One of paragliding’s all-round stars, Mike Kung (AT), is in the Himalayan kingdom of Nepal at the moment, trekking to the Everest base camp region where he will attempt to fly up the south face of Lhotse and gain the world altitude record for soaring flight.
He is part of a team of eight pilots on the Everest paratrekking Tour 2011.
Rob Whittall (GB) has held the current record since January 1993. It stands at 4,526m, for a flight which topped out at 7,300m in Brandvlei, South Africa.
Mike will use oxygen for the mission, which starts at an altitude of 4,700m on Chukhung Ri. The lapse rate should be high and the spring thermals pumping, and cloudbase could be up to 8,500m. If he gets the opportunity, Mike hopes to get high enough to track back towards the summit of Everest, at 8,848m the highest point on Earth.
Mike will be flying U-Turn’s LTF 2 Airwolf paraglider, which the company say is ideal for the task because of its excellent climbing ability and peformance, combined with a good degree of security to cope with the strong air. Climb rates are expected to be around 10m/s.
Mike is one of the 32 athletes currently preparing for the Red Bull X-Alps 2011, so for him the Paratrekking Tour will serve a dual purpose: the high-altitude trek from Lukla to Chukhung Ri will be excellent training for the gruelling adventure race.
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