Everest Skydive 2011 saw some very experienced skydivers taking the’ World’s Highest Leap’. Phil Smith from USA was one of them. Posted below are his comments on Everest Skydive and his first visit to Nepal.
Phil Smith ( Pic: Explore Himalaya)
“Hi, my name is Phil Smith and I live in Florida. I came here to skydive in the Mount Everest. I have been skydiving since I was 22…now I am almost 68. Friends of mine advised me that I should do it. I made a solo jump from about 28000 feet. It was absolutely gorgeous. I can’t explain to you in words …it was a great adrenaline rush…something you get only once in your life! But sadly we can’t do formation skydiving over there because of the thick clothing (skydiving suit). It’s actually warm, but the bulky suit makes it hard to move our body and form positions…
I had never been here before. I have been to Thailand several times, and in Russia and South America. I can say I really enjoyed this trip to Nepal. The scenery is beautiful and the people here are warm and hospitable. If you come here with a good attitude and an open mind you will actually enjoy it.
I recommend everybody to try out Everest Skydive. This is really a great sport. From Florida I was able to get to Everest and jump without catching a cold, that’s pretty good planning!!”
Everest Skydive is fast becoming a ‘mecca’ for skydiving enthusiasts. According to those who have done it, nothing beats the thrill of freefalling from above Mt. Everest amidst the magnificent Himalayan environment. Bill Booth, veteran skydiver(6100 jumps (including 6 at North Pole) under his belt) from Florida and a participant of Everest Skydive 2011, has led skydiving expeditions to some of the world’s remote corners (Table Top mountain in South America, North Pole etc). According to him, “skydiving in the North Pole and Everest Skydive are the two greatest skydiving experiences in the world.”
Sharing an uncanny resemblance to famous American guitarist Billy Gibbons (of American rock band ZZ Top), warm, affable, and articulate William Ross Booth, aka Bill graciously took time out to share his experience with us.
Bill Booth (Pic: Explore Himalaya)
Excerpts from the interview: EH:How does it feel having skydived at the World’s Highest drop zone? Bill: It is overwhelming. I have got 6100 jumps. I have been to the North Pole 6 times, I have jumped on the mountain tops in South America but the beauty of this is beyond belief. After I landed I thought I was looking at the world on television. It was an amazing feeling. At that certain time your mind is trying to take in so much stuff, that you feel overwhelmed. …you call it sensory overwhelming. It’s so beautiful and the terrain is just so amazing …I have been to the Alps, the Rockies but there’s nothing quite like being near Everest. It’s gorgeous and I would say it’s an absolutely overwhelming experience and pretty much tops anything I have done…and I have done a lot!
EH: Trekking high up in the mountains on your first visit to Nepal. How did it feel?
Will: The trekking was good. It’s really hard coming from Florida after just two days. But you feel like you earned it and you deserved it. I feel you have got to earn the right to get up there. You can’t just fly in a helicopter… it wouldn’t be the same. When you trek you earn the right to get there, you work hard especially the last ascent into Namche. The trek was gorgeous. It’s the best trek I have done so far. I have trekked in Milford Sound in New Zealand, I have walked over the Rockies and the highest mountains in the US, but this experience was on a different scale. It’s very far and exotic and there’s a magic in Everest. For some reason you know, you get a tear in your eye when you see it (Mount Everest) finally ….
Bill’s solo jump from about 30,000 feet (Pic courtesy: Bill Booth), photograph taken by ESD Photographer
EH: What thoughts crossed your mind while you were freefalling? Bill: I made a solo jump from about 30,000 feet. I saw Everest while I made my exit but then I turned my back to it and paid attention to the photographers, so that they may get my pictures right ha ha ha… It was slightly nerve racking because of the terrain. Everywhere you look there are mountains. But I had three guys who had jumped there many times and I saw the way they were heading and turned my parachute the same way. Within 15 seconds I saw the drop zone. I was scheduled to make two jumps, but unfortunately we had to cancel the second jump as we ran out of time.
EH: Will you do this again? Bill: Yeah, of course. I would love to. There are a lot of places I want to go but this has been an unbeatable experience. When I first heard about it, I was like “no way, you can’t do it at that altitude… you are gonna break your limb.” But after I looked at the videos of the first year (ESD 2008), I thought I wanna do that and I finally got it on my schedule.
I recommend everybody to do it (Everest Skydive)because there’s no skydive like this. I have skydived in all the great places that you can skydive in but this experience is unbeatable! Even someone who has never made a jump can easily do it. To see that tandem works here is gratifying!!
Everest Skydive, apart from offering to the world one of the best extreme aerial adventures is also working towards improving the quality of life in the high mountains. To this effect Everest Skydive has partnered with international charity organization Global Angels Foundation.
Global Angels Foundation, the international charity partner of Everest Skydive recently donated branded computers, printers and projector to Khumjung School located in Khumbu Himal. The school which was founded by Late Sir Edmund Hillary in 1961, was in dire need of these equipments to run its Computer Education programme. Everest Skydive worked together with Global Angels to fund the school’s Computer Education Project. Posted below are pictures of Everest Skydive Team donating the equipments to the school’s administration.
Computers for Khumjung School
Wendy Smith, Chief Co-ordinator of ESD & Global Angels Ambassador with school kids
ESD 2011 Crew with Khumjung School’s Staff, Khumjung Village