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En las Orillas del Cielo

With the world vibrating to the rhythm of the Football World Cup and the spanish streets burning with the celebration of bringing the World Cup home, we were travelling on the opposite direction, towards Pakistan. Our objectives were numerous and ambitious so we needed time, that is why we were going to spend over 50 days in the Karakoram, the largest concentration of  high mountains on the planet, a fantastic place that has four out of the fourteen eighthousanders, dozens of seven-thousand and hundreds higher than the highest on Europe.



Before I continue with the trip’s story let me explain who we were, what we wanted to do and where we based our activity:
We had planned two projects for flying both paraglider and paramotor. We were Thomas de Dorlodot and Ramon Morillas as pilots, Pepe Villen and Ramon Lopez as ground crew and FAI observers. Free Flying we wanted to try to fly bivouac along the Wizer Valley, carry on to Karimabad in the Hunza Valley (which James Hilton idealized in his mythical Shangrila) and finish at Askole village at the foot of the Baltoro Glacier, one of the longest in the Karakoram, around 500km free flying and walking.
With the paramotor our dream was the exploration of the skies in the Broad Peak and K2 zone with high altitude flights amongst glaciers and peaks over 8000 meters.

En las orillas del cielo
The entire expedition team formed by the Spanish female montaineering team, the pilots, the film director and the cameramen.

PAlong with these plans we were going to give air coverage to a team of Spanish female climbers, who were trying to climb several virgin peaks, amongst which were the slender Sebas Tower near Laila Peak and Gondogoro La (col used to get through from Baltoro glacier and Concordia to the Hushe Valley). Our videos and pictures would help them to decide their route to the summit and would serve as a documentary of this unique experience produced by the experienced adventure expedition leader Sebastian Alvaro. In order to attempt such an ambitious project there are many logistic problems and details to resolve, so you need to have control, resolution and experience to face these challenges. To capture high quality footage our great friend and pro cameraman Mariano Izquierdo joined us.

I cannot name all the porters that worked with us, but I can say that without them our expedition would have been impossible,  they are strong men, able to carry 25 kilo loads all day without eating and drinking  since we were there during the Ramadan fasting. And also to the people of Hushe, which is the village from which we would focus our expedition, are kind and loyal and always care for us. My admiration for them.

First act of the play: Four day trip from Granada to Hushe, via Barcelona, Islamabad, the Karakoram Highway and Skardu, an adventure in itself worthy of a book. After sorting out the equipment, filling up the oxygen bottles and buying the gas, we were reasonably happy and ready for action. The paramotors started to roar. The residents of Hushe, whom we had met the previous year, couldn´t wait to see us lift our feet off the ground as eagles. Last year they were literally in shock, and they were excited at the prospect of seeing us again, but alas this year the weather and the story would be very different. The monsoon didn´t stop harassing us by washing away bridges, villages and roads, so a great tragedy started to unfold. Meanwhile in Hushe we were starting to despair after four days of nonstop rain.
Nevertheless I managed to fly twice the same day following the Hushe river course and the Masherbrum glacier to explore and take photos of the Sebas Tower for the climbing expedition. Compared to last year it was a very different kind of flight with low leaden clouds, surrounded by rocky pinnacles and glaciers underneath. Since I couldn´t get above 5000 meters I had to be very cautious, as we say where I come from and for lack of a better expression I was flying with my ass tight. Without suitable landing zones an engine failure or any other emergency that in another place would have no serious consequences, in Pakistan could turn into a disaster. Even so I enjoyed the views of the mountains coming out of the clouds, phantasmagoric scenery that predicted a beautiful expedition but considering the weather very complicated.
The images were greatly received by Simon Elias, leader of the climbing expedition, and while he and Miriam Marco organized and prepared the base camps and their location which would lead them to the summit, the flying team got back to Skardu.

Bivouac flying and floods
Saying farewell to Sebas, Mariano and the girls team, we loaded our friend Mansoor´s jeep and started on our way westward to the Ghizer Valley; two long days saw us through countless villages along the course of the Ghizer river, fertile territory where the river provides life and wealth, but sometimes as it has been the case this year it also tears it down. Enjoying the scenery we could not imagine what was about to happen.
How fragile is the human being when he is confronted with the power of nature!
We couldn´t cope with anymore hours of tracks in the car so just before Shandur Pass, near Booni, we decided to start flying. My brother Juan Morillas provided us with the weather report from Draco office in Granada, saying that next day would be good for flying but the next three days would be rainy. We walked three hours to our first launch. We had as reference Demian´s flights, a friend from Granada that last year took off somewhere around here. As usual we have to improvise take off areas and paths up the mountain sometimes exposed and dangerous. The mountains are so vertical that finding them is difficult so you always end up climbing steep rocks and scree slopes, where a mistake can cost you dear.
We take to the air with weak lift since the sky was overcast so we soar close to the terrain with headwind and way below the summits. We worked hard to avoid going down, sometimes I imagined myself flying from El Remo to Fuencaliente on La Palma Island, with cross wind slipping along the cliffs, and I finally managed to reach Gupis by the lake with the same name, where strong winds forced me to land next to a small village. Tom had landed an hour earlier and I had been dodging cumulus congestus growing all the time. As usual after landing I got surrounded by people who bombarded me with questions and offers of tea, making it difficult to pack my wing.


Flying over Vigne glacier at 6,500m asl, one of the emergency landing spots just before crossing to Concordia.

Everything passes and everything stays
This should have been a story about flying, but our path was to be different. Determined to fly, with 15 days ahead of us, we didn´t mind waiting for three rainy days. Perhaps we didn´t realized that in the Karakoram during the monsoon season weather can always turn for the worst. Amongst mountains so high, deep valleys and incessant rain we could get trapped. That is exactly what happened. The waters rose very fast wiping bridges and sections of the road to Gilgit. The news from the rest of the country was dreadful, every day the number of missing and displaced grew larger, and we were stuck in an Islamic stronghold. To get back now meant leaving behind Mansoor´s car and part of our gear, so we endured the rain hosted by a group of youths that generously welcomed us in their house, sharing Spanish tortillas, soup, and chicken curry. At last we get a sunny day and we are off early, Ramon Lopez, Pepe Villen and our guide Mansoor will try to reach Gilgit by road and Tom and I will try to fly out. Their journey took the whole day and involved rides in seven different vehicles (including various hikes, complicated passes...). Meanwhile we had weak thermals and headwind so our hopes were vanishing like dying clouds. It took me four hours to get to Gilgit with very difficult conditions: Very low, I crossed the 50 km between both towns, with a bird´s view of the floods devastation. That day from the air I started to realize the huge problem the country had. Later we learnt of the catastrophe that has left thousands of deaths and millions of displaced in southern Pakistan.
I would like to point out that I am not surprised that in this valley, pilots like Brad Sanders, Demian Hall, John Sylvester, Julien Wirtz or Philippe Nodet made awesome flights, since we had very bad weather, we could not even get above the summits and had to go very close to the terrain, and we managed to nearly cross the whole valley. I believe it is an ideal place to fly mountain cross country.
To complete the panorama Gilgit was under military control, the previous day saw violent clashes and shootings between Shiites and Sunnis. We could not travel to Hunza since the road was cut off, and the weather forecast gave just one flyable day, so we decided to get out as soon as possible heading to the impressive Shigar Valley, near Skardu. We wanted to fly in the area of Askole village and the Baltoro Glacier.


Glaciar Characusa

Rivers of concrete
The whole night awake travelling on the Pakistani roads, a nice breakfast on the Hotel Concordia at Skardu and there we were, walking up to launch again. Demian had told me that the place wasn´t very good, but we couldn´t look for any other, so we flew over there two inglorious days. An inversion wouldn´t let us through above 3500m and the climbs to launch were as usual vertiginous. At least we had some adventures. The second day Tom made an adventurous flight through the Shigar valley towards Askole, between 3000 and 4000m. Once he landed I advised him to find a way back. While on our way to look for him we heard a loud noise and we saw what looked like a concrete river that cut off the road. I started filming and we were absolutely astonished to find a mud avalanche coming down a glacier valley. I used to think that you can only watch this sort of things on television. Now we had it right in front of us, an irrepressible clay river over 20 meters wide and enormous power pushing rocks as big as cars, devastating with rhythmic pulses like sea waves, anything that stood in its way. At the other side, that very moment Tom turned up on a motorbike. We were in shock, I advised him to climb quickly to the opposite hill. While he was walking up as fast as he could (dusk was approaching), the other travelers trapped on both sides of the concrete river were looking at us in disbelief, what are they expecting to solve going up the mountain? They were probably wondering... In a few minutes Tom was opening his glider, a Gradient Aspen 3, flying over the avalanche and landing next to us. The people couldn´t believe it. What a way to overcome the adversities of nature! A nice happening after so much fatality.

Lost in the Karakoram
We had consumed all the days allocated to free flying and the rest of the team were waiting for us to try the pass to Concordia through the Gondogoro La and shoot the aerial film of the Sebas Tower climbing by the girls. So we went back to Hushe.
My brother Juan told me the weather forecast was bad, a cloud mass was approaching Pakistan from India, leaving incessant rains. In these conditions he couldn´t give us a forecast for more than two days. The NOAA (weather report that flyers use) was only moderately accurate for a couple of days. The locals had it easy their own way: “maybe, maybe not...inchala” which can be translated as “We shall see...”. The news of flooding in the south of the country was getting even more alarming, but luckily in our area, for the time being, there were just material losses. All around us rock avalanches became more frequent, the bridges and roads that would let us return to Skardu had been washed away, and a few days later Tallis village would be swept over by a dirt avalanche like the one we had seen earlier causing a lot of damage and burying 16 people under the mud.
Days passed by between short sunny spells and rain, and in Hushe we decided to fly a few tandems. We took Little Karim on a flight over his village; he was the first local in the area to enjoy a glide in that part of the Karakoram sky. Karim is possibly the best known high altitude porter in Pakistan and one of the most famous in the world. He was recognized because of his strength and courage; he took part in several expeditions to K2, Broad Peak, the Gasherbrums and other high peaks in the area. Several documentaries have been shot about him and you could write a book with his tales about mountains and summits, but I was most impressed by his authenticity and hospitality. When we landed I told him that he was my father in Pakistan and so we are forever related. We also flew with Sebastian Alvaro, he had flown during first few years of paragliding in Spain and he was keen to fly with me and shoot some footage of the village. He is a very nice person and a good companion. As a gift before attacking the summit of the Sebas Tower, we flew with the four girls of the climbing team, four flights in a row for an intense and fun day.
Our next intention was to make a relaxed and progressive approach to the Gondogoro La. First we drew nearer the Sebas Tower base camp. Our plan was: We would carry all the gear overland to Concordia, which would take Sebastian Alvaro and the team five days, but we would do it by air, in two hours flight getting over high cols and glaciers, so having good weather was essential, because the Gondogoro La is nearly 6000m high and Concordia is at the other side, at the intersection of the glaciers Baltoro and Godwen Austen.
We had been studying and preparing this endeavor since last year, when at the end of the expedition to the Nanga Parbat, we came round Hushe to have a look and it was so good, and we got so high that we decided to try out near K2. I had plenty of things to prepare and problems to sort out, but what I needed most was organized back up on the ground, a good launch area and my people ready to help, since as I said earlier there are few emergency landings and flying around without alternatives is very dangerous.


Para una gente que vive casi como en la Edad Media, el paramotor es algo mágico. En la foto, los niños de Hushe reciben a Tom tras un vuelo a 7.000m

Monsoon flying
Launching a paramotor at 4000 m on level ground with constant katabatic winds is difficult. Glaciers send cold air down to the valleys and thermal breezes hardly overcome it, in fact in Golom area, where we were camped, the wind was coming always from the Masherbrum Glacier, which is huge, very steep and by the way when you watch it over several days at different times it seems to be alive. On a cloudy day with some sunny spells, with stars at night or with the moonlight, it always guided me and I never tired of watching it.
As I said launching over there is difficult, especially considering the amount of accessories we carry on our backs; Tom and I joked saying that we only needed a stewardess to be like an airliner; food, water, oxygen, warm clothing, emergency kit, tools, crampons, etc... Lots of important things adding to a total weight of over 50kg on your back at take off. The first few launches left you exhausted, dizzy and out of breath as a fish out of the water. To fail a launch meant to start all over again but you need to recover yourself first. Luckily your body gradually acclimatizes and after a few days we could even fly acro for fun while we waited for higher cloud bases to pass to our desired Baltoro. It was in that period when we flew over Laila Peak, Sebas Tower and I got close to Gondogoro La and the Masherbrum. When it wasn´t raining we made the most out of it.
At the same time the ground team had to abort the trek to Concordia and the upper Baltoro; with bad weather the porters didn´t want to go on, and rightly so since rocks fell all the time and turned the pass into a very dangerous place. After trying out once, they had to turn back, nearly at the col, at midnight and pouring rain above 5000m. With the forecast we had it was necessary a change of plans.
Meanwhile right before my eyes the ritual before the attack to the summit was performed by the female climbers, which is quite unusual. I talked on the satellite phone with Sebastian who told me they couldn´t pass over to Concordia: “Think what to do and try to reorganize your flying schedule”. It was a real downer because it seemed that next day would be really good. I had been waiting for four days sleeping in my flying suit and with my glider over me. The best thing to do would be to stay at Golom and try to take advantage of the good weather next day to shoot video of the climbing to the Sebas Tower. I could also get close to the Baltoro Pass so that I would know what it was like for better days so I could do out and return flights, this would mean a slightly higher risk and less flying time in the K2 area.

Apo Ali
We did it just as we planned it. On a level stretch next to the glacier moraine and 20 meters off Golom base camp, we took the engines fuel and spares. Thomas returned along with the ground crew. I couldn´t believe it when I saw him: he had lost 10 kilos; with a persistent diarrhea and all that trekking he had hardly any flesh left. He reminded me of the days of the X Alps, the breakneck race where we cross the whole of the Alps walking running and flying nonstop against ourselves and 30 other athletes.
On that stretch we met Apo Ali, a very special Karakoram shepherd. Apo means grandfather in the local Balti language an archaic Tibetan dialect, but it is also a treat of respect for older people. In between flights and time servicing the paramotors, he would invite us for tea, yogurt and goats milk diary in his little hut. He makes the most out of his resources in a traditional way with rudimentary tools. When you see him you can feel he is calm, in perfect harmony with the environment around him, he hasn´t any superfluous needs. During the summer he minds the goats and sheep of the whole village, receiving a few rupees in exchange, he lives next to a glacier, surrounded by impressive mountains, a stream passes by his hut and at night the Snow Leopard comes over to visit him. He seemed to me like a holy man. One day after several failed launch attempts running up to one hundred meters and heavily loaded, I had fallen into the stream and I had broken several lines, Apo Ali came over to me, took my hand put me on my knees and did some magic signs while singing something with some stones in his hand, finally he threw the stones up into the air and told me to try again. I did as he said and, first try, I took off.
During the days we stayed over there we did some flights over 6500m. I didn´t use oxygen and we got excellent footage, but always amongst clouds and sometimes with rain. By then I was well acclimatized so when I wasn´t loaded with all the gear I could take off without problems, that is why I was doing aerial errands, like finding the girls climbing location on the Sebas Tower or going down to Hushe to fetch spark plugs or the spare parts we had distributed in several camps. We worked over 30 hours in paramotor mechanics at high altitude, because the engine was eating the spark plugs out and we had carbureting malfunctions. Also the fuel wasn´t up to the task in hand. Looking for better performance we tried different propellers and exhaust pipes, and we had to clean up carburetors and fuel systems, so we had plenty of work.

Crash on the glacier
We had few days left so we decided to get back down to Hushe and fly to Concordia from there, even though it was further. Forecasts gave us a couple of good days and we wanted to take advantage of it. The plan was to fly the 25 km that separated us from the pass at Gondogoro La as quickly as possible, climbing over 6000m. If the col was free of cloud we would be over Concordia in less than two hours. If everything went well we would approach K2 and Broad Peak keeping gas reserves to come back over the col. Anyway according to my calculations if we arrived at the col with 6500m height we could glide back to Hushe with the engine stopped. Otherwise, because we had been 20 days exploring the area overland and from the air, we could find an alternative landing. Other emergency we were ready for was to go down on the Baltoro Glacier, which meant a week´s long walk out. An explorer at the beginning of the 20th century described it with accuracy: “the best expression of the planet´s orogenic forces”. From the air is like a black and silver snake 61 km long, a huge river with frozen gigantic waves. When I was high I imagined myself searching for a place to land amongst blocks of rock. We only had the references that Little Karim and Sebastian Alvaro had given us explaining where the military and climbing expeditions camps were. The previous day we had reached the Gondogoro La, the natural pass to Concordia, flying over 6500m and Tom as well as myself took spectacular pictures and videos, we couldn´t get through because the westerly wind was very strong and we couldn´t have come back. The vision of the Baltoro glacier, K2 and Broad Peak was impressive, just the thought of landing down there without support provoked vertigo... That is why I would have liked to have down there a team to help us with info about wind and conditions, but at that point it was forgotten already. So we went for the big adventure knowing that we had slim chances of coming back to Hushe that day.



Next day we took off and we were decided to go in although we had a northerly wind, which is unusual, so we had a turbulent approach over the Laila Peak and the Characusa Glacier. We didn´t hesitate and we went in directly to Concordia passing way above Mitre Peak a 6000m mountain. Flying over Concordia at nearly 7000m watching at our feet the Baltoro, Godwin Austen and Vigne glaciers was one of the most impressive views I had seen in a very long time. All of a sudden my engine stopped and wouldn´t start up. Taking a quick decision I headed back the way I came. Luckily, that day I was flying my Advance Omega 8 so I could use its great glide; with a tail wind I just made it over the Gondogoro Pass and set course towards the Laila Peak in sinking air. My idea was to try to reach a meadow by the moraine, but my sink rate increased so I was going down as if I was on a parachutal stall at 7m/s so the glacier was drawing nearer an there was nothing I could do. When I tried to turn into wind strong turbulence pushed me out of the vertical of the meadow leaving no option but to go on downwind towards a flatter area of the glacier at the foot of Laila Peak, everywhere else around me there were big rocks and blocks of ice. I got just in and at great speed, at the last moment I was sure I would hurt myself badly, I lifted my feet and the cage hit first, then I bounced between rocks and slipped on the ice...and that was the end of it. I couldn´t believe I was uninjured, the Boreal boots and the cage saved my legs. I got up astonished...and happy. Now, how do I get out of here?
First quick inspection: The frame is completely bent, the gas tank is broken and the propeller shattered. For a second I thought that if I had landed properly now I could take off from there, then I realized that because I let the cage hit first I was unscathed, I had in my mind the last moments when bouncing around I banged my foot on a rock and the super boots that Boreal had prepared for the cold ended up protecting me from the hits. Quickly I told Tom over the radio to fly down to Hushe and tell the rest of the team, while I got organized to walk down.
Our security procedure worked perfectly, first I talked to Sebas on the satellite phone and he told me how to get out of there, since he has been over there so many times he knows it really well. He also sent three of the best porters that were on their way in less than an hour. Thanks to the Spot system, my brother Juan in Spain knew my exact position. As I was unhurt it wasn´t really necessary and the place where I crashed was the best possible in the area. Gliding down from Concordia I flew over hanging glaciers at 6000m and passed over lee sides of cols with just enough height. In fact when I was close to the Gondogoro La I thought that if I didn't get through it would have been a disaster. Luckily now I was taking apart the paramotor getting it ready for the porters. I left the wing extended over a rock to find it easily later, I took a few essentials and I started to look for a way down amongst the crevasses of the glacier. Dusk was approaching and I had to try to reach Ramon Portilla´s base camp, a friend of us who was trying to climb Laila Peak. Thanks to Sebas directions I found it in less than 3 hours. Ramon and his partner Carlos were bivouacking on the mountain to attack the summit next day. At his camp, the cook and guides looked at me surprised ¿Where did I come from and what the hell did I want? When I said I was Ramon Pongee the flyer, their attitude changed, they fed me and gave me shelter, also they asked me about what had happened last month, every detail. They were especially interested in the sentimental affairs of an expedition with so many women. These men spent summer in the mountains as porters or helping in the Gondogoro Rescue Team, they can´t see their families and they are in a beautiful but hostile environment. I am afraid I couldn´t satisfy their curiosity.
The story ended next day, the three porters arrived really worried early morning and went up to get their loads. I took my own, and went down along Apo Ali who had come up to see how I was (news travel faster than birds over there). So the rest of the day I walked through places I only knew from the air; sometimes I surprised myself feeling up my body, checking it up, with a sensation between astonished and lucky. Was it Apo Ali´s magic that saved me? Wherever I passed through the inhabitants of the valley were happy to see I was alright and everybody told me the same: “fuck engine, important you well”. There are many expeditions passing through the valley and those people learn fast. What is most remarkable about this episode is the kindness and disposition of the dwellers of these lost areas, they help you, they open up their homes and hearts and they don´t ask for anything in return. This lesson, especially during these tragic times, teaches us that any sport challenge is insignificant compared to this essentially human experience.

Ramón Pongee
Since last year I still don´t know why, in Hushe and the surrounding areas, they nicknamed me Ramon Pongee. I don´t know what it means but I do know it is respectful. When I came back from my adventure in the glaciers, they were waiting for me and were happy about my coming out well from the emergency. Every launch and landing the children and many adults came over to watch, I believe that these people love us and we love them. I hope that in the long winter days when the snow covers the village for many months, they will remember us and at least they will have a different conversation issue.
The end of the story is, as usual, the return which is, as usual, boring: Long hours in a car, wait ups, planes and that sort of pain, the only good thing is that at Skardu we straightened the cage and along Thomas, we did some fantastic and relaxed flights over the dunes next to the river Indus.
We have to be happy for the decisions we took, later we found out we got them right, because we are going back home and because we will go back to the Karakoram. We were not sad, although our objective was trying to ascend over 8000m, since we have been for a while in this business, we know that what is not really important to reach the goal but the thousand adventures that happen when you try it. The aerial exploration of these areas is a great challenge, and the possibilities are very ample as are the mountains that form them. I am sure there will be more and more pilots venturing to discover new air routes; just as in alpinism there will be a sum of efforts and attempts that will be gaining terrain in the Karakoram exploration. We opened up a breach in this marvelous sky. Up there we felt like we were at its shore, at the shore of the sky.

A consideration that is on my mind
We seem to be in world still in construction, wherever you look there are rocks and big steep scree slopes, like in a huge mine, the mountains grow, glaciers release water and erode valleys and walls; where there was a road now a landslide cuts it. We have seen houses swept over in Tallis, Gupis and Gilgit, destroyed bridges, isolated villages and people on roofs. What is truly astonishing is how they get organized to help each other and to reconstruct, something that we have forgotten in the developed world. Where there was a bridge they build a cable car, where the road disappears, they quickly make up a detour and reopen it, in the face of adversity people´s unity succeeds, this is much more apparent over there than in our old Europe, where nobody stops to help anybody.

Thank you
As you can imagine, to carry out an expedition like this you need a team of people and a lot of support, sometimes we forget to remark their importance and if we succeed it seems that you find only the major performers to congratulate, that is why I will try to mention here everyone that participated one way or another in this adventure:
Thank you to Diamir that tailor-made the duvet overall. Boreal boots kept my feet warm and protected them from a bad injury. Pap paramotor manufacturer that after so many years keeps believing. To H&E engines, I was a pain in the neck for them the whole year in order to develop the engine. To Nirvana Gloves, that kept my hands warm. Advance Paragliders because they fly high. Peak Performance dressed us. Draco Parapente. Summit Oxygen. Metal Lube engine oil. Salomba Ventures. Real Aeroclub de España (Royal Spanish Aeroclub). Sierra Nevada Ski Resort. CO2 Logic because they clean our emissions. Black Diamond. Helix. Spot Europe. Nac Intercom. Gradient Paragliders. Vueling. CompeGPS.
Also thank you to Sebastian Alvaro, Juan Morillas, Pepe Villen, Thomas de Dorlodot, Mariano Izquierdo, Hanif and Hassan Jan, Ramon Lopez, Ester Sabadell, Patricia Trespando, Miriam Marco, Maider Fraile, Magdalena Ojer y Simon Elias. Thank you to Ramon Portilla and his partner Carlos for giving me shelter when I was in trouble, Pierre Aubert, Hermes Lago, Jose Luis Olias and Ignacio Valenzuela.
A very special thanks to my wife and two sons because they saw the summer through on their own.
And to all the porters and people we came across along the way. Thank you very much to all of them.

September 2010. Ramon Morillas.

 

More about Ramon's adventures on: www.rompiendolimites.es

Leila Peak
Ramón flying above the Laila Peak. The K2, on the background.


The expedition bumped into the terrible floods in Pakistan

En las Orillas del Cielo
A trip filled with magical moments and characters

En las Orillas del cielo
Tom de Dorlodot and Ramón Morillas.

Base Camp at the Gondogoro glacier


The female team starting the climb to Sebas Tower.

Ramón Morillas: "My engine halted. I had passed the most dangerous glaciers and I had to land. Finally I did it, under the crag you see in the picture".



Porters, essential in any expedition to the Karakoram.


After flying in tandem with "Little Karim", a legendary porter who has summited the Everest twice and climbed to the last basecamp more than 40 times. He also carried a hang glider up to the G4 in the 80’s!


Relax flying over the Indus river
Tom flying over the Gondogoro.


Dune flying at the Skardu valley


Masherbrum north glacier, nearly 7000m, temperature lower than -20ºC. Tomas, front, with all his instruments, oxygen, camera. Far back, Ramon.


Children from the village of Hushe at 3000m of altitude. This is the last village before entering the area of glaciers and expeditions. They are friendly, curious and very strong people living in primitive way.


A work journey, always conditioned for making good pictures for television documentaries.


Apo Ali, a hermit who invited us to tea and yoghurt in his mountain cabin.

Equipment List

Ramon Morillas:

Paramotor PAP.
Engine: R220 duo,HE paramotor.
Propeller: Helix, 3-blade 130 cm.
Paramotor glider: Advance Sigma 7 (26m & 28m)
Free flight paraglider: Advance Sigma 7.
Harness: Advance Lightness.
Reserve parachute: Rogallo.
Paramotor helmet: NAC Intercom.
Paragliding helmet: Black Diamond, Tracer.
Flying suit: Diamir
Mountain clothes: Peak Performance .
Gloves: Nirvana.
Oxygen: Summit Oxygen.
Photo camera: Nikon D200.
Video camera: GOPRO HD.
Tent: Black Diamond, Fitzroy.
Piolet: Black Diamond, Raven.
Crampons: Black Diamond, Contact.
GPS: Flymaster.
Personal satellite locator.
Satellite phone: Thuraya.
Mountain boots: Boreal.

Tom de Dorlodot:

Paramotor: HE paramotor.
Engine: R220 duo,HE paramotor.
Propeller: Hélix, 3-blade 130 cm.
Paramotor glider: Gradient Golden 3.(26 m et 28 m)
Paramotor Harness: SUP'AIR.
Free flight paraglider: GRADIENT Aspen 3.
Paraglider harness: SUP'AIR ALTIRANDO XP.
Reserve parachute: SUP'AIR Xtralite.
Paramotor helmet: NAC Intercom.
Paragliding helmet: Black Diamond tracer.
Flying suit: Peak Performance.
Sunglasses: JULBO.
Gloves: Freestyle, Nirvana.
Oxygen: Summit Oxygen.
Tent: Black Diamond, Fitzroy.
Piolet: Black Diamond, Raven.
Video camera: GOPRO HD.
Photo camera: Nikon D80.
Crampons: Black Diamond, Contact.
GPS: Garmin Etrex Vista CX.
Baliza de Géolocalisation: SPOT.
Telefono satelital: Thuraya.
Panel solar portatil: ESUN 6,5 watts.

Posted: January 26th, 2011

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