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Quincy, California
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December 19, 2012     Feather River Bulletin
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December 19, 2012
 

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Bulletin, Record, Progressive, Reporter Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012 1B REGIONAL Who: Quincy resident Graham Shea What: Historic paraglide flight from the summit of Mount Kifimaniaro to raise money for charity When: Jan. 27 - Feb. 5, 2013 More information: wingsofkiliman- iaro.com/grahamshea # These are all people who care about relieving suffering and extreme poverty. I only wish the expedition were Ionge # Graham Shea Up to 200 paragliders and a large support crew will climb Mount Kilimanjaro at the end of January with the goal of raising $1 million for Tanzanian charities. Historically 25 percent of those who attempt the ascent fail to make it to the summit. Photo by Graham Shea A Quincy man will join 200 paragliders on a historic flight for charity... H15 Graham Shea, travels with Plant with Purpose on a previous trip to Tanzania in 2010, Phota submitted Debra Moore '. Staff Writer dmoore@plumasnews.com Quincy resident Graham Shea, 29, and his brother John Kennon Shea, 31, are about to do what has never legally been done before -- paraglide off the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, the world's tallest freestanding mountain. The brothers will be among up to 200 paragliders who will first trek for seven days to the 19,340-foot summit and then at- tempt the historic flight. In the process the group will raise $1 million to be divided among three charities in East- ern Africa: Plant with Purpose; WorldServe International; and One Difference. This is the first time the Tan- zanian government is allowing paragliders on the mountain, and permission was only grant- ed because of the $! million do- nation. Each paraglider must raise $5,000 to make the trek. Additionally, each partici- pant must pay for plane fare, PlUs $3,800 for porters, meals and other logistics, and then there's a list of gear needed to survive the harsh elements. Despite the costs, Shea is lured:by the adventure, the op- portunity to share the experi- ence with his brother, and the chance to benefit Plant with Purpose, one of Shea's favorite organizations. Shea's adventure begins Jan. 27 as the group assembles at Ngurdoto Mountain Lodge be- fore setting out Jan. 29 to make history. Last week Shea an- swered a few questions about the trip, his preparations for it and why it is so important to him. What are you doing to be- come physically prepared for this trip? I'm conditioning as hard as I can as high as I can. Running through the forest on Mount Hough is a real workout. Ski- ing this season will help a lot too, because Tahoe is high. I'm going to start running with a pack when my legs can handleit IIN00/I/ Young boys in traditional Tanzanian school uniforms participate in a music performance to thank Plant with PurPose for providing a cistern and sanitary toilet facilities for the school. Photo A small international team scouts climbing routes and launch sites near Kilimanjaro's summit eadler this year. This photo by Wings of Kilimanjaro pilot Peter Greig and an account of the reconnaissance climb appeared in National GeographicAdventure Blog in August, Photo by Peter Greig How high have you climbed in the past? Do you think al- titude sickness will be an is- sue? I've climbed Mount Shasta and Mount Lassen twice each, so 14,179 feet is my record. Kfli- manjaro is a big jump from that at 19,341 feet, but with sev. en days to acclimate I'm not too worried. Many people climb it who haven't trained at altitude and do just fine. Do you have any trepidation about this trip? If so, which part of the trip most worries you? Excites you? I have a feeling the flight, and specifically the launch, are what's on everyone's mind. Even experienced pilots rarely launch from this high, though it's certainly been done. There is about half the'air pressure at the top of Kiliman- jaro, so we will need about twice the speed to start flying -- or land, if necessary, before reaching the bottom. Many planes can't even fly that high. We also have to watch out for one another if the airspace gets crowded, which is something the few previous (illegal) Kili- manjaro flights have not had to worry about. However, a lot of research and planning has been done, and we will be in the company of many of the best paraglider pilots in the world Graham Shea (orange glider ) and his brother, John Kennon Shea, soar through thermals together in Utah last summer. Photo by Graham Shea Though I'll be one of the com- paratively less experienced, I have launched at high altitude before, so I am not particularly trepidatious about that. But it will definitely be interesting. One of the most exciting things for me will be meeting the other pilots. I can't think of a more fascinating group, from world-record holders to the city of London police commission. er. And these are all people who care about relieving suffering and extreme poverty. I only wish the expedition were longer. How long have you been paragliding? I started formal paraglider training in June of this year and flew as much as possible till I met the experience re- quirements for Wings of Ktli- manjaro. ............................ bling before that (with instruc. tion) in a related sport called "speed-flying." It's a seven-day trek to the point where you will paraglide. How long will it take you to descend? That's a very good question. Quicker than those who have to climb down! With a four-foot-per-second sink rate and no lift, it could be as little as an hour, but that's not a likely scenario. There will be thermal activity (rising hot air) as well as possible ridge lift from the mountain. Combine that with a group of extremely experienced and competitive pilots, and I think there will be some really long flights. We will discuss detailed flight plans in Tanzania before the climb, but I would be happy to stay up all day if I can. We can carry water and food in our harnesses. What are some other unique challenges for this expedi- tion? We'll be climbing through four climate zones, from hot rainforest with monkeys and giant ferns at the base to nearly lifeless arctic conditions at the summit. That means we'll be launch- ing in freezing winds and land- ing in African summer heat on- ly hours later. I'm hoping I don't drop any clothes ifI have to shed layers on the way down. Oxygen is an issue at the top. Even without altitude sickness, the human brain can be affect- ed when it has to run on half the oxygen it's meant to. We'll have a good system of decision-making in place so as not to risk impaired judgment at the most critical part of the expedition -- the launch. Because weight is always an issue on a climb, my paraglid- ing instructor converted my lightweight speed-flying See Wings, page 5B