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Nepal Himalayas

General Info
 ·  Solo Khumbu
      ·  Namche Bazar
      ·  Thyangboche
      ·  Pangboche
      ·  Kalapattar
      ·  Pheriche
    ·  Buddhism in Khumbu
    ·  People: Sherpas

 ·  Mount Everest
    ·  The Quest for Everest
    ·  Early Years
    ·  The 1950s
    ·  Sherpas on Everest

 ·  Central Nepal
    ·  Mustang
    ·  Jomsom
      ·  People: Thakalis
    ·  Muktinath
    ·  Manang valley
      ·  Bryagu village
      ·  Manang village
      ·  Nyasang Division

 ·  Western Nepal
    ·  Jumla
    ·  Sukhadik

Photo Feature:
 ·  Annapurna region

High Altitude Sickness

Endangered Species

Protected Areas


The Yeti Factor

The Himalayas - where earth meets sky
Nepal Himalayas

Yaks are the mammals that live at the highest altitudes in the world. They can climb up as high as 20,000 ft (around 6,100 m). Yaks tend to live at high altitudes because of their thick coat and vulnerability to diseases. In fact, yaks normally cannot live below 10,000 ft above sea level. The lungs of yaks are usually large in order to absorb more oxygen at higher altitudes. Yaks can weigh up to 1,200 pounds (550 kg).

Yaks. Credit: Mahabir Pun
Credit: Mahabir Pun

The Sherpas of Nepal generally call the males of the species "Yak" and the females "Nak", or "Dri". But for the outsider, the word Yak represents the entire species.

Yaks are among the most useful of Himalayan animals. Without them the famous Trans Himalayan trade between Nepal and Tibet would have been impossible. One yak can carry up to 220 lb (100 kg) of load, and walk over the dangerous trails and snow- covered high Himalayan passes. In addition to being beasts of burden, yaks are used to plough fields, provide meat, milk, butter, wool for clothing, and dung for fuel. Their bones are used to make various kinds of artifacts. The hair of the yak is used to make ropes, sacks, blankets, and tents. Nothing is wasted, in fact even the horns are used to adorn doorways and rooftops.

People in the remote mountains also use the fresh blood of a yak as medicine. They believe the blood can cure many diseases. Therefore, people come to the pastures twice a year to drink a live yak's fresh blood. They pay about $1 for one glassful of blood. In Tibetan mythology, yaks are represented as the messengers of the gods living in high places.

Yaks are crossbred with cows. The crossbred offspring is called dzo (male) and dzomo (female). They can live in lower altitude regions and are more tractable than the yaks.

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