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 Heli Trek (6 Days)
An elite adventure, this trip takes you to Khumbu Himal, the homeland of Nepal’s tough mountain tribe, the Sherpas. Trek to Sherpa villages that lie under the shadows of some of the tallest peaks in the world including Mount Everest and take an exciting heli tour to Kala Patthar (5242m), at the base of Mount Everest….
After arriving in Kathmandu we fly to Lukla, the ‘Gateway of Everest’. We trek for two days taking in the wonderful mountain scenery and Sherpa culture, with stopovers at Sherpa villages of Phakding & Namche ,finally arriving at Shyangboche – the site of the World’s Highest Skydiving Adventure ‘Everest Skydive’.
At Shyangboche we board the waiting Fishtail Air’s helicopter for our heli tour and fly over the towering Himalayan giants : Ama Dablam [6856m], Thamserku [6608m], Kantega [6685m] , Lhotse [8501m], Nuptse [7879m]and enter Mount Everest’s Western Cwm – a broad, flat, gently undulating glacial valley basin terminating at the foot of the Lhotse Face.
We fly close to these Himalayan giants and enter the Western Cwm. The Western Cwm, also known as the ‘Valley of Silence,’ is traversed by climbers using the southeast route to the summit of Everest. The view of the mesmerizing Gokyo Lake from aboard the helicopter is just amazing.
We stop briefly at Kala Patthar (5,545m) – one of the finest viewpoints to view Mount Everest up close and the site of the World’s Highest Cabinet Meeting (held on December 4, 2009).
After exploring and taking pictures, we leave Kalapatthar and fly towards Kongde Ri (4200m) which has the world’s highest full service luxury resort – Yeti Mountain Home, Kongde. At the resort, we sit out enjoying the panoramic views of Himalayan mountains and celebrate the completion of our Everest adventure over champagne and a sumptuous breakfast- a fitting finale to a wonderful and memorable trip.
After our meal we take the return flight to Kathmandu. Throughout your trek you will be accommodated at Yeti Mountain Homes, a chain of high end luxury resorts. At Kathmandu your address is the serene and tranquil Gokarna Forest Resort.
(Note: At high altitude , Oxygen system will always be at hand to help you deal with mountain sickness.)
Itinerary & Price detail