James Kiwi Johnston is a great writer. He was in Peru last year when Xavier Murillo went missing, and reported on the search for him every day, regularly updating us and thousands of pilots around the world about the search for Xavier.
As many of us know, that ended tragically, and it was with a heavy heart that we said thanks to Kiwi and asked him to keep in touch.
A little over a year later an email pinged in from Nick Greece in the USA. “200 miles. Got photos. Kiwi writing the report.”
Kiwi was back, and in much happier circumstances. He was on launch and in the air when Nick Greece and John Hunt successfully flew 200 mountain miles in the USA this season. A stalwart of the Rocky Mountain scene himself, he was perfectly placed to review what had just happened.
It wasn’t just that Nick and John had flown such incredible flights – at heights of up to 18,000 ft across uninhabited deserts and wild mountains – it was that they had been part of a wider push to get that particular job done.
The States was alive this year with pilots trying to break the 200 mountain mile mark. And as a longtime pilot and a talented writer Kiwi was the right guy in the right spot at the right time.
The report he sent us covers not only Nick and John’s record flights, but stretches back to the early days of flying these remote and rugged landscapes, when your only friends on launch were the eagles climbing above you and the clouds at 6,000m. It covers the scene across the Rocky Mountains, opening up what has historically been a close, tight-knit community of pilots to wider, international attention.
“Let me know what you think, but soon,” Kiwi said when he filed his article. “I’m off to the Burning Man festival, so I’ll be out of touch.”
The result is an amazing selection of Nick Greece’s best photos from his record flight, paired with an inspiring and enlightening story from a unique writer.
Out now in Cross Country Magazine 143.
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