I Knew I Would Live, Says Valery Rozov

Back from his epic jump off Everest, we catch up with the legendary Russian for the inside story.
By Josh Sampiero

Valery Rozov may have not jumped from the edge of space like Felix Baumgartner – but his BASE jump from Mt Everest was every bit as epic. Baumgartner also didn't have to worry about crashing into rocks straight after jumping...

When I landed, I was so tired. I felt sick. I didn't even really realize what had happened or what I did until we got back to base camp and began to relax. Then it started to sink in.

The hardest part is having to decide. Jump or don't jump. Is the air jumpable? Is it safe? The decision is definitely the hardest part.

I trained really hard. You have to get there and still be in shape to jump. It's a lot of physical work. I did a lot of technical work, too — because of the short drop and thin air — it's a very technical jump. It's so short, you really need to catch speed quickly.

Valery Rozov, pictured among prayer flags
Rozov before the jump © Denis Klero/Red Bull Content Pool

We made a new suit. I wanted to have the flattest jump possible in such thin air. It's so short, and your body needs to catch the air and the speed. So we took the high-end model suit that I usually wear, and made modifications that would help with that. It took three or four seconds to get to the speed I needed to fly. That's when I knew I would live.

I look for spots like this. That's more of the challenge than the biggest mountain — finding the next new spot. Since my childhood I was a climber. Climbing is still my passion. I'm always interested to do something new.

The main summit of Everest is quite flat and therefore not possible to jump from. You'd need to build a ramp or something. We made the jump from the North Peak of Everest. I'm sure I set a new level for BASE jumpers.

Valery Rozov exhausted after his jump
Valery Rozov after his jump © Denis Klero/Red Bull Content Pool

I definitely used oxygen. It wasn't a climbing expedition. We used oxygen for a short time before the jump. I wanted to make a good decision about the safety – and more importantly, we needed to hurry to take advantage of weather, and acclimatization wasn't finished.

Climbers don't like wind. Wind is also not good for me. I don't like wind at all!

It's always very good to see your family and kids. That's the best part about coming home. And as for what's next? Summer in the Alps. And I've got a few ideas for next year, too.

Valery Rozov
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