Always Reaching for New Heights
The thrill of the fall is something to strive for, and every day there are skydivers around the world breaking records and redefining the most incredible experience out there. Well, this definitely qualifies as leveling up.
A team of military and experienced civilian parachuters reached for the atmosphere most skydiving enthusiast haven’t dared: the Himalayas. Now, for a little perspective, let’s talk about the conditions of the Nepalese Himalayas. These are some of the tallest mountains the WORLD. Everyone knows this. But look at it from the perspective of a skydiving enthusiast. Nepal is a geologically diverse country. Having a similar latitude as the state of Florida, you’d expect something similar in climate. But due to its extreme elevation, in this one little country (actually smaller than the state of Florida to keep up the comparison) is has some icy temperatures almost year-round. From tropical to frigid, this little country provides the right extremes to push our limits.
Now, we all know that the higher up you go, the thinner the air is. This jump is so extreme that it required specialized equipment to supplement O2. Add this to the conditions this team was jumping into and you’ve found the insane. Now some are saying that because the jump took place out of a helicopter (the AS350 B3 Eurocopter to be specific), that the jump was made much easier. But let’s look at those crazy conditions found in the Himalayas a little more closely:
Led by Fred Williams, a former Navy SEAL, the team started their trek, merely STARTED this journey by arriving at what has been dubbed the most perilous airport in the world. Tenzing-Hillary Airport, also known as Lukla Airport, is located in Khumbu, in eastern Nepal. It’s small, it’s elevation is sitting at 9,334 ft, and it was only the beginning. Going any further than Lukla is restricted strictly to travel by foot, by animal, or by helicopter.
In stages, the team ascended to 11,286ft, and then 12,400ft, taking precautions to acclimate to the environment. Their final destination was the Syangboche airport, which isn’t really a bonafide airport, but you take what you can get in one of the world’s harshest locations. With a slanted runway precariously perched on the side of a mountain, everyone was lucky to have fair enough weather to get up in a helicopter.
This is a land that isn’t always kind to mankind. It’s wild and dangerous, and the beauty found there makes the Nepalese Himalayas a magnet for adventure enthusiasts across the globe. With a successful dive, the team is victorious in reaching new extremes, not just in getting the best view potentially ever, but also in reaching new heights of human capability.
The fact that this endeavor was a success is not only a tribute to humanity’s drive to push limits, it the fact that it could be done is a huge step in conquering our terrain here on Earth. That is to say, there are situations that skills like this are NEEDED. While it’s absolutely awesome that this team of expert skydivers pushed some seriously mind-blowing limits, it’s also amazing for our ability to navigate equally harsh situations in times of desperate measures. Just picture the guts and know-how you need, not to jump out of a helicopter, but to navigate your dive in thin atmosphere, harsh winds, and rocky terrain. Now picture how handy those skills would be with the example of high-altitude rescue operations or response to natural disasters.
To end this on a lighter note, how much cooler do you think it is to see the majesty of the Himalayas from above? Spending your time on the icy mountainsides is definitely a feat for thrill seekers, but parachuting high up in the mountains is an entirely new extreme.