Antoine Girard Sets New Paragliding World Record, Reaching 26,762 Feet
The sport of bivvy flying — a combination of paragliding and camping to carry out a multi-day backcountry expedition — is burly enough for most of us. But French paraglider Antoine Girard, 36, took it to a new level in July. It wasn't so much where Girard flew — through some of the world's tallest and most dangerous peaks like K2 and Gasherbrum IV, in northern Pakistan — but rather how high he flew, specifically 8,157 meters, or 26,762 feet, a new paragliding world record. He was able to achieve the rare and dangerous height (above 26,000 feet is considered "the death zone") courtesy of thermals coming off the high rock faces of nearby Broad Peak, the 12th highest mountain in the world. Interestingly, Girad didn't have a record in mind when he rode the thermal. Nor was luck necessarily on his side — as he watched his altimeter climb, he tried to hook up supplemental oxygen only to realize he'd neglected to connect a critical tube.
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