Eurocopter has released a gallery showing the landing of its Ecureuil/AStar AS 350 B3 helicopter piloted by Didier Delsalle on Mount Everest on May 14 and May 15.
The “money shot” of the actual landing ain’t too sexy — the landing gear sort of quivering in the snow. It’s shot by in the onboard video cameras but it is convincing. However there is some debate about whether it hovered at ground level rather than putting its full weight on the summit. Some folks at the climbing forum Rockfax go as far as to question whether it’s a fake.
This of course gives rise to the question — if you driven or flown to the summit but not actually gotten out have you actually visited it?
Needless to say backcountry groups have lit up with this. The County Highpointers had about as spirited debate as I’ve ever seen there — focusing on whether it counts if you fly or drive to a summit (consensus now seems to follow the Highpointers methodology — all that matters is that you got to the top, it doesn’t matter how).