Ultimate Descent: Paragliding From Everest's Peak, Then Kayaking to Indian Ocean


They survived, but their trials continued. After the currents of the Himalayan River reached the Ganges River, the men were robbed.

From then on, Sunuwa and Sherpa hid in the reeds. Thanks to a nearby town with a Western Union, Phinney was able to transfer emergency funds to the men quickly. Once replenished, they continued on, surviving on fruit from trees.

Two months after jumping from the peak of Mount Everest, Sunuwar and Sherpa finally ran out of land to explore, and became the first people ever to complete the descent from Everest's summit to the Indian Ocean.

"None of them had ever been to the ocean before, so this was kind of a whole new experience for them," Phinney said. "I never doubted them, not for one single minute."

As for their trouble with the law, Phinney said the men did face repercussions from the Nepali government for climbing Everest without permits, but "as much as the army was after them, all of the army guys were just like 'That's awesome,'" she said.

Although Everest has lured generations of international climbers, Sunuwar and Sherpa wanted to capture some glory for their native Nepal. For them, the adventure was a dream realized -- an ultimate descent.

For more information about National Geographic's Adventurers of the Year award, visit their website.

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