khumbu ice fall

Last Light on Everest, by shanezanath

Everest is on the left and you can see the final light of the day ascending up its massive pyramid shaped summit to the highest point on the planet Earth 8,848m (29,029 ft.). Although the peak of Nupste 7,861m (25,791 ft.) on the right looks higher, it is closer in the foreground which gives this appearance from our view at Kala Patthar (notice there is no direct setting sunlight remaining on Nupste). That pinkish hue beginning to light the mountains is straight out of the camera. It’s an effect of light refraction through a very high layer of atmosphere which is known as the Alpenglow. You can see this effect shortly after sun down or before sunrise in high mountains around the world, but as it is directly related to altitude, the Himalayas are unmatched for its viewing. Although we were supposed to ascend Kala Patthar for sunrise, we were aware that the lighting conditions favored the sunset hitting Everest from this particular vantage point. Considering the mornings were crystal clear without a cloud in the sky, we knew this was quite a gamble as the afternoon clouds were engulfing the mountains and it had started to snow fairly hard as we left our way out of the settlement of Gorakshep. I was satisfied enough when the clouds revealed Nupste, but they continued to clear revealing both Everest and eventually the amazing but deadly Khumbu Icefall, which can be seen twisting its way out of the mountains on the left.