Travelling in Nepal has never been so good. The last two months have been a terrific mix of adventure, adrenaline, new experiences and tough challenges. The highlight of the trip has to be meeting record-breaking paragliding pilot, Babu Sunuwar. National Geographic call him Adventurer of the Year and paragliding magazine ‘Cross Country’ have labelled him the Mad Scientist!
The title Adventurer of the Year was earned from being the first person to climb Mt. Everest and fly from the summit where on landing he swapped his wing for a kayak and paddled for a month to the sea. Sleeping rough and eating whatever he could find on the river banks he travelled all the way from Nepal to the Bay of Bengal in India.
He is labelled the Mad Scientist for his brave/calculated and perhaps a little mad flight from the top of Kilimanjaro in 100 kph winds. He was the only pilot out of 68 of the world’s best that hiked to the summit that dared to fly. So when I got invited to his house I of course jumped at the chance to fly with him. After a big party, a large amount of barbequed pig and chatting with paragliding pilots from around the world we got up early and took flight in the skies above his house.
Whilst paragliding from west to east of Nepal, Babu saw the perfect place for a paragliding pilot to build his house… and so he did!
High in the mountains with breath-taking sunsets over the Annapurna’s and great flying conditions he settled with his wife and 2-time Nepali kayaking champion, Susmita Sunuwar. We took off in fierce winds and were soon swooping over the Himalaya in the hot sun. We rose up a thousand meters in the thermals and then Babu took me out into the middle of the valley for some acrobatics. He threw me into a 360-degree spin where we were rotating laterally at great speed, we were horizontal with the wing and pirouetting around it. A pilot on the ground later told me I was rotating at about 60km/hr and experiencing around 2G’s. At one point the parachute was beneath us in a manoeuvre called a wing over. We rotated fast in one direction and then Babu turned us quickly and spun back the other way, all the time he was working hard, really working the glider and throwing it around, we were owning the skies – absolutely terrifying, yet strangely addictive!
Another highlight was our rafting expedition along the Kali Gandaki
It is a river that I have wanted to explore for years due to the remoteness, views and exciting water. I have viewed the gorge from both ends on other expeditions to Nepal but due to a lack of road or path the only way to experience the waters of the Kali Gandaki is a 3-day rafting or kayaking trip. This involves bringing a support raft full of camping and cooking equipment as you need to be fully self-sufficient.
Carving the deepest gorge in the world between Dhaulagiri and Annapurna and named after “Kali” the goddess of destruction, the Kali Gandaki is one of Nepal’s most holy rivers. Beginning its journey high on the Tibetan Plateau the mighty Kali flows through the Himalaya and eventually into Northern India and the Ganges. This will be a great addition to our Nepal tours for 2014
I had the privilege to show some great people around my favourite country and make some lifelong friends. We walked on a 200m thick glacier on our Langtang trek, climbed high to the holy Gosainkunda Lakes, mountain biked on the Annapurna circuit, rafted the Bhote Kosi, kayaked the Sun Kosi, motorcycled into North Western Nepal, bungee jumped and abseiled into huge canyons and so much more!
Thanks to everybody that chose to explore Nepal with Lost Earth Adventures this season and making it such a success.
For more details on our Nepal trips please see our Nepal adventure tours and treks page or sign up to our newsletter for latest developments.