Machhapuchhare (Fish Tail), at 22,943 ft., which stands in the center of the photo above, is an iconic mountain, which has never been climbed, as it’s considered sacred to Shiva. Climbers have approached the summit, but have always stopped out of respect for Shiva and his followers.
Machhapuchhare’s distinctive fish tail shape would make it special anywhere. It’s also amazingly tall. Nothing in North America comes close to its height.
For example, the tallest mountain in Mexico is Pico de Orizaba (Citlaltépetl) in the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt. At 18,406 ft. it’s 4,533 ft. below Machupuchare. Mount Logan in the Saint Elias Range is the tallest mountain in Canada, at 19,541 ft. Denali in the Alaska Range, the tallest in the US at 20,310 ft, is still 2,633 ft. less. The tallest mountain in the contiguous US, Mount Whitney, barely deserves comparison, at 14,505 ft.
You begin to understand the mountainous nature of Nepal when you learn that Machupuchare, which stands tall above every mountain in North America, is far from the highest even among its nearby neighbors.
Three of the ten highest mountains in the world—Dhaulagiri at 26,795 ft., Annapurna at 26,545 ft., and Manaslu at 26,781 ft., are visible from the Pokhara Valley, and all within 35 miles. All three can often be seen from the World Peace Stupa, but it was cloudy on the day we climbed up to that. See what we missed.