Posted on: June 1, 2007

Philippe Nodet paragliding past the west face of Trango Tower (6286m), Karakoram, Pakistan. [Photo] Philippe Nodet

In September 2006, Philippe Nodet and Julien Wirtz executed a 500-kilometer cross-country flight over Pakistan's Karakoram. "We got lifts up to 7200 meters and flew over peaks like the Trango towers!" remembers Nodet. The pair managed the flight in ten days, five of which were grounded by weather. Twenty-six years earlier, Americans Galen Rowell, Dan Asay, Kim Schmitz and Ned Gillette had taken fifty days—forty of them on skis—to cover a similar distance in the same range. Might the French have found a better way to travel? Perhaps; but the Americans, who, according to Rowell's account in The American Alpine Journal, purchased a fine white substance atop one of the first passes, will always hold the record for the first cocaine-assisted traverse.

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