News

Himalayan Odyssey: Paragliding team crossing Himalayas

Tuesday 16 March, 2010
Himalayan Odyssey: Behind Barot at over 5,000 m

Himalayan Odyssey: Behind Barot at over 5,000 m

Himalayan guru Brad Sander is currently half way across the Indian Himalayas on the Himalayan Odyssey, an expedition organised by the American. Assembling a team of seven pilots Brad set off along the route on 9 March. (See XCmag’s introduction to it here)

Starting from Dharamshala in northwest India, Brad and his team are making their way eastwards along the Indian Himalaya to Nepal, a route first pioneered in 1999 by XC Mag editor-in-chief Bob Drury and John Silvester and only repeated three times since. The team intend to continue on through Nepal and fly the entire length of the mountainous kingdom to pass back in to India in the state of Sikkim.

Blogging as they go, the team are supported by Llyn Jones who is co-ordinating logistics on the ground and making sure the expedition has everything it needs, including communication with the outside world. The team are all flying with SPOTS enabling us to follow their progress on line.

The SPOT system is a unique tracking facility that uses GPS satellites to fix your position and transmits it every ten minutes. That data is fed in to the web and can be viewed online in Google Maps. SPOT also has a buttons to alert either your friends or the emergency services anywhere in the world that you need assistance. Click here to read more and buy a SPOT.

Himalayan Odyssey is raising awareness about the plight of the Himalayan vultures whose numbers have been devastated in recent years after human inoculation of livestock with the drug Diclofenac has turned out to have fatal effects on the birds that then eat the animals as carrion.

At the time of writing the team are in the mountainous state of Uttaranchal heading into the Garhwal Himalaya. Nanda Devi (7,817m), the highest peak in India, will have to be circumnavigated in the next few days before the team arrives at the border with Nepal. From here there is a 500 km crossing of west Nepal that will be totally unsupported – there are no access roads for the ground crew to follow until just before Pokhara in the centre of the country.

These first sections of west Nepal were the setting for John Silvester’s now cult movie From Nowhere to the Middle of Nowhere and Drury and Whittall’s Kingdom of the Clouds. Both were filmed in 1999. Since then French XC star and co-designer of the Ozone BBHPP, Luc Armant, traversed from Dharamshala to Kathmandu alone in 2006 and the late Philippe Nodet traversed from the border to Jumla. Those pilots aside the skies of this remote kingdom are untouched.

Follow the expedition’s progress online at www.himalayanodyssey.org

Himalayan Odyssey: Antoine Laurens enjpying a bivouac trek

Himalayan Odyssey: Antoine Laurens enjoying a bivouac trek


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