valley” (some 40 km wide), to the EAST, there is the Bhaktapur plain. So, where is Bhaktapur and its surrounding plain on that pic? FAKE!
Just a year ago (right now I was asleep at the South Col after summiting in the morning), I could see 300 km away, from the top of Sagarmatha to as far as Manaslu! MAGNIFICENT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Damien François

I just checked with a photo I took myself from the rooftop of a hotel on Jyatta and which you can find in my book on the Holy Mountains of nepal (“Gauri Shankar from KTM”). I am really abashed… All peaks are the same! The ridge on the far left should thus be Gauri Shankar…
I am stunned! It must be the thin air of exactly one year ago, when I was sleeping at C4 on the South Col, after my summit… 😉
But, where is the Bhaktapur plain? Bottom right of the photograph?!?!?!?