Perched impossibly on a ridge overlooking a 10,000-foot drop into Tibet, Sano Babu Sunuwar and Lakpa Tsheri Sherpa wait. Heel to toe, connected at the waist by a pair of carabineers that’s connected to nothing else, they stare down the North Face of Mount Everest, a red and white nylon tandem paragliding wing fluttering behind them. They know that jumping off the top of the world marks only the beginning of a longer, more audacious journey. And they know that the two-mile ride down Everest will be the easiest part. If the jump doesn’t kill them.
In April 2011 the two unsponsored Nepalis set out on an unprecedented expedition to climb Everest, paraglide from its peak, and paddle nearly 400 miles to the ocean. Little problems wouldn’t stop them. Like the fact that Babu had no technical climbing experience. And that Lakpa had never been kayaking—or swimming. But after summiting, surviving their flight off the world’s tallest mountain, and being arrested, robbed, and nearly drowned—repeatedly—the two friends discovered their adventure had only just begun.
Dave Costello is the senior editor at Alaska magazine and a contributing editor at Canoe & Kayak. He has also written for Outside, Rock & Ice, Climbing, National Geographic's Intelligent Traveler, SUP, and Trail Runner.
"Flying Off Everest is the most gripping, funniest, and most engaging adventure book I have ever read. Anchored in the mysterious divide between East and West, it is the story of two audacious young Nepali men, born into poverty, who rise to the utmost pinnacle of the global adventure world with what most of us would consider woefully inadequate preparation and training, no money, and a hodgepodge collection of gear. The book will make you laugh and cry, but most of all you will fall in love with Babu and Lakpa and their madcap journey, propelled by the rawest spirit of human adventure, stripped clean of all trappings of pretension or commerciality."
—Jon Turk, author of The Raven's Gift
“As a climber and fan of high-mountain literature, I've always been enthralled by stories of the Nepali people. Tales of supernal endurance and selfless dedication to a sport abound, but I’ve yet to read a story where the true character of a little-known people shines through as it does in Costello’s riveting book, Flying Off Everest. Told with the same kind of verve and humor readers have come to expect from writers like Tim Cahill and Redmond O'Hanlon, Costello has crafted a narrative that will fascinate and delight readers whether they’re keen to jump off Everest and float a wild river, or simply to savor an adventure from the comfort of a familiar recliner. This is a cracking good tale and a book worthy of inclusion in the travel-writing pantheon.”—Jeff Jackson, editor of Rock and Ice magazine
“As Babu, Lakpa, and Costello so eloquently illustrate, you don’t need oodles of sponsors, money, or gear to pull off your wildest dreams, no matter how zany. All you need is the uncompromising desire to see them through.” —Eugene Buchanan, author of Brothers on the Bashkaus and former editor in chief of Paddler magazine
“Flying Off Everest features two dirt-poor Nepalese lads who are impossible not to root for as they attempt a ridiculously bold and unrealistic adventure. Along the way we learn lots about Nepal, Everest, Sherpas, and more. Costello, a serious outdoorsman and a skilled journalist, tells us how they reached the highest point on earth and why they were so determined to fly and paddle to a destination beyond the wildest dreams of most of us. An inspiring tale that happens to be a great read.”
—Joe Glickman, author of Fearless
Costello's narrative about two impoverished Nepalese men who paraglided off Everest is as funny as it is harrowing, an inspiring tale of audaciousness that'll make you shake your head in disbelief. —Backpacker magazineBesides spinning a grand tale of adventure[…]Costello foremost paints a compelling picture of life in Nepal. His writing is at once sparse yet glowing in detail, capturing the Himalayan landscape and the hardscrabble existence of its human population[…]Costello sets the scene like a local, but doesn’t let his own experiences interfere with establishing a well-paced narrative and bringing the characters to life.—Canoe & Kayak magazine