Crossing Dreams my feel back on 2580km solo across himlaya
How to explain a such adventure on a post in a blog? A book would not be enough to really share with you what really happened. Lot of bad and good emotions, meetings landscape, paragliding situations... It was a real Adventure with a big A.
I’m not going to try to explain everything here. This is just a quick overview of 60 days across Himalaya (Tajikistan, Pakistan, India and Nepal). 60 days but a big piece in my life.
I’ve started the 4 September 2022 from Dushanbe (Capital of Tajikistan). I flew 600km in the country. It was my first time there and I was very surprise by the kindness of everyone I’ve meet. Amazingly welcoming humans.
Unfortunately, the terrain and the weather were much less welcoming and I had few situations I will never forget. During my warmup in Dushanbe I witness a terrible accident when a Russian pilot crash and die just in front of me. I had to “organize” the rescue and I took 2 days of rest to think and get back in my adventure. It was the start and it was hard.
I’ve meet tourism agencies, military officer and important politics before to start my journey.
They all said:
-“Good luck you go alone and if anything happen you are alone there we can’t provide you rescue above 4000m don’t expect any help from us” (I fly a lot higher)
-“Don’t go on the Kirgiz border there is military tension.” (I’ve a big peace on this border)
- “Don’t get closer than 10km from Afghanistan border. Taliban are shooting everything that’s move” (I must fly really near the 10km from this border)
-“Take care on the way up to Rasht valley there is lot of extremism religion.” (I like to fly there)
-“Take care of the Bear and the Wolf” (those are everywhere)
-“In Pamir 60 peoples get killed last month in the street by locals citizen and government couldn’t do anything so by nice with local.” (I like to finish there…)
Well it was a lot of bad news and I went straight in to it. The weather was horrible and I was very lucky to make some exceptional flights in those conditions. When you are really high up you can forget about the potential trouble of our world. Well I was not always really high up.
When you are low down you are really thinking a lot! On the ground (all high up in the mountains), I had some very great meeting with local shepherd and hunter. The landscape was breath taken nonstop.
Finally, I gave up with Tajikistan after a Bear visit my tent at midnight and he was much louder than me. I’m pleased he didn’t want to eat me and I could stop the Tajikistan part before it went to wild. This day 24 military get killed at the border where I flew 7 days earlier…
It was 15 days in Tajikistan I flown 600km in 28h of flight and I’ve walked 1000m high difference only.
8h of jeep, 1 big disco party with my Tadjik friends and 5 planes later I was in Pakistan mountains.
What a pleasure to meet again all my friend in Islamabad Gilgit and Hunza. I didn’t get the flying permit and I will have to fly discreetly high and fast. After few days of warmup and great time with friends I started despite the bad weather. Somehow, I get lucky and I could fly big distance over wild glaciers area, valleys and summits over 7000m. I stayed stuck 4 days in the mountain with snow and I was running out of food and water. Finally a magic flight across the mountains in the north of the Shandur valley. I pass at 6400m and I could glide to Booni (Afghanistan border). My very good friends were waiting for me at the landing. We had a great dinner all together. The day after I went back up in the mountains with them. They are pilot and they follow me during the first 2 hours of flight. I made again some great flights and stayed stuck again in the mountain few days. This time in great company of the shepherd from Upper Grunjur village. Thanks guys. Back to Hunza I took one day to rest and coach the local paragliding club. I had 0 bad situation neither with the flight, the politics or the nature. What a dream Pakistan part!
It was 13 days in Pakistan I flown 555km in 21h of flight and only 600m of high difference by walk in total.
By car and bus to Islamabad Lahore and back up in the mountain towards Bir Billing in India.
Stuck 9 days under very bad weather before I could start my Indian journey. Luckily, I have many good friends in Bir Biling (Tibetans colony not fare from the Dalai lama house where I could fly above). I’ve spent my parawaiting with great peoples playing Ping-Pong, Pools and enjoying the rhythm the food and the culture of the village.
Finally, the sun show’s up again and I could go back alone to my adventure. Late October the flying conditions was again humid and slow. It was mentally hard as I was dreaming of big flights. In another hand, soft condition makes it much safer so I was ultra-relax all the way.
Well, relax to not get hurt, but stressed to land down the valley. I was concentrated to not make mistake and to not lose the thermal lift. Slow condition also forced me to make smaller flights so I could have much more meetings and adventure among the way. So many situations with vultures and monkeys, so many nights with shepherds and villagers. What a trip. I arrived on the Nepal boarder the 19 October 2022. After 500km of slaloming between massive cumulonimbus and giant mountains. The landscape was indescribable.
It was 17 days in India I flown 655km in 29h of flights and walked only 600m!
When I landed at the Nepal border I was super high I could glide to the next mountains in Nepal in less than 10 minutes. But “politics reason” forced me to land and I’ve made the 20h detour on the crazy Himalayan road trip. I pass the border in Banbassa and back up north to the Nepal mountains.
I knew very well Pakistan and India but Nepal was almost new for me. I put it on the paper as a dream and also for my sponsors. But deep inside me I was not so optimist. I didn’t even prepare the Nepal adventure. I thought I was going to give up before!!! What a surprise. I’m here and I didn’t give up! I was not ready I had no flight plan. Lost in Himalaya.
Flying rules are hardcore in Nepal. There is no way to get flying authorization for crossing the country. If the police catch me they may keep all my flying equipment and fine me. But the situation was worse than usual! The all country was under special flying interdiction. Government and military were fighting each other and shut down the all flying activities even the pro pilot and tandem business of the country. I arrived just at this moment.
However, I was not going to give up! I fly high fast and discretely, It was big chance to pass like a ghost.
First day in Nepal I woke up at 2h, drove 3h jeep into the mountain. I can’t make much effort as I still have a sciatic pain since more than 4 months. So, I hired a porter to help me carry my bag 1500m higher to the potential takeoff. On the way up, I’ve made unforgettable meetings with kid’s, workers mommy and old man. I’ve eaten new fruits from a tree I could never know the name and it was super good. This day I flown in supposed very hard place and it felt super easy. I landed exhausted and extremely happy.
After 4 days I have to land in the middle of one of the longest flights of the adventure. It was to avoid trouble flying above the cities of Pokhara. I land next to a road and run into the first bus. In the bus, feeling out of trouble, I call my local contact and he told me: “The flying restriction are gone you can keep flying.” Whaaaatttt!! I was trying to contact him all the day from the sky and I was now in a bus super mad of the mistake! Well, paragliding was still forbidden for me as I’m not a pro Nepali tandem pilot and tourism flight was still forbidden…
Well I went back up in the mountains flying one of the craziest flights of my life. 25 kilometer all in to clouds from 1800m high all the way to 3000m behind in the mountains. I land on a treking route at Kori Hill. What a chance. I was so happy, even 5 days of rains at 4000m up didn’t change my feelings. Every time the sky clears up a bit I could see the Annapurna just in front of me.
From here it’s only 418km to the goal.
Finally, I’ve taken off above clouds and flew many kilometers above and trough big and nice white clouds. From here it took me 5 days, 5 flight and 5 amazing night in the mountain sometime alone and sometimes in company I will never forget. The last flights were unbelievable. It’s November the winter is coming and the conditions looks impossible. But the glider we have nowadays and the chance make me realize miracles and I could reach my goal. I’m still so impressed by what we human can do with a glider. I didn’t even know I could flight in those conditions. I was crying passing above my goal in Taplejung ouest Nepal.
I’m crying when I write this text. I told you there is no way I can really describe what I’ve been through and how happy I am.
It was 16 days in Népal I flown 849km in 39h of flights and walked 4800m!
TOTAL NUMBERS: It was 60 days, 4 countries, 2580km, 113h of flight, 7000m of walk 90h of jeep and 11 planes. With 14 days where I covered more than 100km.
In one single adventure I’ve flown facing hundreds of 7000m peaks. I could enjoy the view from 10 of the 14 summits over 8000m of the planet. Nanga Parbat from 70km it’s looks realy close to me because it’s enormous, Dhaulagiri 20km, Annapurna 20km, Manaslu 20km, Cho Oyu 40km, Makalu 40km, Shishapangma 40km, Lhotse 40km, Everest 40km and Kangchenjunga 50km. I was using an app to get the name of the peaks during the flight and what a surprise I had every time I saw names like those among with, Nanda Devi and so many others well known legendary peaks.
In 2013 I flown and enjoying K2, Broad Peak and Gasherbrum I and II.
It has never been a target for me but I’m happy to make this discovery while counting the names… I’ve witnessed the 14 summits view from my paragliding office! BIM y a rien la !
I have a great target for the next adventurers, It would be to fly by all of them in one single trip and to make the detour to really be on them. I was mostly few kilometers away! Guys let’s go! Nothing in the world worth it better…
I will add here down there my daily numbers, my equipment’s list, and my (French) diary.
Love you all
J’ai écrit ce “journal” au jour le jour sur mon telephone et je le copie colle-ici. Sans correction ni changement. C’est plus une archive qu’un journal lisible désoler mais ca intéressera peu être quelque curieux.
I had a list of things that’s could go wrong and a list of things that’s could go better. Finally, the list of things that’s could go better is really short.