For the primary time ever, two paraglider pilots flew to K2 and glided inside 1,100 yards of the summit. They introduced house by no means earlier than seen views.
“The photographs that can keep eternally in my head, these views,” mentioned Belgian paraglider Tom de Dorlodot to a Purple Bull pool journalist at base camp. “It was the primary time that individuals get into that space close to K2 and fly, and it was additionally the primary time it was ever recorded.”
The unbelievable flight to the world’s second-highest mountain occurred in July, however the not too long ago launched footage reveals the unbelievable views of their journey.
Purple Bull calls the boys the “world’s prime journey paraglider pilots.” The acute athletes arrange base camp on the foot of the Baltoro Glacier at round 10,000 toes above sea stage. Whereas acclimatizing to the altitude, they practiced with a number of shorter flights for about 4 weeks. The dozen or so 60-mile flights often lasted between 5 and 6 hours.
The purpose, which they known as the ‘Grand Slam,’ was to fly round three close by iconic mountains then to K2. A visit by no means earlier than flown by the non-motorized, foot-launched, collapsible gliders would final about 7 hours because the pair “hop-skip and jumped” over to K2, in keeping with Purple Bull.
Within the hop/skipping, the group wanted to realize as a lot altitude as attainable earlier than attempting to fly over K2 at 28,251 toes. The group caught thermals, or heat updrafts, and circled, like birds, climbing over to the monstrous mountain.
“(A problem) to fly above glaciers, which has no touchdown choices and to fly as secure as attainable on this atmosphere,” mentioned Spanish paraglider Horatio Llorens. “Like flying above hearth, you can not land.”
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De Dorlodot instructed Purple Bull, “If you happen to land on the Baltoro Glacier, the trek out can take seven days – it’s simply ice, moraine and rocks.”
The boys bundled up in down feather fits like those worn by high-altitude climbers.
“The largest problem in all probability was to combat towards very chilly circumstances. Up there it was -30 levels (Celsius) generally. I imply, it is actually, actually difficult to have the ability to fly paragliding so excessive,” mentioned Spanish paraglider Horatio Llorens.
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The skinny air at that altitude solely holds a couple of third of the oxygen as air at sea stage. Fast ascent can imply a sudden lack of consciousness, in keeping with Purple Bull. So the boys flew with a relentless stream of additional oxygen by masks. Oxygen saturation displays alerted the boys if ranges have been too low forcing each to abort the flight.
“Going from 5,000 m to eight,000 m in an hour is excessive,” mentioned de Dorlodot. “Your physique is just not made for that.”
Provides have been additionally scarce and rationed as a result of landslides cutoff street entry. The boys handled themselves to an egg and one potato on flight days.
As soon as they acquired to K2’s face, they rode the wind. The sturdy horizontal winds at altitude slam into the mountain and are pressured up. Sadly winds have been comparatively gentle, so the pair couldn’t make it over K2’s peak. They did make it to 24,858 toes.
The group even stayed an additional week to strive the flight once more. However nature nonetheless didn’t present. The group returned victorious although with a documentary.
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“This sort of footage has by no means been seen earlier than. To shoot this high quality even 5 years in the past wouldn’t have been attainable,” de Dorlodot instructed Purple Bull. “It was simply us – no digicam crew of helicopters serving to out – they do not even go above 6,000 m on this a part of the world!”
The world document for the best paragliding flight was over Broad Peak, the close by mountain. The pilot reached 27,582 toes. Paragliders have launched from Mt. Everest earlier than after mountain climbing their gear up and descending, however have by no means flown over. Mount Everest is the world’s highest peak at 29,028 toes.
K2 is a part of the Karakoram Vary which spans China, Pakistan and Kashmir. K2 is the image given to Mount Godwin Austen as a result of it was the second peak surveyed within the vary, in keeping with Britannica.com.