2013 was a wonderful year to be a wingsuit fan. Every few months yet another eye-popping stunt was pulled off by one of these pilots. Scroll down to find our five favourite wingsuit BASE jumps of 2013.
Jumping off the Giant's Tooth
Earlier this year, Squirrel team wingsuit pilots Matt Gerdes, Roch Malnuit, and Erwan Madoré pioneered a new wingsuit-BASE jump of the Dent du Géant in the Alps – as well as two more brand-new wingsuit BASE launches with friend Pierre Fivel.
Says Matt: “It was a relatively straightforward ascent, with a giant rope to aid us through the blanker sections of the wall to the 4,013m summit, from which we flew our wingsuits most of the way back to Chamonix.”
Alex Polli's 'Hole Shot'
Back in April, the wingsuit world – and the rest of the world – watched in awe as Italian-Norwegian pilot Alexander Polli aimed himself at a small hole in the impressive relief of the Roca Foradada mountains in Montserrat, Spain. The high-speed hole shot has since garnered over 10 million views on YouTube.
Jeb Corliss' 'Flying Dagger'
The American skydiver and wingsuit pilot headed all the way to China to perform a trick dubbed 'The Flying Dagger' – in which he'd fly between the walls of a narrow canyon in Janglangshan Mountain.
The jump through the canyon, which is 275m high, 4.5m wide, and as long as three football fields, almost didn't happen – poor weather left him with less training jumps than desired, and on the planned day of the stunt, wind was less than ideal. But faced with a deadline from Chinese authorities, Corliss took advantage of a brief lull in the winds to go for it. Unlike his disastrous proximity flight in 2012 in which he broke both legs BASE jumping from Table Mountain, Cape Town – this jump was a success.
Soul Flyers' Night Flight
Lights, cliff, action – this isn't the first time Soul Flyers team members Vincent Reffet and Fred Fugen have flown their wingsuits at night – but it's the first time they've done it off a cliff instead of out of a plane, and the first time they had custom-installed lights hidden in their suits, giving their daring jump an out-of-this-world appearance.
Despite what one would assume is a high fear factor from a night-time jump, the stunt was pretty safe. "We know the locations very well – we trained during the day to prepare exactly what we could do at night. You jump, you fly, you know where to pull the chute, you know where you are,” says Fugen.
Valery Rozov leaps off Everest
In an Everest season blighted by controversy, there was a bright spot: Russian wingsuit pilot Valery Rozov's leap off the world's tallest mountain. While a BASE jump directly off the summit wasn't possible, Rozov was still at an altitude of 7,220m when he took off in his wing suit.
At that altitude, there was concern about whether the lower air pressure would allow his wingsuit to inflate quickly enough for the short drop and guarantee safe flight to the landing zone – fortunately, it did. After landing, the reality of his achievement sunk in for Rozov. “Only when I got back home did I see how hard it was for me both physically and psychologically.”
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