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.
The trip to Bhutan was great! Excellent sights, hotels, food, weather, and our guide and driver were very professional and very good company. They looked very good for us!