Last fall I was apart of a paragliding expedition that was the first of it’s kind in US. Six of the world’s best Cross Country Pilots attempted the longest vol-biv (a French term translated to mean “camping” and “flying”) paragliding expedition in North America. The goal was to be the first to fly the full length of the Sierra mountains across such landmarks as the Owens Valley, Mammoth Mountain, across the edge of Yosemite Valley, Mono Lake, Lake Tahoe and up through the Warner Range into Oregon, an uninterrupted distance of 800 kilometers. Reaching altitudes of nearly 18,000 feet, the team experienced brutally cold temperatures and carried everything needed to survive- food, water, and navigation equipment for extended periods in their flying harnesses. Every mile of the route was flown by at least one member. When possible the team would top land at high altitude at or near a place that would be suitable to launch from the next day, camping under the stars and planning the next route of the journey. After 19 days, and with 3 members remaining the group reached their goal and set a new bar for the possibilities of cross country paragliding.
In an attempt to honor this expedition and to shed some light on the magic, beauty and reality of the sport of paragliding in general, here is a slideshow of the trip. Hope you enjoy it!