Very few people can say they have climbed Mt. Everest… even fewer can say they have skydived Mt. Everest. The first successful climb of the world’s highest peak was in 1953 by Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay, when famously Sir Hillary insisted that Norgay take the last steps to the summit, so that neither could claim to be the first on their own. Since then, many more have reached the summit — blind people, disabled people and more. It was not until 55 years after the first successful climb that someone decided that skydiving the peak was in order. (continues below)
Find an interview with Usha Rai, an employee of Explore Himalaya which organizes this epic adventure, at the bottom of this post.
In just 2008 the first skydiver got their shot plummeting past the massive mountain, but already this crazy adventure is available for the public. Even if you have never been skydiving before, Everest Skydive offers tandem jumps, with new skydivers strapped to the stomach of an experienced trainer. This is not for the faint of heart, however: the adventure starts with a four day trek to the drop zone, where upon arrival each jumper is outfitted with all the right gear. This includes oxygen, since the air is decidedly thin at the maximum altitude of 29,000ft. Next comes an insulated jump suit to shield against the extreme cold and wind. Free fall during these jumps can last as long as two minutes, which is far longer than most skydives. Best of all you get to see the most spectacular mountain range in the world speeding by.
The price tag for such a unique experience? The current cost for the entire adventure, including a tandem jump, costs nearly $30,000! At least you can sleep well after you reach the ground, knowing that some of the money gets donated to a local school: the Global Angels Foundation, an international charity partner of Everest Skydive recently donated branded computers, printers and projector to Khumjung School located in Khumbu Himal. Fittingly, the school was founded by the late Sir Edmund Hillary in 1961. Make a visit to Everest Skydive and start your dreaming.
An interview with Usha Rai, employee of Explore Himalaya, the company that organized this epic adventure:
What makes Everest Skydive different than regular tandem skydive operations?
Everest Skydive is held at the world’s highest drop zone, Shyangboche (Everest Region, Nepal) at an elevation 12350 feet, where skydivers take the leap from above some of the tallest peaks in the world (including Mt. Everest). The skydivers are equipped with specialized suits and oxygen system to help them counter the effects of extreme cold and thin air. They also have to trek for a couple of days from the airstrip at Lukla to reach the drop zone. All these features make Everest Skydive a unique and a special experience.
What was the inspiration for the operation to be started?
To place Nepal as one of the ultimate destinations for extreme sports and skydiving in particular and to make it easier for people to reach the top of Mount Everest (the highest point on Earth) without having to actually climb it!
What are the dangers of skydiving around Mt. Everest?
To skydive around Mt. Everest, one has to take into account difficult & dangerous terrain, extreme cold, strong wind and thin air. All these make it very difficult to run a skydiving operation in a high altitude mountain environment like the Everest Region. A lot of preparation and planning by experts goes in to make this event success.
What altitude do you jump from the plane? How cold is it up there? What is the total amount of freefall time?
The jump is made from about 29000 feet. It is extremely cold but the special ESD down suits helps one to maintain optimum body temperature. The skydivers freefall for about a minute or two before their canopy opens.
The journey to skydive starts with a trek. How far do the adventurers trek before reaching the drop zone?
They trek for 4 days(including one rest day at Namche) from Lukla to Shyangboche drop zone.