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Paragliding with Masherbrum (7821m) in the background.
Photo by archive Tom de Dorlodot

Paragliding around Masherbrum

04.11.2009 by Planetmountain

Ramón Morillas from Spain has set a new altitude world record, flying with a paraglider aided by a paramotor to circa 7800m, close to Masherbrum. Teammate Tom de Dorlodot from Belgium flew unaided to 6625m

Ramón Morillas and Tom de Dorlodot have recently returned from the Karakorum, where Morillas managed to establish a new paragliding altitude world record: with the help of a paramotor the Spaniard reached a staggering 7800m, flying extremely close to Masherbrum in temperatures down to -30°C.

Belgian teammate Tom de Dorlodot had a great glide, too, flying unaided up to 6625m. Dorlodot stated about his flight: "This flight was very scary because we didn't take oxygen and I suffered the effects of strong hypoxia. I could not see anything... According to the GPS track, I went up from 3600m to 6625m in 11 min in a very strong thermal. It was a pretty bad feeling to be almost blind and flying in between 7000 meter high mountain peaks."

The current record for unaided flying is believed to be held by American Brad Sander, who in June 2008 flew to 7750m on his 250km trip from Booni in the Hindukush to Hunza in the Karakorum.

What is startling about the recent flights is how close the gliders come to the mountains themselves. In fact, Dorlodot stated: "the most dangerous aspect is to fly very close to the mountains. If you have an emergency landing above 6000 meters, the helicopter cannot rescue you... It is super cold and if the oxygen system goes wrong you can loose consciousness very rapidly..."

Check out the video below to get an idea of what it's like to glide close to the these Himalayan giants.

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