Paragliding Pakistan at Altitudes Over 23,000 Feet

Soaring above these peaks is wilder and more spectacular than anywhere on Earth. Here's why.
By Tarquin Cooper

Paragliding in Pakistan's Karakoram Mountains is unlike anywhere else on Earth.

The sheer size of the mountains is awe-inspiring, being home to some of the highest peaks in the world. It's remote, it's wild, it's brutally cold. And these are precisely the reasons that make it an awesome destination for adventure paragliders.

"You're totally on your own and far from anywhere. It's an amazing place to fly," says Horacio Llorens.

These are the images and footage from this summer's trip with fellow pilots Tom de Dorlodot, Hernán Pitocco and photographer Krystle Wright.

For de Dorlodot, this corner of Pakistan near K2 is like a second home. This was his fifth visit to the region, but the second time all three had gone together.

The goal was to try and break the altitude record and explore some new places to fly. Although de Dorlodot got up to a new personal high of 24,400 feet, he was unsuccessful with the record attempt. Still, they totally scored with the flying.

 

Horacio Llorens doing an acro move in Pakistan
Aerobatic maestro Horacio Llorens in Pakistan © Krystle Wright

"We were like children coming back to paradise," Llorens says. "You can't find flying like this anywhere else in the world. It's just incredible. You're flying surrounded by these 25,000-foot peaks like K2. The place is just amazing."

And also challenging. "You have to concentrate every second of every minute. Here, the valleys don't have roads. There are no hospitals. There is helicopter rescue, but only to 16,000 feet, and it might take 24 hours. If you have to throw your rescue or land on a glacier, you're on your own."

 

But the incredible paragliding made it worthwhile. "We were flying close together, helping and watching each other. It was amazing to fly in a team with these two pilots."

He adds, "I loved flying past Masherbrum, going very far inside icy valleys and flying over the glacier of this amazing mountain, which is super high. I need to come back to this place. It still has a lot to give us."
 

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