Septuagenarian Klaus Gachter from San Francisco, USA is one of the oldest Everest Skydive participants. Klaus was part of Everest Skydive 2010 (last year's Interview) and he was back this year. According to him last year’s experience was just so fantastic that he decided to give it a go this year too. After his return from Shyangboche, Klaus took time out to meet us and share his views about his Everest Skydive experience:
“I did Everest Skydive last year and it was just fantastic and I wanted to do it again. This year’s experience , well in many ways it was the same but this year the weather was so much better. Though it was foggy and cold after the test jumps, on Sunday (Jump day – 23rd October) the weather was just fantastic. It was clear, sunny and not too cold. I made a tandem jump with Ryan Jackson from 29000 feet and the view while freefalling was wonderful . You cannot imagine how beautiful the environment looks from above! The whole experience was very exciting, very interesting and beautiful and yes, just fantastic.
I have skydived at other drop zones, but these were regular skydives. Skydiving in the Himalayan region is special and as far as Everest Skydive is concerned, there’s just no comparison.
I am thinking of coming here again next year if my calendar allows. Hopefully, maybe by making the jump next year I will set the record of being the oldest person to skydive in high altitude!”
Everest Skydive – An Incredible Experience Explore Himalaya met up with French skydiver Mario Gervasi who was part of Everest Skydive 2011, on 25th October 2011 at Dwarika’s in Kathmandu. Mario holds the distinction of being the first French skydiver to participate in Everest Skydive and to jump from the highest altitude.
Excerpts from the interview: EH– Can you give a brief introduction about yourself? Mario – I am Mario Gervasi and I come from France. I lead the French Everest Skydiving Team. Last year me and my wife participated in the Everest Skydive event and I became the first French skydiver to make the highest altitude jump. This year I came with Jean-Marc Nowak whose jump has been sponsored by His Excellency, Prince Albert of Monaco, a staunch supporter of the preservation of the Himalayan environment. Jean-Marc by skydiving in the Everest Region wishes to convey Prince Albert’s message of minimizing global warming and preservation of the fragile Himalayan eco-system.
The French Everest Skydive 2011 team with Prince Albert of Monaco (from left: Mario Gervasi, His Excellency Prince Albert of Monaco, Priscilla Telmon & Jean-Marc Nowak)
EH– Tell us about this year’s jump experience? Mario – This time the weather conditions were marvelous. Although after the test jumps, the weather took a turn for the worst and it started snowing, the following days were exceptional. When it snowed we were apprehensive whether we will be able to make the jumps, as we had only few days at the drop zone. But our prayers were answered and I guess Lord Buddha was happy too as on the jump day, 23rd October, the weather improved – there was clear sky, no wind and the conditions throughout the day remained just perfect.
Snowfall at Shyangboche drop zone dampened the team's spirit, but only for a while…
Mario & Jean-Marc landing after making a tandem jump
Jean-Marc & Mario
EH – How would you rate skydiving in Everest in comparison to your other jump experiences? Mario – My extreme skydiving experience includes four jumps in the North Pole and one in the South Pole. But Everest Skydive is just wonderful. I think this is the most fantastic jump experience in the world. Before the jump you fly high above some of the tallest peaks in the world. It is an amazing view. Once the door opens and you are about to freefall, the cold wind hits your face and you see the snowy expanse of Himalayan mountains and Mt. Everest. The feeling is just exhilarating. This is indeed an unforgettable experience!
Amazing view of Himalayan peaks
EH – What about your future plans, regarding Everest Skydive? Mario – Next year I will be coming with Zinedine Zidane. I had proposed to him but he couldn’t come this year as planned because his duty as the Sports Director of ‘Real Madrid’ has kept him occupied. But next year he will be celebrating his fortieth birthday. ELA, the association we both are members of , is also marking its twentieth year in 2012. So to celebrate these milestones, Zidane will most probably I hope be a part of Everest skydive 2012.
EH – What is your message to those who would like to try out Everest Skydive? Mario – I would like to say to them that Everest Skydive is truly a once in a lifetime experience. To freefall from above some of the world’s highest peaks is an experience that you will never forget. It is one of the most incredible and unforgettable skydiving experiences!
Jump day- 25th October, 2011, Shyangboche Drop Zone
Solo Jumps- Ryan Jackson, Bill Booth(USA) ,Dawie Du Plessis, Derek Thomas, Wendy Smith.
Tandem Jump – Jolie Lisa Ferrand (USA) with tandem master Ryan Jackson.
The world’s highest skydiving event, Everest Skydive is underway. According to our contact at Shyangboche, jumps were held at Shyangboche drop zone on 22nd & 23rd October. Jump day- 22nd October, 2011, around 9:10 Am (local time)
Solo Jumps- Dawie Du Plessis (South Africa), Derek Thomas(UK), Mario Gervasi (France) Jump Day- 23rd October, 2011, around 10:50 AM (local time)
Solo Jumps- Wendy Smith (New Zealand), Dawie du Plessis (South Africa), Phillip Smith(USA), Derek Thomas (UK)
Tandem Jumps-Priscilla Telmon (France)with tandem master Ryan Jackson(UK), Klaus L.M. Gachter (USA) with tandem master Ryan Jackson , Jean-Marc Nowak (France) with Mario Gervasi (France)
Tandem Jump -Priscilla Telmon (France)with tandem master Ryan Jackson