Episode 81- Damien Lacaze and Touching the Void

Damien and Antoine dial up the Trango Towers

“During their six-week expedition to Pakistan this summer, Damien Lacaze and Antoine Girard traveled more than 1,500 kilometers in just 14 days of flight, making the second highest flight in the history of paragliding, bivouacked at more than 6,000 meters and attempted the ascent of Spantik, which rises to more than 7000 m. It was an adventure at the extreme boundaries of what is humanly possible.” – Alpine Magazine

Damien Lacaze has had an incredible couple years. He was Benoit Outters supporter in the 2017 X-Alps, the only other team to reach goal in Monaco and he flew EVERY SINGLE FLIGHT in the race with Benoit. But that was just a warm-up for the main event: a monster 1500KM vol biv with a big mountaineering objective in the Pakistan Himalaya. In this episode Damien recounts one of the most harrowing and yet magnificent and inspiring adventures in the history of the mountains, let alone human flight. Enjoy- this is flat out AWESOME!

DO NOT MISS Damien’s amazing three part story of the expedition- it’s an incredible, jaw-dropping story:

Episode 1: https://alpinemag.fr/le-survol-des-geants-episode-1/

Episode 2: https://alpinemag.fr/le-survol-des-geants-episode-2/

Episode 3: https://alpinemag.fr/le-survol-des-geants-episode-3/

And another great article and photos on the Advance website.

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Show Notes:

  • 2017 Red Bull X-Alps- Damien was Benoit’s supporter (the only other athlete to make goal in Monaco in 2017, in second place behind Chrigel). And he flew EVERY flight with him!

  • Why their team did well and what it’s like to support an X-Alps athlete.

  • Dicey flying on Day 2 of the race

  • How the team met and how the expedition took shape

  • What gear was used and how did the team decide what to bring?

  • Things go bad right off the start when Antoine lands hard day one

  • Problems on the climb of Spantik- including Antoine getting a bad case of Cerebral Edema

  • A close escape

  • Flying at 7900 meters in the biggest mountains on Earth- how does it compare?

  • The size and scope- how to compute MASSIVE?

  • Flying without oxygen- how did the team deal with acclimatization?

  • The mental side- how to deal with the unknown?

  • Making big decisions when you can’t fuck it up- rescue is not possible

  • How to come back to the “real” world after such an undertaking?

  • Damien discusses the difficulties of leaving on the expedition when he has a 6 month old girl, his first child

Mentioned in this episode:

Jayne Desantis, Foundation for Free Flight, USHPA, Willi Canell, Tony Lang, Marko Hrga, Doug Sharpe, Benoit Outers, Red Bull X-Alps, Chrigel Maurer, Antoine Girard, Gaspard Petiot, Cross Country Magazine, Maxime Pinot, Tom De Dorlodot, John Sylvester

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