Paragliders Soar Above Pakistan’s 7,027m Spantik

After a tough start due to poor weather, paragliders Antoine Girard and Vaso Ovcharov finally have the conditions to attempt the intriguing “serious things” they mentioned when they arrived in Pakistan two weeks ago.

Three others have joined the team in the last few days. Will Sim and Jake Holland are back in Hunza after last year’s successful ascent of Gulmit Tower. They too paraglided over the remote, difficult terrain to its base, climbed the peak, then paragliding out. Check the video below.

Medhi Bidault is the fifth in this year’s team. The group has split to focus on different goals.


While Antoine Girard missed his (unspecified) goal yesterday due to some last-minute “error,” Ovcharov managed a long, stunning flight from Hunza to Chitral. It took him soaring above the cliffs and the snowy summit of 7,027m Spantik. While not a first, Ovcharov said that the flight gave him some of his best-ever moments as a paraglider.

“And that is still just the beginning of our trip,” he added.

From Hunza to Shigar across Spantik

Together with photographer Jake Holland, he set off from Hunza and approached the mountain with the cloud base at 7,140m and a tailwind of 35kph.

“The wall looks jumpable with a wingsuit,” he noted as he soared past the vertical flank.

The gliders soared above Spantik’s summit toward the Shigar Valley. They then flew another 40km before landing at their pre-planned spot with transportation nearby, to some local people’s delight. Check the video here:

Cross-country paragliding pioneer

Meanwhile, Antoine Girard is putting yesterday’s near miss behind him and moving on to his next goal. A pioneer in the field of high-altitude cross-country paragliding, Girard did the first cross-country flight above an 8,000m peak in 2016, when he flew up and across Broad Peak. During the seven-hour flight, he used the thermals created by Broad Peak’s rocky face to gain enough altitude after a ground start.

Angela Benavides

Angela Benavides graduated university in journalism and specializes in high-altitude mountaineering and expedition news. She has been writing about climbing and mountaineering, adventure and outdoor sports for 20+ years.

Prior to that, Angela Benavides spent time at/worked at a number of local and international media. She is also experienced in outdoor-sport consultancy for sponsoring corporations, press manager and communication executive, and a published author.