Red Bull X-Alps

Big summer plans for Tom de Dorlodot

He’s one of the most active athletes from the Red Bull X-Alps – and this year he’s busier than ever. Discover Tom de Dorlodot’s big plans for 2016.

© Tom de Dorlodot, SEARCH Projects

There’s a reason why he’s nicknamed Tom ‘does-a-lot’. Tom de Dorlodot has one busy schedule for the next few months – and it’s kicking off right now as he heads to the African island of Madagascar for a five week trip. Then in June and July he’s off to Pakistan with photographer Krystle Wright, his fifth time flying in the Karakoram. He’ll be back to spend the summer months touring around Europe, living out of a ‘tiny house’ he’s building at the moment.  

“We will travel with a tiny house and fly as much as possible. It’s the old philosophy that less is more, light is right – the nomadic lifestyle that we love,” he says. Then in the fall he’s got a big hike and fly project planned in Albania that’s still under wraps. 

But first up is the trip to Madagascar with Horacio Llorens and Theo de Blic. “It’s a country with perfect flying conditions,” he says. “Wind is coming from the sea everyday and there’s always a very high potential for flying. When we crossed Africa people were always saying you have to go to Madagascar, it has these perfect grassy hills and big mountains. Islands are always interesting.”

“It’s a continuation of our Search Project going in search for most beautiful places on earth to fly.” Also going is the photographer John Stapels and Tom’s little brother. 

“The plan is quite simple; we’re going to try to fly in the most beautiful places and come back with nice footage. We’ll be going to the jungle, mountain, desert and there will be lots of hiking! I know from local pilots the distance record is 100k. For sure we will go and break some records and open some new lines.

”Pakistan is next. Tom describes it as his second home having visited the last four years in a row. In previous years he’s always gone with a heavy production team in tow but this time the goal is to go light and really focus on the flying around Hushe, a town near K2. “Here the plan is to fly as high as possible, it can be more than 7,000m and we’ll be flying with oxygen. Also I have a dream for quite a long time to land on a virgin mountain top. I would love to land on a 5,000m or 6,000m that hasn’t been climbed and put a name on it. That would be really cool.” 

At the time of writing, he was talking to fellow Red Bull X-Alps athlete Ferdy van Schelven about also joining. The pair crossed New Zealand together in 2013. 

Throughout March Tom was working on the tiny house he’s building in preparation for the summer road trip around Europe. “It’s like a cabin, we’re making it with recycled wood,” he says. 

“In the States and Canada, if you Google @tinyhousemovement, you’ll see there’s a big community of people building tiny houses. The concept is a bit like combis, we’ll park on a landing field say in Spain, spend 10 days there and then go to Zermatt and fly around there.”

“I’d love to spend some time in the Dolomites, in the Austrian Alps and maybe go all the way to Slovenia,” he adds. “In the end, we fly all around the world but the Alps is still the best and the most beautiful playground.” Follow Tom’s adventures via Instagram and Facebook.