Debu Choudhury hails from the small village of Manali, India, a gateway to Ladakh and the infamous Karakoram pass. Pilots the world over know the region because of nearby Bir, one of the most reliable big-mountain flying sites in the world. Debu began flying there 29 years ago and chases it just as hard today as he ever has. In the world of paragliding he’s done and continues to do it all. Acro, high-level comps, tandems, guiding, instruction, vol biv and flying huge lines in the Himalaya.
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…
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.
“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.