Skydiving Over Everest

Mallory: “Why didn’t I think of that?”

All those intrepid climbers hoping to top out on Everest have been going about it the wrong way all these years: It’s much easier if you start at the top. To prove the point, at least 34 skydivers hope to be the first to parachute over Everest on Oct 2nd.

To be fair, they won’t actually land on the summit; the plan is to launch from a plane 465 feet above the Everest summit, freefall for one minute past it, and then cruise for 8-10 minutes on parachutes until they land on the designated drop zone at 12,350 feet. The skydivers will use extra-large parachutes for added buoyancy in the ultra-thin air, and they’ll all wear specialized oxygen masks.

The skydivers, led by British skydiver Nigel Gifford, come from 14 countries, including Britain, the United States, Canada, Denmark, and New Zealand. “This will be the most important event in the Himalayan adventure since 1953,” said Nigel Gifford, owner of the British company High & Wild which has organized the team. 

 “This is not walking the path. This is true adventure,” said (Per) Wimmer, a financier and entrepreneur living in London.

A bold statement, sir. While no doubt a risky endeavor, I have to take exception to participant Wimmer’s comment. While the thousands who’ve climbed before had to muscle their way to the top, the skydivers will just float past it—not quite the same level of exertion. In fact, as long as your equipment doesn’t go bonkers, you’re home free.

But it has inspired me to announce my own lazy man’s bid for “true adventure”: Completing the Appalachian Trail on a Segway scooter. I’ll see you at Katahdin with a cocktail in hand.

— Ted Alvarez