Don’t look down… Trapped by low cloud base and poor weather at the famous flying site of Bir in India in October, Olivier Laugero and Oriol Fernandez headed north to remote and high Zanskar.
This high altitude region, where peaks rise to 7,000m and even the valleys sit at 4,000m, is one of the remotest in India. Geographically connected to the Tibetan Plateau, cloudbase here is super-high. It’s extreme flying, on the edge of what we do.
Taking a taxi to a high altitude launch in Lahaul they pinged off into orbit on a week-long adventure that saw them fly and trek through this remotest of terrains.
Climbing fast through 6,000m and heading towards 7,000m and with no oxygen Olivier became hypoxic. “The cumulus above wants me, talks to me through the radio,” he writes about his climb to 7,450m.
Olivier’s amazing photos grace the front cover of Cross Country issue 151 (Jan/Feb 2014) and are spread across half a dozen pages inside too. It’s an incredible story in an issue that is packed with amazing adventures, including:
Stefan Bocks on a simply incredible 1,000km, two-week solo vol-biv adventure through the heart of Central Asia and the Pamir mountains.
Red Bull X-Alps pilots Tom de Dorlodot and Ferdy van Schelven‘s 800km month-long traverse of New Zealand’s Southern Alps.
Tim-Patrick Meyer‘s traveller’s tale of discovering new sites in Uganda – in the rainy season.
As well as adventure flying we’ve got a real insight into what makes pilots tick. We spoke to one of the best in the business: mountain guide, sports psychologist and Chrigel Maurer‘s master tactician, Thomas Theurillat to get the lowdown on Motivation and how to make it work for you.
He reveals not only some of the secrets behind their Red Bull X-Alps success, but explains how any pilot can adopt some of the techniques and make them work.
Down south it’s been a mega season so far, with records falling like raindrops in South America. Is 400km really the new benchmark distance for the world’s best big distance hunters? Yes it is. We round up the records, from Honorin Hamard‘s distance to goal world record to Burki Martens‘s 397km on an EN B (yes, an EN B) and Tom Weissenberger‘s world record out-and-returns in Chile.
Elsewhere we put the Naked Pilot focus onto photographer Jerome Maupoint – just how does he get those perfect wingover shots?
Plus we talk to French SIV guru Fabien Blanco about new techniques, safety training and how we’ve all got to keep learning as glider design races ahead.
Meteorologist Honza Rejmanek explains heat lows – why the wind can pick up in the afternoon and not die down as expected. While Bruce Goldsmith explores wingovers and examines why they are “deceptively simple”.
Instructor and video reviews guru Greg Hamerton also pitches in this issue – we have his top tips for staying active and stretching yourself in the down season. It’s cold up in the north but there’s still lots to do.
Can we get any more into a magazine? Yes we can. We review MacPara’s Eden 5 (EN B), Ozone’s X-Alps blade the LM5 (is it any good? our reviewer clocked up a 325km flight on it in Brazil in November), Charly’s No Limit full-face helmet and the new Garmin Virb digital camera. Is GoPro gone?
Finally, we top and tail this issue with two moments of bliss.
At the start pilot and filmmaker Jean Baptiste Chandelier introduces us to his new film Touch. Due to be released online on 14 January it’s another perfect offering from this visionary of our sports – he gives us a preview and explains how they made the film in this issue’s Gallery.
And finally at the back Allen Weynberg considers his favourite site – the one closest to his home, and his heart. Sense of Place will leave you looking at the sky and wondering: if home is where the heart is, then where’s mine? It must be in the sky.
Enjoy this packed issue. See you in the air.
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