Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Flying Off Everest, by Dave Costello

Dave Costello writes about two intrepid Nepalis, Lakpa Tsheri Sherpa and Sano Babu Sunuwar, who on short notice decide to be the first to paraglide off the summit of the world's highest mountain and descend all the way to the Bay of Bengal via paraglider and kayak, in Flying Off Everest: A Journey from the Summit to the Sea. The plot thickens, as Lakpa does not know how to kayak, or even swim, yet will face a tough series of rapids descending the Dudh Kosi, while Babu has only previously tried a trekking peak once, but retreated from the summit with altitude sickness. Also, they decide six weeks before the 2011 Everest pre-monsoon climbing season to pull off this feat, starting with little cash or climbing equipment, without an appropriate paraglider, or even a kayak. What follows is an amazing adventure, with good faith, good friends, great luck, and determination accomplishing the seemingly impossible.

Costello does a favor to the Everest literature, as so many modern Everest books lack the adventure once associated with the world's highest mountain. Similarly, he tells a story of Nepalis (one Sherpa, and one "Sherpa, " err... Rai) doing great things on their home turf, with the Western climbers, for once, in the background. He hashes out the story in all its complex details, with Lakpa and Babu at times working together and others against each other, with their friends and contacts within the adventure sports community both helping the pair and themselves, while often at odds with each other. This is a story not to be missed. You're going to like it!

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