Everest and Nuptse by Stevehicks on Flickr
Nepali tandem paraglider pilot Babu Sunuwar, 29, and climber Lakpa Tshering Sherpa, 35, summited Everest on Saturday and descended via paraglider, according to flying magazine Cross Country. The pair flew over 20 kilometers, crossing the flank of Nupste and the summit of 5,806-meter Pokalde Peak before landing 42 minutes later in the town of Namche Bazaar. The flight completes the first leg of their summit-to-sea attempt, in which they plan to climb Everest, then fly, bike, and kayak to sea level in Bangladesh.
The news comes after two other flying descents off Everest were aborted this season. Briton Squash Falconer, who was attempting to become the first woman to solo pilot a paraglider off Everest, scrapped her aerial descent because of high winds and low visibility. Brazilian Rodrigo Raineri, who planned to hang-glide from the summit, abandoned his summit bid after experiencing frostbite on his toes in C4.
AIn other news, alpinist.com reported a speed record on Everest, claiming that American guide Michael Horst summited both Everest and nearby 8,516-meter Lhotse in just 21 hours. After summiting Everest on May 14, Horst reportedly decended to C4 for an afternoon of rest before traversing the South Col and summiting Lhotse. Alpinist believes this makes him the first person to climb two 8,000-meter peaks in a single day.
Other notable summits this week include RMI Guide Dave Hahn, who notched summit number 13 on Friday, and Outside blogger Alan Arnette, who summited for the first time with a team from International Mountain Guides. High winds forced Edurne Pasaban, the first woman to summit the world's 8,000-meter peaks, from C4 back to basecamp. Pasaban is currently trying to re-summit Everest, this time without supplemental oxygen. Her team was regrouping over the weekend before deciding their next move.
As the 2011 Everest season begins coming to a close, Outside will continue to cover the headlines from the mountain.