Everest revealed from above in British balloonist’s breathtaking panoramic shot of world’s highest peaks


Mount Everest
Mount Everest

This awe-inspiring photograph captures the majesty of Mount Everest as you’ve never seen it before – from more than a mile above.

The spectacular panorama shows the breathtaking landscape of the Himalayas from six miles above sea level.

It was shot by an intrepid British photographer wearing breathing apparatus in -56C temperatures 36,000 feet up.

‘Best snap on Earth’: Everest dominates the picture, shot from 36,000ft and in -56C temperatures by Leo Dickinson on the world’s first-ever balloon flight over the highest mountain. The curvature of the planet is exaggerated by the wide-angle lens

The summit of Everest, the world’s highest peak at 29,035ft, takes centre stage above the 11,000ft vertical drop of the Kangshung Face, on the eastern side of the mountain.

British filmmaker and adventure cameraman Leo Dickinson took the photo from the stratosphere during his record-breaking balloon flight over Everest.

It is believed to be the highest panoramic picture taken by hand from a balloon, and has been described by the great mountaineer Reinhold Messner as the ‘best snap on earth’.

With Nepal on the left of the frame, and Tibet on the right, the stunning skyline westward shows nine of the planet’s highest summits.

These include Lhotse (27,940ft), Cho Oyu (26,906ft), Gyachung Kang (26,089 feet), Nuptse (25,850ft), Peak 38 (24, 904ft), Changtse (24,770ft), Shartse (24,471ft) and Ama Dablam (22,349ft).

The original photograph was shot in 1991 on the classic Kodachrome film – axed last month due to the rise of digital cameras. It was digitally remastered for the first time this week.

Leo Dickinson in his hot air balloon over the HimalayasUp, up and away: Leo Dickinson in his hot air balloon over the Himalayas shortly before he captured the landmark shot

Married Mr Dickinson, 62, soared to 36,000ft – where temperatures dropped to minus 56 degrees Celsius – to become the first person to fly over Everest in a balloon.

He took this picture using a hand-held 35mm camera with a wide-angle lens while standing in the balloon’s wicker cabin.

Mr Dickinson, of Budleigh Salterton, Devon, said: ‘This photograph is one of the finest I’ve taken, and I’m immensely proud of it.

‘It took several minutes to set up – I was in the stratosphere and carrying bulky breathing apparatus – and I wasn’t sure it would even come out.

‘So when it was developed, and it came out like this, you can imagine my delight. It’s a scene that I’ll remember for the rest of my life.’

Mr Dickinson’s Everest expedition took 10 years to plan, involved 150 porters and 50 yaks, and almost cost him his life.

His epic journey from the Nepalese capital of Kathmandu to Tibet was chronicled in an award-winning documentary Ballooning Over Everest.

• Everest From 36,000ft is available from Leo’s website, http://www.adventurearchive.com, priced £20.

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