I got to say I have never been so exciting to wake up at 04:50 in the morning! After a quick breakfast with a bit of coffee, we went down to the airfield and were there at 6 o’clock sharp. The plan for today was two loads, one with Anton and myself, and one with Anton along with Anuj in a tandem-jump with Nadia filming. Everest Skydive Expedition
After an hour of gearing up, parachutes on, oxygen, helmets, cameras on, the helicopter arrived. After a quick talk about the winds and weather with the pilots and one last gear check, Anton and myself climbed in the helicopter for our first jump here. The flight up was amazing. Although sitting on the floor, we could see all the mountains, glaciers and villages. We climbed to around 8000 ft. Above the airfield. As I am already an experienced HALO jumper, I was to observe our oxygen before exit. When the pilot have me the thumbs up, Anton and I did one last handshake and I opened up the door. Everest Skydive Expedition
It’s another world out there. It’s like nothing else. For a moment I had the exact same feeling as I had when the door opened up for my first jump when I was 9. Even after 8000 jumps, this gave me the chills and although you couldn’t tell from the mask, I was smiling from one ear to the other.
Because of the thinner air, the acceleration is a lot faster, with the terminal velocity being a lot higher too. I reached 5500 ft. Much faster than usual. Once the parachute was deployed, it was really time to take in the view.
The landing was sweet but fast. Even a Performance Designs Navigator 260 flies pretty fast at 12.300 ft. Landing between rocks seemed a bit tricky, but was not a problem at all.
There was smiles and high fives all over, but not much time, because we needed Anton geared up for the tandem, so we the helicopter back up fast.
Anuj had done one skydive before in Pokhara, but this was his first in Everest, and first with oxygen. He was cool and calm, and they went up with no snags or issues. The climb was a bit longer, and everyone was happy to jump out in to the thin air. Both Nadia and Anton and Anuj in tandem landed perfectly. Anuj was really thrilled. To be able to have this experience is absolutely amazing.
We packed down all the gear, as we will have a short break for a few days, before the next group of clients arrive. We will spend the break doing a bit of trekking and relaxing. A few of us have a bit of work to catch up on, and a lot of photos and video to go through.Everest Skydive Expedition
Everyone got up early, as breakfast was at 05:20. We needed to get down to the airfield and start up as early as possible, as the best weather in the mountains is in the morning.
Everest Skydive Expedition Day 3
As we arrived and started getting gear ready, Osama and Yorick arrived in the helicopter. When gearing up for a normal skydive, it tastes around 5-10 mins. When gearing up for a skydive here, with oxygen equipment and warm clothes, it takes between 1 and 1,5 hours. As Osama is disabled, it makes gearing up a bit more difficult. But with great mood and energy, we did it all with a smile.
First load consisted of Osama, Aliaa, Nadia and Paul-Henry. It was the first jump for the three first. PH was load master in charge of oxygen and spot.
At approximately 09:00 the first jumps of this years Everest Skydive Expedition were done. Everyone had a great jump, and the three for whom it was their, was overwhelmed by the view and sensation of leaping from a helicopter, looking at Everest and all the other massive mountains visible from here. They all made perfect landings. Osama hereby becomes a new world record holder for highest parachute landing by a paraplegic person! We are super proud of Osama!
After packing the parachutes, which is hear work in the thin air, all were ready for another jump.
Load two also went according to plan with big smiles all over. Winds picking up with turbulence as well, and clouds moving in, we decided to call it a day at around 11. This unfortunately meant no jumps for me today. But I’ve been waiting for this for many years, so I will wait for one more.
For the first time during the expedition, we had a bit of time to ourselves. After packing down and having a small talk, I headed down to Namche by myself. I needed to buy data for my phone, and maybe a bit of chocolate found it was into my backpack too. Others went to the teahouse to rest and catch up on a bit of work with photos and video.
Tomorrow is another jump day, although Osama and Aliaa have done their jumps, Anton and I need our training jumps, and Anton has to do a tandem with Anuj from Explore Himalaya.
After a good nights rest in Namche, we trekked the short 1,5 hours to Syangboche, where we will be jumping. The trek was mostly steep, with great views of Namche and the surrounding mountains. This was the first day we actually saw the mountains. EverestSkydive Expedition Day 3 The last couple of days have been cloudy. To see the white peaks, glaciers and massive ridges is just awe inspiring.
When we got to the airfield at Syangboche, we headed to the teahouse for a light extra breakfast, hot tea and relaxation. We were waiting for the helicopter to bring Osama, Yorrick and Greg from Lukla along with the 500 kg. Of equipment we will need for the jumps. Skydiving rigs, oxygen equipment, helmets, suits, extras and so on.
When they arrived it was time for the traditional Puja ceremony. Before commencing skydiving operations, we need the Buddhist munks to ensure that we have blessings from the mountain-gods. The offer and pray. The ceremony lasted about one hour and ended in each of us being blessed by the monk. Now we can skydive and know everything is in order.
After the puja, we set up everything and prepared for next days jumping. Plans change all the time, but the overall plan of course is to have Osama and Aliaa do their two jumps.
We got to the teahouse after dark. It was hard navigating up through the bushes not being able to see the trail. Once up there, we had dinner and everyone was a bit tired. The thin mountain air does this. Everyone went to bed early, as breakfast is at 05:20 tomorrow morning.
Everest Skydive Expedition Day2, After a quiet night where everyone caught up on some sleep, we met for breakfast at 07:00. After coffee and food we set off on the trail. The morning was a bit cold, but after 15 mins, everyone were warm enough that we took off a layer or two.Everest Skydive Expedition Day2
Like yesterday, we took turns at coming up with new songs, and talking and having fun. I think it made a difference for us all.
The river gave some great photo opportunities during the day, we we were sometimes close down, sometimes far up above the water. As the trek got steeper, group photos was a great way of catching our breath.
In the pace we walk, which is pretty much the same, we all have time to enjoy the view. Today has been dominated by forests and cliffs, and of course the river. We also had some close up encounters with yak and mules carrying up supplies and taking down empty containers and trash.
Although Aliaa thought the trek today wes hard, her smiling face and happy mood was so contagious.
We made it to Namche Barack after roughly 7 hours, and were all excited to be here. Partly because we could rest and catch our breath, partly because of the prospect of the world famous cheesecake at our headquarter “Cafe 8848”.
We all sat down and rested our tired feet. Cheesecake, hot drinks and a great opportunity to talk a little with each other. Hearing our local superstar and guide Bibek tell us about his expedition to summit of Everest last year.
After filling up on surary treats and hot drinks we checked in to our teahouse and sat down to order dinner. While sitting at the table, we went through the plan for the next couple of days.
Tomorrow we carry on to Syangbotche where the jumps will take place. After recce’ing the landing area and a small chat about landing patterns and general safety, we local munks will join us for Puja, which a Buddhist ceremony and offering were we ask the mountain gods permission to jump amongst them, and give us good weather, safe skydives and positive energies. They chant, pray and offer to the gods.
Personally just talking about the jumps we are gonna do, gives me the chills. It is very emotional for me. The last couple of years Nepal has become almost my second home, and to be able to skydive here is a very big dream coming true. And at the same time being able to help other people achieve this dream is a true blessing. Being with this team has shown to be an amazing experience in it self, and reminds us that while skydive it is an amazing experience in it self, what makes us keep doing it, is the people. And I am absolutely convinced that I am surrounded by the best.
I’ll be writing a day by day blog of this years Everest Skydive Expedition Day1
Everest Skydive Expedition Day1 This years team consists of Paul-Henry (PH from France), Greg Rau (USA) Anton Gilev (Russia), Nadezda Solovyeva (Russia), Yurok Vion (France) and my self Kim Bo Larsen (Denmark) next week Wendy Smith (New Zealand) and Omar Alhegelan (Saudi Arabia) will join us for the second part. Along with us Bibek Pandey (Nepal), Bhuwan (Nepal), Bipin (Nepal), Samir (Nepal) taking good care of us.
Our clients for this week are two solo-skydivers from Kuwait, Aliaa and Osama, who are part of our team as well, and are both very excited about our expedition. I’ll tell more about their amazing stories within the next couple of days.
Today we set of from Kathmandu to Lukla after the whole team got together yesterday. We had a pleasant flight to Lullu, which for most of skydiving team was a new experience. A beautiful flight with great views of the mountains and valleys.
After sorting some logistics for a few hours in Lukla, we got on the trail. Today’s trek was easy and spirits high. People walked mostly in one group, some were busy singing and telling jokes, others filming and taking photos. I think everyone got a chance to talk to everyone, which is great. A few days from now, we need to perform as a solid team to make the skydives happen.
From Lukla we walked a bit down towards Phakding where we are staying tonight. On the way we got to see views of the Dudh Koshi (milk river) that flows down this valley. It’s white from silt, hence the name. We also saw monkeys playing around in the trees, and donkeys and yak hauling food and gear for Namche and beyond.
The weather today was mostly light rain, so views of he valley were few, but everyone had a great day. Although we are only at 2680 meters, everyone can feel the thinner air when walking up. It was a bit of a surprise for some.
We are now in Phakding resting, drinking tea and talking. Everyone on this team are experienced adventurers, and the stories being told these days are fantastic. For myself I can say, that my lift of things I want to do, and places to see is growing by the hour these days.
We are all very proud and grateful to be part of this team, making a dream come true for our clients and bringing skydiving to such a fantastic and spectacular part of the world.