Battling through life threatening storms and lightning strikes, Antoine Girard has set the record straight. The adventure enthusiast soared above the highest mountain in the world. The french paraglider flew up to 8,157 meters above the Broad Peak located in the northern areas of Pakistan, higher than anyone has flown before.
The 36 year old paraglider’s aim was to travel at least a thousand kilometers through Pakistan’s highest peak in a travel method called the ‘Bivvy Flying.’ A combination of camping and paragliding. However, Antoine Girard faced a lot of hurdles including his friend and teammate Nelson De Freyman who had to cancel his trip due to visa complications. This did not stop the enthusiastic paraglider as he decided to complete this astonishing feat all by himself. Girard set out on foot from Skardu towards Himalaya and Karakorum, the world’s most dangerous mountain peaks.
Over the course of this trip, Antoine Girard encountered various grueling challenges, threatening his life. He encountered a storm near Nanga Parbat, wherein, he had to find shelter, huddled against a huge rock. The storm continued for the next 60 hours making it difficult for Antoine to move around or set up his camp. Many other times, due to weather unpredictability he was forced to fly into scudding cloud banks over tall passes and glaciers navigating by GPS only. The French paraglider recounts, that he came extremely close to hitting ground with a mere distance of 10 meters above Mazeno Pass, covered and shrouded in clouds. He traveled around 1,250 kilometers through some of the most fearsome mountains including K2, Rakaposhi and Masherbrum.
Antoine Girard on his mission to accomplish the impossible decided to climb above a glacier, near the slopes of Broad Peak. As he glided over the 12th highest mountain in the world, he realized that the complicated thermals (upward current of warm air) coming off the high rock faces would in fact allow him to travel higher than 7,000 meters. Making use of the powerful thermal, he wound his way up, past steep ridges and eventually higher than the peak itself. Below, the rugged white mountains and glaciers spread out beneath him. Finally, he soared at 8157 meters, setting a world record.
With this rare feat, Antoine Girard faced health problems too, including painful frost bite on fingers and excessive weight loss. After seeking medical attention, the adventure enthusiast headed back home to Valence, France. Antoine Girard is now one of the selected 10 honorees, for people’s choice ‘Adventure of the Year Award’.
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The original post was created by National Geographic