Andy Baumelt is a Swiss pilot who reached out to me because he loved the show and said that while he would probably never be one of the top ranked pilots or do something big and wild in the sport he loved to fly, was firmly in the throws of intermediate syndrome and had made some mistakes that many pilots make in their journey. Andy’s story is probably one that most pilots can relate to and we had a lot of fun just talking flying- and life.
I’m not sure if I introduce Benjamin with “film maker” or “pilot” as he does both in spades. Benjamin makes amazing films about his flying and bivvy adventures in New Zealand and takes the viewer directly into his cockpit, talking the audience through his decision making with some of the most infectious stoke on flying I’ve ever witnessed. Come along for the ride with Benjamin as he takes us into the clouds to surf the possibilities.
Tim Pentreath has been flying paragliders for over 30 years. The new frontier for Tim’s flying the last few years has been multi-day bivvy trips in the Alps and this episode is dedicated to that art form in flying. The gear; the skills; setting appropriate objectives; how to prepare; where to go on your first bivvy; how to keep it simple; what you need to know; comfort vs going light; food tips; safety tips; what to know before you go; weather resources; where to camp; tips for flying near wind turbines, communication tips and team tracking, when to go; and a lot more.
After getting his novice sign-off in Mexico (30 flights) under the instruction of 2019 Red Bull X-Alps pilot and recent podcast guest Marko Hrgetic Hrga, for his very first solo flight (flight 31) Adrian Garza hiked up one of the highest volcanoes in North America and flew off. And it’s been all volcanoes since.
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.
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.
We were four pilots in total: Nick Greece, myself, Nate Scales and Matt Beechinor; each of whom have held the foot launch record in North America for some period over the last 13 months, all but Nick’s set from Bald Mountain, Sun Valley. The route chosen was once again an incredibly aesthetic line of about 500 miles, and we’d learn quite a bit more technical and difficult than what we did in the Sierras, but I’m getting ahead of myself.