Paragliding in Pakistan

The mountains of Pakistan have been my holy grail (or should I say, Mecca!) for at least ten years. At xalps Antoine said they’d made it harder with permissions and you couldn’t get away with it as the authorities would follow you and be there when you land. So when I heard of a new competition in Pakistan, supported by the government, I thought I better take this chance while I can. The competition was in the “foothills” (still higher than anything in Australia or New Zealand) but of course my main motivation was to explore the bigger peaks.

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Winter in Brisbane

After the excitement of xalps, I’m now back to work, “on the bench” forecasting weather for the aviation industry from the new office in Brisbane. My shifts are day, day, night, night and then 4-5 days off, on a 9 day roster – so plenty of time off missions in southeast Queensland. I was denied a job in Antarctica due to staff shortages in my current role, but on the upside it’s not a bad lifestyle here – winter in southeast Queensland!

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Red Bull X-Alps 2019 day 12

Day 12 was the last day of the race. Having declared my night pass, I began at 3am (after an “early” night, it helped me escape the heat) and hiked to a high point to glide in the direction of Mt Viso. A thermal flight before the midday race finish was aborted due to stronger than expected northerly winds. I later flew down and rejoined my supporters, and we camped in Southern France. The next day I enjoyed a quick sight seeing flight in the incredible heat wave conditions on the way to Monaco for the party. We then spent a night in Milan and Munich to complete our trip in Europe.

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Red Bull X-Alps 2019 day 11

Day 11 began in the famous Chamonix valley. First up a hike and glide to Mt Joly, west of Mont Blanc, then the heat wave continued as I pieced together a high route to St Hilaire, tagging it at the end of the day after a couple of hikes to get over high passes and a whole day flying completely alone in the mountains.

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Red Bull X-Alps 2019 day 10

Day 10 started with a hike to a snowy pass and a beautiful glide down to the slopes of Niesen, one of Switzerland’s most famous paragliding sites. Another hot and sunny day and barely anyone around, for the most part I had the skies to myself as I flew towards France. I wasn’t able to get a climb after crossing the Rhone valley so I had to hike up for an evening flight into Chamonix.

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