Episode 39- Antoine Laurens and a Lifetime of Life Lessons

Antoine Laurens began flying in 1992 when he was just seventeen years old. He’s lived a life of adventure and flying has been a way of life for the last two and half decades. One of the world’s great vol-biv pilots Antoine crossed over a 1,000 km route of the Himalayas (the film trailer of the “Himalayan Odyssey” can be seen here) and was part of the small team I joined in 2012 when we flew from the south end of the Sierra range to the Oregon border. Antoine has done some of the longest, most wild vol-biv trips that have ever been accomplished.

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Episode 36- Nick Neynens and the art of Vol Biv

“If the conditions are too gnarly, don’t land, climb and get to better air!” Thoughts like this from Nick Neynens are what allowed him to finish the 2015 Red Bull X-Alps in 10th place. Nick has an untraditional approach and it works- he’s flown vol-biv all over the world and has competed in the X-Pyr and X-Berg as well. In this episode we learn more about his untraditional approach and talk about risk justification, progression, meteorology, and using sandals in the hardest race on Earth. A special episode with a special pilot.

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Pounding gear- A look at what we carried in Alaska

The Alaska Traverse took 37 days to complete. Bashing for days through dense alders, slipping on talus and hurtling down glaciers, and living in the dirt for nearly 800 kilometers put our gear through the test. Here’s what worked, what didn’t, and where we went wrong.

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The Alaska Traverse is ON!

Dave Turner and I are ready to go on the planned traverse of the entire Alaska Range by paraglider (and probably some walking!). With only two roads dissecting the entire range and not a single village the whole way, we’ll be covering just shy of 500 miles of one of the more remote and inhospitable places on Earth totally unsupported. You can follow along, thanks to our Delorme InReach trackers!

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Bivvy Flying- What’s on your back?

This post is a follow up to an earlier gear post I wrote about the kit Will Gadd and I carried on the Rockies Traverse, “the things we carried” and hopefully answers many questions I’ve been getting about what’s critical and what’s not. I actually haven’t changed much but it has been refined and I’ve been able to cut more than 10 pounds of weight which is considerable.

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Surfing the Sierras in Sidetracked Magazine

I’m really digging Sidetracked Magazine, an image-heavy publication dedicated to adventure. True Adventure. Our vol-biv expedition up the Sierra range in 2012 was certainly the epitome of epic. We began with 6 people and 18 days later at the Oregon border we ended with 3. All of it was shot by Jody MacDonald. It was my first experience with vol biv and frankly I was scared shitless to do a trip with so many legends. Here is our story.

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The things we carried

Will Gadd and I just completed what we believe to be the longest connected track log that has ever been flown. About 650 kilometers across the Canadian Rockies to the US border. One rule: all forward progress was made in the air. Most of the line had never been flown. All up it took us 35 days to complete, with two long bouts of bad weather that shut us down completely for more than a week at a time. A great deal of media will be out shortly documenting the journey, that is not what this essay is all about. I’m still too frazzled, thrilled, shocked, and exhausted to put into words what the expedition meant. I haven’t even begun to look back and process the risks, the rewards, and ultimately what comes down to a lesson in humility.

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