Episode 174- Dreaming Big, Going Bigger in Pakistan with Aaron Durogati

Can you imagine???

Aaron Durogati is no stranger to thinking and doing big, but this time he pulled off what can only be described as outrageous. He and a few friends spent 40 days in the Himalaya in Pakistan to pursue mountaineering “combos”. They used their paragliders to take off from lower elevations, put their touring gear (ie skis) on in the air, stuff it in somewhere high, often above 5,000 meters and then ski and fly down. They spent many nights at altitude acclimatizing; they got stuck with heinous walks out on dangerous glaciers; Aaron had a frightening crash; he got so sick he thought he was going to die…and then he somehow managed to fly at 285 km FAI triangle across the biggest terrain in the world, and then two days later went even bigger and went 312 km! This is Aaron’s remarkable story. Hold on tight.

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Transcript

Speaker 2 (0s): Hi there everybody. Welcome to another episode of Cloudbase Mayhem. In some ways, this is kind of an emergency episode in case you were asleep at the wheel for the last 40 days, you may not have seen what went down in Pakistan recently. Sure. Most of you did, but Aaron Durogati went over there with a few friends and the purpose of the mission was to just have adventures and they were using their paragliders to get up into super high terrain in the Himalaya and then ski and Mountaineer ice climb and kind of a troll his.

So I was watching all this stuff go down on Instagram, went out to us nationals and boom, our next contest, we see that he has done a 285 K FAI triangle in the Himalaya by himself. Apparently the end of that was pretty scary, which I would hear about. And then the whole world went what? And then two days later, when even bigger, 312 K FAI triangles. So I ping them on WhatsApp and said, Mike, God, dude, what in the world just happened?

We've got to share your story. And he called me right afterwards from the Islamic bod airport four o'clock in the morning. And I had just landed at goal and in Chalan after really fun day of flying and he just had me in stitches. It was unbelievable. And so I said, man, we got to record this. So here you go. Here is Erin's journey. 40 days in the Himalaya biggest mountains in the world, having some proper adventures enjoy Erin.

You called me a couple of days ago from the Islamic bod airport. I was, I had just landed at goal and the, at the nationals and man, every, I hung up the phone and everybody's going, God, who was that? Man? You sounded really excited. You know, I, what are your biggest fans? I've been following your last, this crazy adventure you just had in Pakistan. And so I kinda knew what was going down. And then at the end you had these two monster flights, which we'll talk about, but let's start at the beginning.

What, what was the mission of this thing to begin with for those who aren't like me and followed you like crazy because your videos of this, you know, just stuffing it into these coals and ski and Powell was a man, what an epic adventure. So what was the, I know this was your first time to Pakistan, right?

Speaker 0 (2m 42s): Yeah. I was the first time yet.

Speaker 2 (2m 44s): And th and it was all, I mean, did you, I know you didn't go over there. I don't think specifically to send these big flights, like you did at the end, right. It was all of this kind of mixed route stuff.

Speaker 0 (2m 53s): Yeah. Actually I start for Pakistan with a very open-mind and with the idea of doing a combos with the glider and the ski, and then, but I didn't have a specific goal because I didn't have been there before. And so I don't know the place and I don't know which whether we were going to get, so I was just going for an adventure and yeah, I was just leaving somehow.

Day-by-day what the weather and the condition and my body, let me, let me do.

Speaker 2 (3m 33s): And w where did you have a base? Where were, where did you start from?

Speaker 0 (3m 38s): Basically, actually, I was not alone. We was like four, it was me Fabi bull, which is a super strong Albinus climber. And in the last three years, he spending really a lot of time of flying and his level is amazing, good for flying such a short time, but it's stored in matter of years, but he already collect a lot of flying hours.

So he's quite experienced already. And he has been in Pakistan already last year with the Frenchies with Antwan. And so he knows the place and then was we'll, we'll see him. It's British climber working as a mountain guide in Chamonix, which gets really into paragliding as well. And then it was Jake colon calls, which is also like very, very good pilot skiing.

And he does professionally video video maker is his job. So he was taking footage and recording the things. And basically, yeah, I decided, decided last year to, to spend these about 40 days, bit less than 40 days in Pakistan. And yeah, as they say at the beginning, I was just wishing to have adventure there and see what's possible to do the, see the mountains, see the place and take the best out of it.

Speaker 2 (5m 30s): And were you up in the hands of valley where you kind of were Antwan and a lot of these in Tom and have kind of made their, their base? Is that, is that, is that just the logical place to be?

Speaker 0 (5m 40s): Yeah, exactly. We was in Karima about exactly, which is in the Huna valley, north of Gale kit, which is the biggest town in the area close to basically the Skardu and the Baltara place here. Very close to Nanga Parbat so K two, actually just a, both Kareem about is the Porsche.

It's the biggest mountain. It's 7,800, then it's, it's hones up peak just behind the, but Tura thought Glazier his birthplace there. It's just somehow discourage him about it. Some in a way you can, you can make a comparison with Chamonix, just, yeah, I would say at least 10 times bigger for the way you can go in the mountain.

Speaker 2 (6m 50s): And did you spend quite a bit of time there? Just in the beginning, I know you guys had really bad weather to start off with, right?

Speaker 0 (6m 57s): Yeah. Basically we arrived there and it was end of may some, a group of three French guys was there before us. They had really poor weather somehow, like in the Alps in the spring. So, you know, you can have some amazing good days, but that's when you can have a lot of precipitation and bad weather. So that was the situation. What we arrived also down in the valley was quite cold and it was having snowfall almost every day.

So at the beginning, actually we was, I mean, me, I was not disappointed because I like to hike, but the very beginning we couldn't fly. And yeah. You know, after like one week, 10 days of always really unstable weather, you start to be a little bit wondering if it's going to change. But from the other side, I think it was just perfect because we did from the very beginning, a very good acclimatization.

So we hike up on the, the very first we did, it was 4,300 meter. There was like a, kind of a hot for the, for the farmers, with the animals. And we went to sleep up there. So the valley floor, it's like 2000 meter. So it's quite interesting. You have like valley floor on 2000 and then you have mountain, basically 8,000 meter high. So the gap is huge, which is way more different than in India, where I has been, there was also 7,000 meter plus mountain, but the valley floor was already 7,000.

So actually doesn't feel so big. They're all stuff in Kadima, but the hoons valet, it's exactly the opposite. You are basically on the ground, on the valley floor, and then you can go read very high. So basically, yeah, we start on sleeping. These must be so striking. Yeah. So we start to sleep the first night on 4,300, and then then on 4, 4, 5, 4, 4, 6, and then again, or something like four, two, and then up to four, five, and then on 5,000, I don't remember exactly, but I think we spend all in all about 10 nights between yeah.

Four and 5,000 meter. And yeah, I think that was really important for me because I had experience in altitude. But last time when I was going high, I got also these mountain sickness because I did a very bad acclimatization. I was thinking I am good and strong and I get really punished from the mountain.

And so this time I was a little bit more clever, also a little bit older. So this time I took my time and it worked out really good because I actually didn't want to use oxygen a little bit for an ethic way and a little bit also, because it's just something more which you have to carry, which you will have to care about, which you will have to fit into the harness.

And they want to be like free, free from this, from this bottle in a way. So I had the chance to, to, to cut oxygen bottle from basically through an American guys who has the oxygen bottle there, Brett Sanders, but I basically didn't, didn't use it. And I think I, I have it in my room and after, I dunno, two weeks or after I finished my acclimatization and I felt like I'm good.

I just give it back to Monzo, which is the driver, the historical driver. He has been in touch with all the paraglider, which has been in Hunza valley. And he's caring about the things there though. I give this back because Tom might need it for his project on the, on the Balto. And so I was free of these and I felt really good. And the first ply actually I did, it was 200 kilometer flight with almost 40 extra rewards was like a 40 plus average speed.

So, and I went up on for a 7,000 meter, 7,000 something, and I felt good. My body was good on that altitude. And from that moment on, I realized, okay, I can fly big here. The reason why that day I didn't flew bigger. It was because it was three nasty. It was really a lot of wind. It was coming some, some storm.

And so I went landing after 200 kilometer, but there in that day, I realized I can fly big there. If I will be keen to take the, the somehow is that the risk and the commitment you, you have to take to go really big in Pakistan. So basically on this 200 kilometer flight, I realized that the place give the chance to fly big, but at the same time, right after this flight, the weather turns to be again unstable.

And so, yeah, I went back to two combos with ski and to other very interesting thing is that in Karima, but there is some culture of flying in matter that there was a fight of flying there in the early nineties and of the eighties. And there was used to take off in a place called Eagle nest where you can get there more or less by car, but because we had these really bad weather or that let's say unstable weather, we figured it out that for us would be better to use the very early morning to do our combo because yeah, mostly around noon, it was flyable anymore.

And so we find a place where we could took off or radio nine o'clock 10 to nine. But really though, like from 2,900 meters, just 400 meter above the place we was used to split, and this place was magic. It was working every time we went there, it was very little altitude, but you take off, you fly to eat the exposed needle, please, where we saw all the time, the birds, Germany.

And then from there, you connect on a big war, which you go up by story. And then from there you fly to our lady finger and then you'll get a good attitude, like five, five, and a hard data in the, in the days from there, we reach already 6,000 meter. So yeah, all to say that the very first part of the trip was acclimatization and more mountaineering staff.

Then switching for like fumbles with the paraglider, using the glider to go up and ski and also sleep up state. We in the middle part of the trip, we were still slipping up to keep the acclimatization. And then when, and then I get really sick and I was super lucky because I get C when the weather was terrible. And so I didn't lose anything, but I was so sick that the night I was in the tent of 5,000 meter and I get so bad, I probably was never so bad in my life or at the moment I didn't felt I had another so bad nights in my life.

Speaker 2 (16m 5s): Is it food, food poisoning? What, what did you get?

Speaker 0 (16m 9s): I think food poisoning, but in combination with probably altitude, because I didn't eat any different than the other guys, but I'm definitely more sensible on my stomach and already in the morning after the dinner, I felt not too good, but my mistake was that sometimes at home, I don't feel so good. And then I do some sport and I get better and I was wishing to have think there.

So I, I thought for this hike up to 5,000 meter to leap up, my idea was to spend two nights in the mountain with the bad weather, because anyway, I couldn't do anything else. So I was thinking, okay, download some podcasts. Then I was ready to sleep two nights in bad weather in the mountain. But basically when I arrived, close to 5,000, I already vomit the first time. Then we decide my friend to put the tent.

And from there on it was, or the all night three-day witching between vomiting, shaking from the call that vomiting and not getting air from, from I was not vomiting anymore because I didn't have anything in my body, but the body was still want to eject something. So it was horrible,

Speaker 2 (17m 40s): So bad in a tent too, when you have to get up and go somewhere and it's the worst,

Speaker 0 (17m 48s): I didn't go anywhere. I've only think the 10. It was definitely. And I was just wishing the next day to have some decent weather, to at least fly down and hit my little glider and done, because I didn't have any power anymore. I felt like even lifting my arm was like a mission, but of course the weather was terrible, so was not liable.

So from there we ski down like, yeah, a little bit, but not too much because decide we went, skiing was not much snow. So after I had to walk on a Moraine to get lower, and then eventually the weather was still ugly, but I say myself, okay, I have to fly because I will not manage to get down. I was like 20 times lower than the guys.

And even these back to me, like super hardcore, I went like 10 minutes walking, 20 minutes saying then means working and like this, I decided to take off. And, and yeah, I survived the flight, which was not that horrible that night and managed down the valley called Monsoor, which picked me up on, on a Jeep. And, and then I spent, I think, three days in the bed, not moving basically.

And, and I think these cost me like about five kilos, something like this after I was broking, really something like after exams. Yeah.

Speaker 2 (19m 41s): Without, without the smiles. Oh my God. That's miserable.

Speaker 0 (19m 47s): And then the funny thing was that as soon as I start to feel better, the weather start to be better as well. And so basically I had one day where I was like, so, okay, good. And the day after I went for flying and I fly this 285, and then from there own start like session of really good days and big action from my side, like the 2 85, which was actually a 300, but on the very last thermal on his per Glazier, I, it was already sunset and I was on 5,000 something neater.

And I was expecting to close the triangle easily, but I get 3d splashed down from the, the katabatic wind from the glacier. And my doctor was at the beginning. I stayed to the mountain. Then I say, okay, I will go in the middle of the valley because normally you get this very good leaf when from all sides, it's sinking air, but not, it was just a flight ratio, one to two and a half, something like this.

And in the end, I land in a super ugly place now in a Gorge with the river below and undecided is low, was maybe five 50 degrees. And yeah, I kind of managed to land safe on before getting in, really traveled down to the river. So I end a little bit higher. And then while I worked, I worked back to the, I worked a couple of hours to get out from there, which was already night.

And yeah, then I, I got to the village and, and then I did one day rest. And, and then the day after, I think, or two days after I went for, for us, the best combo I did there, or the most scenario, let's say our, I ski a super nice, slow. And then I managed to take off on the end of the lope and, and then fly out the flat lazier.

But then it was still early in the day. So I say, okay, why not? I took a thermal and I went to skate for the second time. So I did two labs.

Speaker 2 (22m 24s): You w when you're doing the combos, what gear is that compared to where you on? I saw pictures. You were on your Xcel's kit more or less while your ex app's weighing and then a Woody valley harness for the big flights, but what were you doing for the combos?

Speaker 0 (22m 38s): Yeah. So for the combos, it's I learn a lot from Fabi actually, because he had experience from last year in Pakistan with the setup. So I'm flying Columbo many, many years here in the Alps, but I was not used to fly really long. And for some combo we was flying like two hours, one and a half hours. So basically the hardest Yeah.

Or to get on the plane sometimes was some little cross cross cross-country flight to get from the place you want to ski. So basically I had a string harness. I had two option. I have like a string harness and something like a little bit more structure dentistry harness from Buddha valley, which is called transact to, and the prototype of a string harness from . And the very interesting part is that when you fly on the string partners and do you have a backpack, the backpack it's very uncomfortable to, to have it on yourself.

So what we basically do is to put like express. So these which you use for climbing the webbing with the carabiners on the carbine ourself, the, the, of the harness, and then you click the carabiner or the express basically on your shoulder strap of the backpack. So once you take off and you are comfortable that it's not too turbulent or whatever, you just take out your hands from the, from the shorter strap of the backpack, and then basically the backpack slide below your seat.

And then the, the backpack it's just hanging Bruneau you, and you don't have it anymore on yourself, so you don't have to wait anymore. And the additional plus is that you can easily take this key from the side of the backpack and put your ski on by flying, because you don't want to land in steep terrain without ski. And in general, you don't want to land on glacier without ski for the crevices.

So with this system, you basically take the ski with the ski on and go landing wherever you want.

Speaker 2 (25m 16s): So you're, you're taken off normal foot launch with the skis, kind of hanging off your back, and then they're hanging beside you when you're flying. And you, you, you click in

Speaker 0 (25m 26s): Yeah.

Speaker 2 (25m 27s): Busy. You've got, you're taken off with your ski boots.

Speaker 0 (25m 31s): Yes, yes, yes, definitely.

Speaker 2 (25m 34s): Oh, wow. So, so it's full 80, you know, standard Alps, a T gear for, you know, what you tour in.

Speaker 0 (25m 42s): Yep. Yeah,

Speaker 2 (25m 43s): Exactly. Okay. And you're the,

Speaker 0 (25m 45s): The mountain hearing backpack on the side of it are my skis and inside everything I need. So like, I was used to have an ice crew, my S ISX crampons, and some little food sambar and some stuff. And once in the air, yeah. I let slide, basically my backpack below my ass.

I think when you see the video of my, it may be easier to understand. So when you applied and you have the backpack below your ass, and then you, you take your ski and you clip the front bar. And then the difficult thing is to clip the, the behind thing. And to do that, I have like our food strep, which I use also for flying, like the guys are using in acro to hold their feet and like these I'm pressing my keyboard there.

And, and then I get clipping. It sounds more difficult than what,

Speaker 2 (27m 3s): And it's not that bad cause I, yeah. And your videos, your, you know, your landing up in these calls and stuff with skis on, and I wasn't sure how you were accomplishing that hook. I've never seen that done. That's it? That's a cool, that's neat.

Speaker 0 (27m 15s): Yeah. It's, it's really, it's really good. It's some technique I use a little bit different already on the tiger tour, the winter edition, because the guys there, I think I was the only one taking out ski and be able to really use the speed bar. So basically I can take out ski in ski, in the air. Yeah.

Speaker 2 (27m 46s): Wow. What are you using? Like the Dean of fit, you know, tow pieces that just have the two little, you know, the two kind of the standard for, for the toes on, on the, on the ski boots, you know, like the really sharp little clips invented.

Speaker 0 (28m 8s): I didn't use a bendings from Dina feet. I use the one from , which is the, on the bendings, which has a different system. So all the buildings, the skater ski touring buildings, eight 80 car, or a benefit, or whoever else has the system that the bean, once you go to lock, they, they closed and they closed at the same time left and right together, there's key trap.

It's done different. It's the one most of the guy use or send a team of workup and you have to press it. And then it doesn't make a click, but it's just by releasing is closing and less than right. They work independent alone. I was the only one having this key trap. Bobby has some 80 car pendings and it works as well. I think in my opinion that this key throb it's a little bit easier, but then the only let's say issue I have, that might be endings.

It's super hard to get into here because I have a bad experience with a weak pendings. And I don't want, because I risked my life already by steep skiing, quite a lot with opening bendings. So I have a building which really hard to get the hill team. That's why I need this, these webbing on the foot strap to, to press myself into the, into the behind part of the beginning.

Speaker 2 (30m 2s): And then what kind of snow conditions where you get in? Are you guys digging pits? Is it pretty high, avalanche risk? Was it proper power skin or was it just kind of more for the adventure? I mean, was the skiing good or was it just kind of sloppy and you know, more of an adventure skiing?

Speaker 0 (30m 21s): We had actually everything, we had a super good snow, like cold powder, and we had like spring, snow, like a fear. And we had also like these wet, big, heavy, warm, old powder. So we had a bit of everything, but in general, I would say the quality was middle to high. Definitely not bad. Anything that his skin was bad snow.

Speaker 2 (30m 54s): And you were, so if I got this right, so you're taken off around 2000 meters and you're, you're kind of combo rich soaring, thermally benching up, you know, flying some XC to get up into the 5,000 and higher at how, how long are the runs your T I mean, are you skiing back down to kind of valley base or how much snow, w w what was the, what were the kind of snow levels in terms of the elevations Cooley's you guys are skiing or

Speaker 0 (31m 25s): There's no line was quite high. It's like about a 4,002 to 4,400, 4,000. Was the, the Norwest, I think, so there was not long run. So it was, I think the longest, like a thousand meter, but yeah, but there was, it was not really about how long you ski, but the quality and the things like one of the Dinah is ski with Fabi.

It was an alter glace here. And they're basically, we landed on them, not really tiny, but like kind of balcony because the, the big slope was below some huge Sarah. So I decided to land on the site by Koger by some rock, we landed there actually after, I don't know, like 10 minutes, we are packing the stuff, a huge avalanche go down.

So actually, if we will have banded in this slope, we might have been dead. So we are actually happy that the avalanche went because normally after one avalanche are safe. So making our way to the slope and then skied is flow really, really nice and amazing, amazing scenery. And then these, these slow ended or not fled, or quite flat lazier hanging over a thousand meter cliff.

So you can't anyway ski. And so basically we took out the glider again and, and take off again. And that day we fly to the other side of the valley to Barbara peak. And then we went skiing really nice powder. And that day I landed, I landed exactly on the, on the summit of this mountain, probably just a little bit below. And then we had amazing powder skiing on the upper part, and then an amazing fear on the roller part.

So what do you want more in,

Speaker 2 (33m 49s): That's just unbelievable. You said there's kind of a culture of flying there for, for many decades, and obviously there's a huge culture of climbing and mountaineering, but what about ski touring? Where are you running into other people that are, you know, making turns in this, in this part of the world? It's not something that I've heard of there much, if at all,

Speaker 0 (34m 9s): There are some French guys which have skied in this area. And anyway, when we was there, the, so there are a couple sheets, the highest mountain, just very close to . And then it's the DRAM, it's a 7,200 meter, and this mountain was already few, two teams try to ski down from DRAM, but they deem because of Avalon injuries, can staff and just now level low, and another French guy that don't remember exactly how he calls.

They went for dieron. And now was the Freeride world champion five years ago, I think before. And they, they went for four deer and then I think they base key down four days ago or something like,

Speaker 2 (35m 8s): Wow,

Speaker 0 (35m 9s): So it's not much done, but some, some guys have skinned there. And the French guys last year, the, the, the group of Antwan, it was , it was Bobby. And I don't know the others, they were supposed to they're doing combo scent is key. So like Barbara peak, there was skiing. Definitely. And this line, which we did me and Fabi, which I was just thinking about that probably know almost for sure, no one had skinned there before on the tower.

Maybe the French guys was king this line before I like one months before I was there. Not really in a cup way, or let's say they fly inside the maid cam, and then there was seeing some couloirs there. I don't know exactly which one, but maybe also the one that is key. So yeah. I mean, very few people, but there is,

Speaker 2 (36m 15s): It's being done. Aaron, when you're, when you're, you know, before you went, did you put a ton of research into, you know, lines that, you know, did you have a lot of lines laid out that you, you know, really wanted to ski if you had the right conditions, you know, just looking at Google earth and maps and that kind of thing, I'm just, I'm not aware of what kind of resources you have there. You know, I wouldn't imagine there's an avalanche center putting out daily.

I wouldn't think maybe there is, but, you know, putting out daily condition reports and that kind of thing, or is it the kind of stuff are you just getting there? And you're kind of on siding depending on the day. And you're just, so it's just kinda red pointing everywhere. You're just, okay, well, we'll try this today.

Speaker 0 (37m 3s): Yeah, exactly.

Speaker 2 (37m 5s): Okay.

Speaker 0 (37m 6s): I basically didn't even watch Google alert where Karima.

Speaker 2 (37m 18s): Okay. So you have, you have some success with the combos. You get sick as hell and it's awful. And then you have this, this 2 85, which, you know, you put up on X contest and the whole world went, holy shit, are you kidding me? Sounds like kind of a dicey end. But before we get to the, the next one that, you know, you had a day off, and then you had the really big one, then you and I talked about this the other day, when you, when you called me from the airport, but give people some perspective who haven't been to the Himalayas know, what are the, what are the main differences between flying in the Alps?

Is it, is it stronger? Is it scarier? Is it, you know, what paint the paint, the setting for us, because obviously we all know it's huge. I just can't imagine what your brain was trying to process, you know, and the altitudes of course, a really high, but I'd love to just know. I think people would love to know, you know, is this a place that if you, you know, are pretty skilled pilot, what should you be? What should you know, before going to Pakistan? What can you expect?

Speaker 0 (38m 27s): So for me, like the flying in self in term, in terms of strengths of the and tour, Boland's, it's very compare. You can compare it. Why want to one to flying in the Alps in the spring, by, by strong conditions. So I spoke with Brett Sanders who has way more experience than me there.

And he think the place it's quite easy to fly. I mean, like the termites, the Therma are not curable and stuff like this. To me, I think at least the flight I had there was for sure more on the strong side of, of Alpine day. But, but it wasn't like nasty or, or read bad, definitely the altitude give you a little bit an extra speed, but these, you don't really feel like I didn't fell that my reaction has to be really faster.

Or to me, the flying itself, the sporty side of flying was quite similar. Us flying in the Alps. What it's really different in Pakistan is that you are really by your own and the commitment you take some times it's not the old flight, but there are some far where you have to make these step, let's say in the dark.

Yeah. That's, that's more the challenge because landing, let's say you land in an easy place. Maybe you work couple of days, or you will have to find another takeoff or wait a day for taking off a gain and get out of it. But there are also places where without meet to high Alpine experience, you would probably not survive the next hours because the place here are huge.

And the, the things that are dated to the glacier are big as well. Like provinces, Xerox, stuff like this. So to me, it's more, it was more this like the real adventure side of going in places where, you know, more or less that every the cheese on you take, it's gonna make your more or less your future. So in the good and in the bad way.

So I didn't feel like I was flying on full on reads. Like I felt like I was having quite a bustle because I didn't want to go back home, you know? But yeah, I think the dimension there it's really big and you feel really small.

Yeah. These, these, it's more the thing

Speaker 2 (41m 56s): When you, when you woke up and, you know, the weather starts getting better when you woke up, you'd had the 200 K flight that was, the weather was bad. And then you, you, you woke up this day. I don't know if you saw it coming in advance, you know. Oh, okay. But did you have some kind of a plan like that in mind? Or did you just start flying and then suddenly it was one of these things where, okay. This day has given it to me on a platter, I have to take advantage of it. And you know, and it all came together. I guess what I'm saying is how much of it was planned versus how much just happened.

I mean, cause 2 85, you know, even in the Alps that takes, that takes some planning, you know, you, you know, you and I tried it and anthems that day, you know, you, you gotta think about the launch and the time and the, the route and you know, it's a lot of ground to cover.

Speaker 0 (42m 46s): Yeah. It was not much plan to say for sure. I did for myself some 13.2, I was like scouting maps, looking at the maps, the orientation of the valleys and making on my exit, et cetera, some turning point to have an idea more or less work to go. But mostly I was actually flying the sky and actually both big flight.

I did actually, I did three flight, quite big, which I'm quite proud of. And, and I change a plan by flying. So by flying and see different this guy better in one direction. And I follow and follow this guy and they follow the mountain. I can see because actually I'm still not very good in planning. And so I try to plan a bit, but, but it was yeah.

Mostly following my flow of the day and about the weather really there, we already, from the beginning we decide to, or decide not that we decide, but we find out that we have just to open this the eyes and look, this guy how it developed. And I was really happy with myself because it was, it was a date where I didn't want flying either combo or staff because I had this feeding to me today.

It's not good because I was looking at the clouds. I was looking at the site and I say, I don't go fly. And in fact, for example, those two days also the other guys went up on the take off, but then they didn't fight. So it was, it was more, yeah, th the forecast was, was not real forecast in a way

Speaker 2 (44m 59s): Really. So it's really just kind of just looking up and deciding if this is the day.

Speaker 0 (45m 5s): Yeah. Kind of. Yeah. Yeah.

Speaker 2 (45m 8s): I mean, I, you know, I would think that mountains, that big, you know, even on the, on the low wind days, you know, like you said, with the glaciers being so big in the valley system so long and so massive, the w w you know, where valley wins a big issue, are you, you said the katabatic could, I would think would be really strong sometimes, but w what were, what was the wind like to deal with?

Speaker 0 (45m 37s): Well, like, so we find out the rules, which Fabby already knows from the year before that, once on a couple, she start to pouring some rain or snow. It's immediately time to call them immediately because it was like 10 times stronger than strong twin day India.

So once on this mountain was getting some precipitation, it gets super crazy strong, wind down in the valley, like amazingly strong, like even, I mean, part of the dust, but almost the stone, the stone was playing. You know, so these was a think, we would learn from the beginning by looking at the sky and seeing, and seeing in real time what's happening down in the valley.

But generally on the good days, like the days I fly big, it was not much windy. It was not even much wing on 6,000 meter plus. And, and yeah, the glacier does wind, but in the afternoon, so you would have to find yourself in the good place in the afternoon. So if you are like higher than this cold air, which is pouring down, you are fine.

If you get in this flow, you are reading you already in a bad situation. And that was the key of my 312 kilometer flight, because actually it was in a way similar, but in the end, I decided to fly a foreign body where the glacier was a little bit lower. And, and thanks to these, I think I managed to close the triangle because the fly of the 2 85, I got this bad experience.

And so on the 300 something, I fly on other ballet or the glacier it's just way lower. And I didn't get any katabatic winds from it. And I fly all the way back to MOBA.

Speaker 2 (48m 2s): How, how do you, how do you deal with what's in your head now going forward? I can't imagine what's, what's in your mind, you know, th the, the, the bigness, the, what you've just seen, you know, and the style that you saw, because you did it, both these flights by yourself, you know, you, you saw the mountains of Pakistan in a way that really nobody has, I mean, people have flown there and seen, you know, bits of it, but like you have, but I don't even know what this question is.

It's, it's how I can't imagine what's in your mind now. I mean, you saw something that is just totally remarkable and I'm sure very hard to articulate.

Speaker 0 (48m 53s): Yeah. Well, I feel myself super lucky to have this chance and, and to have done it a little bit also how to say, yeah, happy with myself that my, my brain and my winning bring me so far and also, and also quite proud of myself in a way for out.

Yeah. And the other way, maybe it was a little bit stupid, but as I told you already, actually the big flight I did after my crash, which I had, and it was quite amazing doing this flight with the pain I had. So

Speaker 2 (49m 45s): Let's talk about that again. F what, what, when, when was the crash and what, what happened? W

Speaker 0 (49m 50s): Basically the last Bumbo I did from the Goodman tower, which was perfect. And I ski two times the slope, and it was super great. Everything. I applied then to Kareem about the village. And I went for landing in a place I was landing already orphan. So a place I know any really super sketchy, dangerous place for lending, and also the day was going to die.

So it was no valuing strong or thermal. So I just went for lending. And actually the, the, the crash was not very spectacular. I just arrived. I have to land a little bit up here. So I slow down my glider and going for a Knights landing. But probably in this moment, I got little tailwind, I guess. And so the flare, it didn't happen as I plan it's going to happen.

And I learnt a little bit hard, definitely. If I will have whatever protector on my back, on my ass, nothing will happen, but I was without anything with all my cells and anti the stone with my back. So at the beginning, I was thinking that probably it's broke because it was really painful, really, really painful. But then I was there anyway by myself.

So what should I do? I start to pack my grinder and start to work. And by working, I bet it was painful, but, but, okay. So maybe it's not broken and went to my room where I was staying and the guys there was up in the mountain. So I was alone. And I didn't know, I took some pain, Kidder and some cream, and I was thinking, okay, then in the, before going sleep, I was thinking, what the fuck can I do tomorrow?

It's going to be even more painful, but I want to fly. I want to fly. So I decide to hang my harness on the place I was sleeping and seeing how it's going to be to sit in the harvest. Because at that moment, I couldn't sit on a chair. It was too painful, but my wish was that maybe in the harness, it's going to be better. And so I stepped into the harness and it was way less painful than sitting on the bed, sitting on a chair, which was the worst anyway.

And so I say, okay, so then maybe it's possible, but I still have to think how I will make it to the takeoff, because it was a thousand vertical meter with 20 feet. But I said, okay, now I go to sleep and I will see. So I went to sleep in the morning, I stand up, I was in really pain, but I put my backpack on. I pull all the shoulder strap that it was not touching much my lower back. And, and somehow I hike up and, and I arrive up, like took one painkiller.

And then I say, okay, I'm going to take off and see if it's going to be too painful. I'm going to go lending. And if I not do too much painful, I'm going to fly. And like this, I start flying by and by. And then when it was midday and I had like the something Everett speed, I say, okay, maybe I can keep on going. And anyway, I was anyway. So far from the place I took off in a way I have to go back. So I keep on flying and then I keep on flying and flying.

And then I had to change my plan because the sky was looking different than what I was planning to fly. And I find myself really no, you know, super high plateau where the valley floor was like about 4,000 meter. And I was 200 meter above the valley floor in completely shaved the sky, no sandbag, zero sun just shadow everywhere. And I was low.

And I was thinking of, okay, now if I'm going to land here going to be at least one week working my back, it's super painful. It's going to be time to find something, something to get up. And I believe so much on this, that it's in the shadow and fully cloud cloud is tight. It builds up like a little cloud, you know, when, even when it's everything dark, then you see that a little things start to beat.

And I went to this little Ridge and I got the Therma let with these, I get back on 6,000 and slowly I get out of the, this plateau. Then back in the main ballet, then flight portion. Then I become really fast because in that part of the flight, my average speed, when around 28 or 27, just lose five kilometer, an hour average speed because I was just in surviving mode. But then I started doing okay, but I can still make it on 300.

And then I was not feeling any pain anymore. I was just in my flying flow and I keep on flying, keep on flying, and it becomes better and better and better. And then it comes to this call. Then hours stand starting going down and I'm keep on flying the fastest. I can last their mind. It was actually the five and a half thousand on the sunset sunset, like in front of me. And with this last thermal, I took the good valley without much katabatic queen, then fly all the way back to Kadima.

That was it.

Speaker 2 (56m 15s): It just must have been on the ecstatic moon. I can't imagine just the, the emotions of all of that, where you, after the big flight, the 2 85 and you know, you're, you're doing all these flights without oxygen where you pretty wiped out retired.

Speaker 0 (56m 33s): No, no. I mean, after one flight, I always, after a big flight, I take one day rest from the eight to 85, because actually from the 2 85, I come back home, I think midnight because yeah, because I got splashed down and I had to walk and, and so I was coming back super late. So the next day I did nothing. And actually, yeah, it was this tour de force of doing the combo crashing, flying the 300 and then the day after I arrest.

But then the, the day after, after I went against time and it was basically the day before I, I have to leave to take the plane and I say myself, okay, you will go easy because you can't out. You have your back it's or, and just go easy. So I start with the idea of going easy, but then again, I came into this super mood where I just fly, fly, fly, but there, it, it's a place where it's quite commitment with dumping over our reach.

And then you have like a flat place here and there. I jumped over these reach and I'd say, no, today it's not the day. And I turned back. So I just went over and I didn't feel like good. And I just turned back. And I think that was really good because I think if you have to listen a little bit on yourself, and so I turned back and I say, fuck it today. I'm not going to fly there. And I fly back. And then I was a little bit for like a five minute without the plan what to do.

And then I just start again to follow this guy and tell him the fie sector and, and flying towards basically style. And then I get the first big present was to flying, not really close, but close enough to see quite good. The Nanga Parbat so, so basically totally a different route. I fly off to other big flight. I did. So I, I came as close as for me possible to see quite well, the Nanga Parbat and then on the way back, flying back towards my starting place, I had the option to do like a little bit of a detour, but safe and for sure, easy to fly or to fly towards the really big mountain Porsche and Dera where it's one said on, I don't remember, but not too high where I could jump over and coming back in the valley of Karima.

But the downside of these options was that if I were fucked up, I would land in a place crazy wild. And, and so I have these two boys, should I do, should I not? But then I say yes, for sure you have to do it. So I went for it, I arrived to and that was below way below the summit, but I felt like that I have good chance to pass over the stardom.

And I went for it. And of course I didn't pass it. And then it was like this moment with really, really scaredness, because below me, it's like huge, massive place here full of just provinces. And, and I know if I will not find a thermal, now I will bend there. Plus I will also miss the plane. That was for sure the plane.

And then, yeah, I got the game like a very weekly, like the weakest of the, the old month. And I turned my, this like ball and I make it just enough to pass with maybe 50 meter over the Ridge and being on the other side that was maybe, yeah, maybe, maybe it was the biggest emotion of the old tree passing. These rates was, let's say 230 kilometer, but it was full of emotion.

Speaker 2 (1h 1m 13s): So that was the last one. So after the three 12, there was another one. Yeah. You're insatiable. Didn't she ever want to just go to the valley and drink beer? And Of course, yes, that's right. So 40 days, it sounds like the adventure wasn't over, even when it was supposed to be over, it was quite an epic even to get to the, the, the, the airport of where you called me, where do you take it from here, man is, I'm sure you're back with your family and they're very happy to have you home, but how do you, how do you deal with the, I've been calling it lately, the Mirage of success, you know, that, that, okay.

We've finally done as much as we need to do and we can back off, but I know that's not your style, so what's what's next.

Speaker 0 (1h 2m 14s): No, I, yeah, it should be what's next it's to get, to get in shape and not having pain to my bank. Once I come back to my, straight to the doctor, and luckily he say am like crazy lucky that I didn't go my back because it's, I have like a heartfelt my back it's black, black bias.

Yeah. So when the first thing it's not to get to get fit again, but in my head, it's now full on competition mode because I want now to compete and the very next think, which I don't know. I really hope I can do. It's the competition. I organized with power together, heightened flight.

So they have a high comes like trophy, which is in my home plate and it's my race. So this is going to happen now in two weeks to 16th of July. And then I'm gonna prepare myself for the Superfly and then to the Chamonix mom plank. And then I'm really looking forward to come in your place to compete and compete.

Speaker 2 (1h 3m 47s): Yeah. We're looking forward to your talk. I can't wait. I I'm sure. I'm sure you've got something already put together, but I hope you show us some of this Pakistan footage

Speaker 0 (1h 3m 59s): And, and then, and then I'm gonna go back on the, on the classical competition. And I really would like to do when they're workup super fine in this year, it's going to be in Mexico. And I think I liked the place quite a lot.

Speaker 2 (1h 4m 25s): Yeah. Is fantastic. I can't wait to race with you there. That'd be great.

Speaker 0 (1h 4m 29s): Yeah, let's say now I'm switching totally now from the adventure mode, which was from the beginning of the year, till now, even those, I did some competition, like just before Pakistan. I was in Slovenia. I did super nice competition, not crazy high level, but it went really good for me. I wanted, but I love to compete in Slovenia. I love to compete in Tolman. And, but part of this, I was more in adventure and combo mood.

But now basically, yeah, the second part of the summer, it's for me now competition. And yeah, let's see

Speaker 2 (1h 5m 18s): The, I wanted to ask you just one more thing about Pakistan. We jumped off to there to the future, but the, bring us back to Pakistan. You, you mentioned the other day when we were chatting that those, the two days, the two big ones and the weather was good, but it wasn't great. You, you felt like, you know, there's, there's much bigger potential there to be had. And talk about that a little bit.

Speaker 0 (1h 5m 40s): Yeah. So I'm sure that the dates I was flying there was really good days, but it was not perfect days because on the 2 85, I had a very slow beginning and then a fast meeting and end part on the 300 kilometer flight. I had a very good dark, like the first one, third of the flight was 3d fast, but then I get basically, I, I could pump out three times and my, I was in surviving mode for more than two hours.

And then towards the end was again fast and I make 312. So I'm quite sure that in a good day, in a really good day with, with the experience I have there, now I could really go for a three 50 to three 70 kilometer. But at the same time, what I was also saying also with the friends is the question is if really Pakistan is the place for going record, or it's better to go in Pakistan, just not looking the numbers and going for adventure.

And then the numbers comes anyway by themselves. So I don't know if it's right to, I mean, arrive, it's not the right word, but I don't know if, if it's really make sense to speak about 3 50, 3 70, or even 400 kilometer in Pakistan, because it's, it's a, it's a place for a bench. Right. And, and not only for thinking, like, for example, for me, Brazil, I have been twice and I have to do, if I found a kilometer, which was a goal of my, and there really, it was just about number for me.

It was a shared the flying instead of it's cool. But I was there because I want 600. I mean, the first time I won 500, then I did it. But then the second time I won 600 and, and I was not much looking the beauty of the flying and the place, but more about the numbers. So maybe for me, I want to keep, I don't know if I would go back in Pakistan, but, but maybe I want to keep this place nice with the idea to keep it for real adventure flying and combos and not for chasing numbers.

Yeah.

Speaker 2 (1h 8m 46s): I didn't, I didn't realize you said the one place would be a week long walk out potentially. I didn't realize. I mean, obviously when people think of the Hemingway as they think of it as being quite remote, but I have awful. I also thought there's, you know, really a lot of villages, but I guess that's not at the upper, at the really high levels, you know, at the really high elevations, then it just gets snow and ice

Speaker 0 (1h 9m 14s): Depends on the place. Like in the valleys, the main valets, wherever you land, somehow you will get a ride or you will get out quite easily. But for example, from Gilgamesh to, to the Nanga, Parbat, let's say, yeah, there is this kind of, it's not the real plateau, but it's, it's kind of an island between two big valleys and therefore example it's nothing or the Hispanic lazier, I think it's like 70 or 80 kilometers long.

And that's just a beta. So

Speaker 2 (1h 9m 58s): Chase

Speaker 0 (1h 9m 59s): There. It's definitely other dementia, man. Like for example, when I did the Shakespeare, I took our two times two 14 and 2 16, 20 14 and 2016. I, I really like it. The Pyrenees because there was, they are way more wild than the Alps are. So in the arts, it's really a rare, you fly longer than 10 minutes and you don't see a house or something or a hot or a three or something on the Pyrenees.

You might have flown a 30 kilometer without seeing a trade or a heart or a house or, or a human, but in Pakistan you can fly without seeing anyone and anything. And yeah.

Speaker 2 (1h 10m 59s): That's yeah. I mean, I just, this, this, the, the contrast in the size and the scope of what you saw and what you did, and just, just unbelievable man, proud of you. It's just a incredible, and I'm glad you made it safely home. You, you brought up the Xperia. We got to talk about that is that just went down. You were, you were busy I'm sure. And didn't see, I don't know how much of that you saw, but hell of a race this year. Just unbelievable.

They had a lot of everything. They did a lot of miles on the ground. Everybody even Kriegel cause it was the first couple of days was pretty much a ground game. And then, you know, they had a much different course. It kind of did this, this big up and around thing all around the them, the big mountains and, and man Maxine looked like he had them at the end and then Kriegel did his thing and got them. And it was just God he's he's he really, truly is a special isn't he just remarkable talent there.

And yeah, the move he made on Maxine there at the end was, was, was pretty extraordinary. I don't know how he knows how to do this kind of stuff, but he just taps in.

Speaker 0 (1h 12m 12s): I didn't, I didn't follow, but I just see now yesterday a little bit of course, that he, that figure one and mcsema and yeah, I mean the level it's it's, you know, by yourself, it's super crazy high-end but still Kriegel. I mean, it's almost any other sport men in, in all the sport, which has such a long legacy.

So somehow it's just better. What do you want to tell him?

Speaker 2 (1h 12m 51s): Yeah, it's just, it really is special. The other thing I wanted to ask you about is the X apps, the application period just opened the last time we talked, you weren't so sure. W where are you sitting now,

Speaker 0 (1h 13m 5s): Steve, on that point, I think I would put up vacation. But, but I, I don't know, like, it's not, honestly, it's not really about the racing self, but it's more about the around things, which in the end make me deciding if I do so right now, I don't, I I'm for sure.

Did willing to compete a lot. And that's why I'm gonna go for the, for the extra rocks and all the other comps I do. But about the Excel time, I'm still not sure yet.

Speaker 2 (1h 13m 58s): Aaron, thanks for sharing this all with us. I'm sure all the people listening are really hoping you do as, as I am. Of course. You're so fun to watch every single time, but I get it. We've done it a lot too, but congratulations on just an epic adventure. You, you blew all of our minds and it's good to hear about it just right when you come home. So while it's all still fresh, but can't wait to see all the, all the videos and all the stuff you guys produced from this.

Just insane trip, but glad you're safe, buddy. Glad you're home.

Speaker 0 (1h 14m 34s): Yeah. Thank you very much, Kevin. Thank you. And yeah. Looking forward to see you on the, I know coming in Europe.

Speaker 2 (1h 14m 44s): Yes I am. Yeah, we'll be there next month. I'm going to be supporting Ben and yeah, it'll be, it'd be, it'd be great fun. It'd be a good time. We won't be racing at your, at your pace, but it'll be really, I, you know, I've never supported anybody. So it, Ben supported me for time. So I'll, it's gonna be, we'll have a blast. It'd be a lot of blood.

Speaker 0 (1h 15m 6s): Good. Thank you very much.

Speaker 2 (1h 15m 8s): Thank you buddy. Talk soon.

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