World’s First: Paragliding from Everest’s Peak, Then Kayaking to Indian Ocean
by Mike Richard | December, 2013
I think we can all agree that summiting Mount Everest is passé. Am I right? In 2011, two Nepalis – Sanobabu Sunuwar and Lakpa Tshiri Sherpa – agreed. So they decided to up the stakes by paragliding from Everest’s summit, then immediately taking a near 500-mile kayaking trip along the Ganges River to the Indian Ocean.
The resulting trip didn’t exactly go as planned, but it made from one helluva newsworthy ride …
The two men tackled some of the most dangerous terrain and powerful rivers in the world without sponsors and without permits. Their story won the 2012 National Geographic Adventurers of the Year award.
The duo slapped a basic plan together, and began their ascent of Everest, while borrowing food, supplies and cramped shelter from other expeditions.
Five days into their ascent, with dwindling supplies, Sunuwar and Sherpa began the climb into Everest’s death zone — above 26,000 feet. As they approached the summit, the men were in short supply of oxygen. At that point, turning back was not an option. The only way home was the paraglider.
In short order, the journey that followed saw the men: chased by the Nepalese army; their boat capsized; they were robbed; and forced to survive in the jungle with only local fruit to subsist on.
Two months after jumping from the peak of Mount Everest, Sunuwar and Sherpa finally ran out of land to explore, and became the first people ever to complete the descent from Everest’s summit to the Indian Ocean.
In a time when it’s increasingly rare to hear of true “world’s first’s”, these men accomplished a truly awe-inspiring feat.
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About the Author
Vagabondish founding editor, Mike Richard, is a Rhode Island native, professional web designer and travel junkie with an unhealthy addiction to backpacking, hiking and seeing the world. He enjoys knit hats, small, declarative sentences and speaking in the third person. His professional credits include "Woman's World magazine contributor" and having once been interviewed by Tyra Banks (seriously).