Yak staring at the Himalayan mountains

by Dave from The Longest Way Home ~ August 23rd, 2012. Filed under: Photography.
Yak photograph of a Yak staring at a mountain in Nepal

A Yak staring at a mountain in Nepal

Photograph of a yak staring at the Himalayan mountain range

There’s something I really like about animals that are staring off at some object. It makes me wonder if they are thinking about something, or just staring. This picture of a Yak staring at a mountain from my Everest Base Camp trek is one such example. Though it’s not really a yak …

Facts about Yaks & Dzos:

  • This may look like a yak but it’s not, it’s a Dzo
  • A Dzo if half yak half domestic cow
  • A Dzo is male, while a female is Dzomo
  • Male Yaks are simply named Yaks, while females are called Dri
  • Yaks are normally only found over 4000m while Dzos are found at lower altitude
  • Yaks have adapted to high altitude and have very heavy coats
  • Dzos have lighter coats and survive better at lower altitudes
  • Both yaks and dzos are used extensively for moving food and materials over rough terrain in Nepal
  • Yak meat steak on treks is most likely not yak meat but dzo or buffalo
  • Yak skin is often used for roofing material due to its high fat content which keeps out water
  • Yak dung is frequently used as a wood alternative for fires and cooking equipment in the mountains

The story behind this picture of a yak / Dzo

I was on an acclimatization day on my winter Everest Base Camp trek at Namche Bazaar (3,500 meters / 11,482 feet). It meant taking an extra day to climb to a high altitude then go back to a lower one for the night. On this day I trekked up to Syanboche (3,750m / 12,303 ft).

There’s a great view of Mount Everest from Syanboche. It’s where there are some high-end resorts where the world’s rich and famous come to see Everest via helicopter. But what interested me more was a small herd of dzo grazing at the top of a hill.

The Dzo in this photo was taking a time out and staring away at a pair of mountains called Kangtega and Thamserku while all the others were paying no attention. It took quite a scramble to make it up to him and capture the photo before he moved.

During this scramble I had to avoid the odd rampant Dzo. Apparently Dzo and Yaks seem to enjoy bumping into me constantly in Nepal. The main Dzo moved briefly and showed a profile shot. It was nice, but I like this one of him staring off at the mountain that little bit more.

As I mentioned at the start I like photographs of animals which appear to show them in thought. Maybe this chap was thinking about why people keep calling him a yak and not a dzo? Or maybe he was simply staring off into nothingness?

What do you think? Should it become a part of my travel photography gallery Or just a personal photo?

Dzo - Yak looking at mountain

Dzo – Yak looking at mountain

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This is an additional photograph feature from my documenting the story behind the picture series.


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11 Great responses to Yak staring at the Himalayan mountains

  1. Jan says:

    Love the mountain backdrop. So crystal clear. Would make a lovely tapestry!

  2. Jen says:

    Beautiful photo Dave. Love the endless stare!

  3. Stuart says:

    I’m curious about the noise these Yak’s make? Do they sound like cows?

  4. Ivy says:

    he seems to really enjoy the mountains! Beautiful!

  5. BB Travels says:

    Never knew there was something called a dzo! You learn so much here.