Nepal Minute - out of the ordinary

Science & Technology

The peak of Mount Everest has been captured numerous times but not from the sky directly above the highest mountain. Recently, a Chinese team of mountaineers and photographers have successfully done so – for the first time ever.

Flying a new model of drone called DJI Mavic 3, the group of Chinese mountaineers captured the rare video footage of the highest mountain on the fine and sunny morning of May 27, 2022. 

According to, the mountaineering team comprised photographers from 8KRAW – a Chinese photography company – who summited Mt. Everest the same day. Taking advantage of the fine weather condition, its members flew Mavic 3 – a drone made by popular civilian drone manufacturer DJI – over Everest to capture the video.

DJI mt. Everest Golden hour1661860016.jpg
Mt. Everest at a distance in golden hours captured by the team. Photo: DJI/YouTube

The team told the media that “the light weight of the drone made it possible to take to such a long and treacherous hike up to the peak”. And that offered them the rare chance to capture the whole new perspective through the professional-grade 4/3 CMOS Hasselblad camera that’s installed in Mavic 3.

After three months of jointly working with the DJI team, the video – “Flying over Everest” – was released on the DJI’s YouTube Channel on August 19.

Drone over 9,000m elevation

The team said that it achieved the first drone shooting action on the summit of Mount Everest at 8,848.86m.

Prior to that, the drone’s maximum service ceiling –the height up to which it can work – was believed to be 6,000 metres. And flying above the height, with strong cross winds and extreme temperature - as over Everest, is considered a big feat.

The video indicates that the drone managed to fly above 9,200 metres – 9,232.86 metres to be exact.

As the altitude increases, the atmosphere gets thinner, thus the blades of the drone need to spin faster drawing greater amounts of power from the battery to achieve the seemingly simple task of flying.

In simple words, that means generating enough thrust (upward force) by pushing a little amount of air downward is difficult.

Also, flying a drone gets much more difficult in the super cold temperature of Everest which reaches around -19 degrees Celsius in its warmest month of July.

DJI altitude1661860016.jpg
The drone logs 9232.86m in altitude. Photo: DJI/YouTube

The batteries have problems discharging power to the motors in such a cold environment, therefore limiting the power of the drone.

The peak being so high up in the atmosphere can have winds with speeds of over 160 kilometres per hour. So to remain stable, the drone has to fight strong crosswinds, with less amount of power on dispatch.

With that, DJI claims, the drone is made for flying in high altitudes. In the video description DJI writes: “This is Mount Everest. The highest point on Earth. A place where describing the weather as 'harsh' is an understatement.”

DJI on sight1661860018.jpg
The drone takes off from the Everest summit. Photo: DJI/YouTube

Wang Yuanzong, the chief director of the film and founder of 8KRAW, said: “As early as three years ago, we began to try aerial photography of Mount Everest. It was the team’s long-cherished wish to fly a drone at the top and complete the leap shooting.

“I am very grateful to Mount Everest for accepting us and allowing us to see it from a new perspective.”

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