the mountain region

The Mountain Region (Parbat in Nepali) is abruptly elevated thousands of meters into the zone of perpetual snow along the Main Central Thust fault zone. South of this fault system, “hills” do not greatly exceed treeline at about 3,500 meters. North of it the Himalayas rise as a virtual wall above the snowline at 5,000 to 5,500 meters to some 90 peaks over 7,000 meters (22,965′) and eight giants exceeding 8,000 meters (26,246′), including Mount Everest at 8,848 meters and Kanchenjunga at 8,598 meters.

Cutting between the various subranges of the Himalaya and north of them are alpine, often semi-arid valleys including Humla, Jumla, Mustang, Manang District and Khumbu that are lightly populated by people with Tibetan affinities called Bhotiya or Bhutia, the famous Sherpas in the Kumbu valley near Mount Everest. Bhote traditionally grazed yaks, grew cold-tolerant crops such as potatoes, barley and millet, and traded across the mountains, e.g. Tibetan salt for rice from lowlands in Nepal and India. Since the 1950s these mountain peoples have also found work as high altitude porters, guides, cooks and other accessories to tourism and alpinism.

Bhote language and culture extend north into Tibet proper, with the international border following the Himalayan crest in eastern Nepal. In central and western Nepal the border mostly follows lower (~6,000 meter) ranges tens of kilometers north of the highest peaks, the watershed between the Ganges and Brahmaputra river basins.