In near 30C heat, 32 athletes set off from Salzburg on 5 July for the seventh edition of the Red Bull X-Alps race.

The race is quite an epic undertaking, yet the rules are simple. Athletes must race across the Alps, by foot or paraglider, a straight-line distance of 1,038km.

Over the years, the race has attracted some of the world's top adventurers and tested them to the limit. It demands not only expert paragliding skill but extreme endurance. Some athletes will hike over 100km in a day and will cover hundreds of kilometers on foot – and 1,000s of meters in altitude – by the time the race is over.

One athlete and one supporter makes up a team. No technical or outside assistance is allowed; the supporter is just there to help with logistics, strategy, food, medical support and provide psychological assistance.

The 2013 edition set the record for the fastest time with 10 athletes reaching Monaco. It was won by Switzerland's Christian Maurer in six days, 23 hours and 40 minutes. For 2015, he hopes to make his entire race green by using a Tesla electric car for support instead of a van.