From Everest to the Sea: The Ultimate Descent


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Proud of your summer paddling feat? That’s peanuts compared to Nepal’s Sano Babu Sunuwar and Lakpa Tsheri Sherpa’s Ultimate Descent, going from the highest place on earth to the sea in one continuous non-motorized descent, with kayaks playing the final role…

Combining climbing, paragliding and paddling, the duo completed the feat up Everest, paragliding off, and then paddling to the Bay of Bengal in two months.

After reaching the 8,848-meter summit of Mt. Everest on May 21 (Babu’s first climb over 6000 meters), the two then launched a tandem paraglider off the top, breaking the sport’s world altitude record. The duo then flew cross-country on a 5,000-meter plus descent, landing at an airstrip in Namche Bazaar, completing the first crosscountry flight off Everest or in the Khumbu region.

After a few days rest they continued on for three more days of hiking and flying until they reached the base of the Himalayas and the headwaters of the Koshi River, where kayaks – and carnage — came into play.

At this point they were joined by fellow kayaker Krishna Sunuwar and a team from Paddle Nepal to begin the kayaking portion of the trip — traversing more then 500 km. of waterways all the way down to the Bay of Bengal.

The team from Paddle Nepal escorted them through the Class V rapids of the Koshi and into India. In all, the three paddlers spent 26 days paddling down the stretch, often in the pouring monsoonal rain.

While rapids caused swims and portages, the trio also suffered from infections on their hands and even a robbery along the banks of the Ganges.

Then, on June 27 at 1:30 pm, they reached the currents of The Bay of Bengal, marking the first time any of them had ever seen the ocean, completing their Ultimate Descent, going from, as Sunuwar puts it, “From where the water begins, at the supreme source to where it divides, to where the water unites with all rivers to become one with the ocean…”



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