Since I first attended a presentation where Bear Grylls recounted his summit climb and conquest Everest, I have watched his progress with fascination and admiration. After after breaking his back in three places when a parachute jump went badly wrong, this SAS soldier (now retired) was offered the opportunity by a friend to climb Everest. After his recovery, he decided to give it a go and ended up climbing the summit of Everest at the age of 23.
Not content with this achievement he teamed up with Giles Cardoza of Parajet and with the backing of GKN decided to fly over the hill all over again, this time by Paramotor. Quite a tall order but feasible – just!
15/5/2007 Mission Everest success
Bear Grylls, supported by the GKN Mission Everest team, has become the first man to fly over Mount Everest by powered paraglider.
The flight happened during the morning of Monday, May 14th when a lull in the winds which rage around Everest gave them a window of opportunity.
Bear Grylls and fellow pilot Giles (Gilo) Cardozo achieved take off from the GKN Mission Everest base camp situated at 14,500 feet in Nepal. They were both flying specially developed paramotors each with a large wing emblazoned with the GKN logo.
Watching them leave, and helping with the preparations, was a group of more than 20 GKN employees who had trekked on foot to the Mission Everest base camp. Also there was GKN’s own Wolfram Messner who was part of the small GKN Mission Everest flight team and whose primary role was managing voice and video communications from the base camp to GKN and the media.
Bear and Gilo then flew successfully to 28,000 feet when a fault in Gilo’s machine forced him to abort only 1,000 feet below the summit and he had to glide back to safety. Bear continued to ascend until, at 0933 local time, he reached 29,500 feet and was able to look down on Everest as he circled above some of the most famous peaks in the Himalayas.
Then his own engine developed problems and he too had to glide back to safety but he had achieved his goal.
Kevin Smith, Chief Executive of GKN which had sponsored the record breaking project said today:
“This is a stunning achievement and we are all proud to have played a part in Bear’s adventure.
“Let us all draw inspiration from his courage and go on to complete our own Mission Everest challenge – to raise an extra $1 million for those in need in our own communities and in Africa.”
Let’s not forget Gilo in this. He might have had an engine failure 1000′below the summit but – what a failure and what a location! It is rumored that Everest doesn’t brook the presence of those that arrive without the wisdom of Solomon or the courage of a lion. Tall mountains, tall people.