POKHARA, Sept 2: In yet another lifetime opportunity in adventure paragliding for Sano Babu Sunuwar, he has been selected to take part in a world record-breaking event of climbing and flying from the tallest mountain on the African continent.
Sunuwar, who together with his friend Lakpa Tsheri Sherpa successfully paraglided from Mt Everest down to sea level in a summit-to-sea attempt last year, has been selected for a group of some 200 adventurers from around the world to paraglide from the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, known as the “Roof of Africa”. The mountain is 5,859 meters high.
The group, selected from over 5,000 applications, will climb the mountain and fly from its top down to the sea level.
“It is really a matter of pride for a Nepali paraglider to be selected for such a world event,” said Sunuwar, sharing his feelings with this daily. “As the event is being participated by select adventure pilots from around the world, it will further help Nepal and Pokhara gain recognition in tourism circles,” he added
According to Sunuwar, he will be leaving for Tanzania on January 14, 2013 to join the adventure paragliding expedition dubbed “Wings of Kilimanjaro”. It will be held between February 6-8.
He further informed that the expedition is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity as Tanzania is lifting an existing ban on paragliding at Mt. Kilimanjaro. The expedition is expected to raise over a million rupees for charity.
“I came to know about the expedition through the internet and filled up an online form to express my interest. Luckily, I got selected," informed Sunwar. He said he felt even more proud and privileged as the full entry fee of 5,000 US dollars was waived for him.
The organizers waived the fee for Sunuwar because he won the National Geographic World People´s Choice Award for Adventurer of the Year for 2012 for his successful Summit-to-Sea tandem paragliding attempt from Everest. “I did not have to pay the entry fee, which would have been impossible for me, as I am the current winner of the adventurer award,” said he.
Sunuwar, 29, is from Ramechhap and has been working as a tandem flight pilot for Pokhara-based Blue Sky Paragliding Company since seven years. He will make a tandem flight from the top of Kilimanjaro.
According to Sunuwar, paragliding at the African mountain will be even riskier thought it is lower in height than Mt Everest. “As the air pressure will be higher on Killimanjaro, it will be riskier to glide from atop it. However, if luck favors me, I will succeed in my attempt,” said Sunuwar.
Sunuwar also expressed a desire to paraglide from the tallest mountains on all seven continents. “People try going from lower to higher but I am doing just the opposite as I have already done the tallest mountain and am now embarking on lower ones,” he said.
Recently, Sunuwar was also included in preliminary selection for joining elite pilots for the world´s most spectacular race -- the 2013 Red Bull X-Alps.