Films capture group providing flight, sight in Nepal | AspenTimes.com
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Films capture group providing flight, sight in Nepal

Tim Mutrie
A paraglider soars over Gokyo Lake in the Khumbu region of Nepal during a November 2003 expedition to share the passion of flight with Nepalese people. A film documenting the trip, "Between Earth and Sky," debuts in Aspen on Friday at 7:30 p.m. at the Wheeler Opera House. Dick Jackson photo.
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In November 2003, an expedition of paragliding enthusiasts set out for the Khumbu region of Nepal – aka the Everest ‘hood of the Himalayas – with a goal to soar in the world’s most rarefied air.But the party also had a larger goal, explained expedition member Dick Jackson of Aspen: “To share our passion for flight with native people.”The group’s adventures tandem-flying with Nepalese people are documented in a film about the expedition, “Between Earth and Sky.” The film made its premier at the Telluride Film Festival over Memorial Day weekend; it debuts in Aspen on Friday night at 7:30 at the Wheeler Opera House.

Tickets cost $12.50, with all proceeds benefiting the Himalayan Cataract Project. Dr. Geoff Tabin, a University of Vermont ophthalmologist and co-founder of the Cataract Project, will be on hand to present a National Geographic video about his work to eradicate preventable blindness in the Himalayas.The paragliding expedition included Jackson, owner of Aspen Expeditions and Paragliding; Jackson’s wife, Paulina VanderNoordaa; Cherie Silvera of Aspen; and former Aspenites Frank Pickell and Brendan Kiernan, the co-directors and cinematographers, now of Boulder.The group was also joined by Chuck Smith of Sun Valley, Idaho, and Dale Covington of Salt Lake City, Utah.

Jackson, Smith and Covington served as the tandem pilots who shared the gift of flight with the Nepalese.”One of the most satisfying trips you could imagine,” said Jackson. “The goals were reached, there were unknown factors and adventure, and the weather turned out to be perfect when we needed it. It was one of those trips you hope to have every time but very rarely do.”It was the true feeling of giving, because let’s face it, we do this stuff all the time here. But to do it over there, among the highest peaks in the world – it’s the most impressive place in the world – and then to be able to share that with native people was very rewarding.”

Since 1994, the Himalayan Cataract Project has restored sight for tens of thousands people in Nepal, Tibet, China, Bhutan, India, Sikkim, West Bengal and Pakistan. Tabin, one of the first American climbers to reach the highest summit on each of the seven continents, said the project’s focus has turned to “training local doctors and nurses, thus establishing sustainable quality care” in the region, he said in a press release.Jackson and his expedition mates hope Friday’s event at the Wheeler will help shed light on the Cataract Project.”It’s going to be a special night at the Wheeler,” he said. “We’ve all been to special nights there before, but there will be a lot of passion on Friday.”


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