2018 has already kicked off in style, with athletes embarking on big projects from the Andes to Africa. Here’s a selection of what some are up to…
As you read this, Antoine Girard, back from his devastating knee injury, is flying unchartered terrain from Chile to Peru up the spine of the Andes. The Frenchman set off at the beginning of February with Martin Beaujouan. Their goal? To cover 3,000km, self supported in 60 days.
“We go to the unknown,” Antoine told us before setting off. “The project is long, almost 3,000km and needs two months to achieve it. We want to optimize the time and avoid walking too much (which my knee would not allow anyhow!)”.
The pair plan three stages, each with about 15 days worth of food and supplies. It will be a real challenge, flying on the sea breeze, not knowing whether take-off and landing sites are possible, or how the local weather behaves or where to find water. “Working together will be important,” adds Antoine. “We’ll see if it’s possible or not!” You can follow the guys on their live tracking feed here.
Richard Brezina meanwhile is a reminder that athletes who may not have reached goal or finished in the top 10 are still doing incredible things. “Last year I set the (cross-country) record for Kyushu (this part of Japan) of 120km. I’m keeping in shape with about 60km of mountain walking and running per week,” he adds. “For my two-week winter holiday, I visited Australia, where I flew about 1,350km of XC in 10 days, including my foot-launch personal best of 250 km.” (To see his flights, head over to doarama.com and search for kanbayashi.) February to May is the best time for cross-country in Japan and he’s looking forward to that.
A lot of athletes are focused on competition. Last month saw a few x-alpers at the PWC in Colombia, including Stanislav Mayer, who finished up 18th. “It was really good for me,” he said. The same could not be said for Aaron Durogati who finished 70th. Other familiar names taking part included 2015 athletes Clement Latour and Stephan Kruger.
A couple of athletes looking at both competition and adventures this year include Gavin McClurg and Chrigel Maurer. “I’ve been to Mexico twice now for comps,” Gavin tells us. He’s heading out to Australia this month for the world cup, then plans some speed flying and skiing adventures in British Columbia and a ski traverse of the Big Lost range in Idaho in April. He’s then got a big hike and fly project lined up for May, which is all hush hush at the moment.
On Maurer’s sights is Ironfly, X-Pyr and some other hike and fly comps. “In September I hope to fly from Kilimanjaro,” he says.
He’s not the only one. David Liano, one of the most active adventurers from 2017, is heading to Tanzania early March with the same goal in mind. “I did it already as part of the 7 summits and always wanted to go back and fly off the summit,” he tells us. “Technically it’s not a difficult climb although the altitude can be difficult. Launching from the summit can be challenging, I hope it will be a fun descent – it’s just a 20km glide.”
David doesn’t plan on staying grounded for long. He has plans to undertake one of the most ambitious challenges ever undertaken in the Himalayas. He’ll be revealing details of that shortly but it promises to be an epic summer for him.
Not everyone is looking for epic. To check out Tom de Dorlodot’s feed is a reminder that it’s also about having fun in cool places. He’s currently sailing around the Canary Islands and recently sent us some pictures that make us want to jump on the next plane out there. “The Canary islands are a perfect getaway destination during winter,” he says. “It’s summer here and only three hours flight from central Europe.”
Photos © zooom / Honza Zak, zooom / Vitek Ludvik, zooom / Harald Tauderer, zooom / Sebastian Marko