Blackfoot adventurers part of extreme history
Southeast Idaho residents Stacy Stutts, a freelance film producer formerly with CNN and Al Jazeera, and brothers Jonas and Ivan Marcinko recently attended and filmed a project called Wings of Kilimanjaro.
This took place on Feb. 5 on the African mountain itself.
Stacy, Jonas and Ivan, along with a group of 95 paragliders from 27 different countries and a crew of over 750 guides and porters ,ascended ‘Kili’ as the locals sometimes call it, to cover the story.
The Idaho contingent was there to cover the extreme event. The goal was to launch the biggest paragliding event to date.
Stutts and the Marcinkos founded The Hangar Productions this past November. Their first production is a feature film about the Wings of Kilimanjaro adventure. They have only recently returned from this quest and Stutts will be leaving for California in the immediate future to pitch a new reality series concept to GoPro for The Hanger Productions. You can visit their website at www.thehangarproductions.com.
Jonas , the coordinator of aerial production for the team, took time from a busy schedule to include the Wings project. He and his brother Ivan have been involved in productions for Adidas, BF Goodrich, UBS Bank, Kawasaki, the Mexican government, Subaru, and numerous others. For a complete list, and to see a trailer of the feature film and other examples of their work, go to www.rcaerialcam.com.
Ivan, in charge of cameras and post-production, said the extremes in altitude were definitely a challenge for him when dealing with his camera equipment.
Kilimanjaro, the highest peak on the African continent, soars over 19,000 feet above the surrounding land. Oxygen becomes noticeably scant at 12,000 feet. This makes Kilimanjaro a prime location for altitude sickness. All three dealt with symptoms of this illness at various times during their trek but, because they were there to cover the story, had to work each day. The hike up Kili usually takes three to four days but on this occasion took seven because of the amount of equipment which had to be moved to the launch site.
Adrian McRae, an Australian who put the expedition together, has spent enormous energy and time in this charitable cause. Paragliding has historically been banned from Kilimanjaro and McRae made five visits over two years to win approval from the Tanzanian government to issue a permit for the Wings of Kilimanjaro.
The event was put together to raise funds for charities in Tanzania including:
Plant with Purpose provides environmental solutions for humanitarian problems: http://www.plantwithpurpose.org/
The One Foundation, address issues such as clean drinking water, HIV, education, nutrition and sanitation: http://www.onedifference.org/
WorldServe provides innovative water and sanitation solutions: http://www.worldserveintl.org/
In addition to the Blackfoot contingent, the party included Babu Sunuwar, National Geographic adventurer of the year.
According to Stutts, Sunuwar became the first person to paraglide off the mountain, and with a local Tanzanian as his tandem passenger. Also in attendance were paragliding champions from around the world including Mike Kung and Karry Castle.
Other internationally renowned adventurers joined the expedition, such as British adventurer explorer Squash Falconer, Mark Getty from Getty Images and Adrian Leppard, Police Commissioner of London.
The expedition, which was the largest group to summit Kilimanjaro, took a turn for the worse when a mutiny erupted amongst the 750 porters. Numerous people were stuck at 18,500 feet without food or water the day after summiting.
Most of the climbers were forced to descend the day of the scheduled launch after hypothermia and dehydration spread through the camp. A helicopter drop of Snickers bars and water was made, but with a shortage of porters and guides supplies remained limited. After spending the night without food, water, or adequate protection from the elements, Stacy, Jonas and Ivan descended and were in good health upon reaching the base.