It is exactly 60 years since Edmund Hillary and Tensing Norgay made the first ascent of Mt Everest. Since then, the world's highest mountain has attracted some of the world's most extreme athletes who have skied, snow-boarded and paraglided off the mountain. But no one has ever BASE-jumped — until now.
In early May the Russian extreme sports star Valery Rozov, 48, leapt from an altitude of 7,220m off the north side of the mountain to make the world's highest BASE jump.
World's highest mountain
“Only when I got back home did I see how hard it was for me both physically and psychologically,” Rozov said after completing the feat.
The ascent began on the Chinese side on the famous north route. Rozov had selected a spot for his leap at an altitude of 7,220 meters. It took him four days to climb from base camp to the jumping location, assisted by a team of four Sherpas.
At precisely 2:30 p.m. local time on May 5th, with temperatures at -18 Celsius, he jumped. Because the cliff at the top was not very high, the initial moment in the rarified high altitude air was extremely precarious.
Initial moment the most critical
Rozov needed more time than usual in the thin air to transition from freefall to flying. But after that he flew for nearly a full minute at speeds of about 200 km/h down the north face before landing safely on the Rongbuk glacier (5,950m).
Rozov is no stranger to spectacular stunts. In 2009 he jumped into an active volcano on the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia's Far East. In 2010 he leaped from Ulvetanna in Antarctica and in 2012 he jumped from 6,420m from Shivling (6,543m) in the Himalayas.
Warm-up on Shivling
The Shivling expedition served as a warm-up and final test for Rozov, who has made more than 10,000 jumps. In all, the Russian spent two years planning the Everest leap, much of which was spent developing a special new wingsuit.
Read the whole story, take a look behind the scenes and find out more in the exclusive interview with Valery in the upcoming The Red Bulletin. Simply subscribe to your national edition of The Red Bulletin e-paper through iTunes and Google Play (available May 29) or download the latest version of the Red Bulletin App (available June 3).