Daredevil Joby Ogwyn is staging the first wing suit flight down Mount Everest in May of this year. Ogwyn will change into his custom-made suit upon reaching the top of the mountain and jump, free-falling into the void.
“I’m very scared,” said Ogwyn. “I think it’s the fear of death…that kind of keeps you above that.” At the age of 26, the incredible adventurer was the youngest American to climb Mount Everest, a feat he completed in just nine and a half hours. In his career, which began at age 18 in Guatemala, he has climbed the “seven summits,” the highest mountains on each continent. With 30 completed projects of the like, he began a television series on National Geographic called “Adventure Wanted.”
“I’m not afraid to die,” he said. “[I] live my life on my own terms.” The action filled National Geographic program showcases Ogwyn’s expertise in car racing, bull riding, white water kayaking and other related adventures. The attempted flight from Mount Everest will be done through the B.A.S.E. jumping technique.
B.A.S.E. jumping gets its name from the places jumpers depart. Instead of making a leap out of airplane, like skydivers, these extreme sportsmen jump from buildings, antenna towers, spans (bridges) and earth. Most flights are done at a low altitude with only a few precious moments to pull a parachute. What makes Ogwyn’s daredevil flight off the stage of Mount Everest is its height.
Most B.A.S.E. exits have a minimum height of 250 feet, with the maximum height of 19,000 feet only achieved once off the Trango Towers in Pakistan. The height of the Mount Everest summit Ogwyn plans on free-falling from is 29,029 feet. He could reach speeds near 150 miles per hour, but he is prepared for any situation in flight or upon landing.
“I’m prepared [to land] in China,” he said. “I will… have some cash and my passport in my [suit].” The Louisiana native says this jump is a culmination of his years training as a B.A.S.E jumper. Though he has never jumped from Mount Everest itself, he did perform a test flight off a plane three years ago from a similar height.
The test flight was to experiment with the suit’s durability at extremely high altitudes. “I thought I would fall out of the sky,” he said. “[What] I did was fly faster and further than I could have at [lower altitudes].” The historic flight is set to take place in May of this year and fans can expect it to be televised.
The Discovery Channel who has a knack for capturing incredible adventures like Felix Baumgartner’s 2012 leap from the edge of space, has confirmed plans to film Ogwyn’s flight. The live two hour broadcast will follow his ascent of the mountain and courageous leap off the side. Though the landing place tends to be determined by the flight itself, he hopes to end back at the starting base.
The exact date of the flight is yet to be determined, but when Joby Ogwyn leaps off the stage of Mount Everest, over 200 countries will be watching. In his own nonchalant way, he reacts to accusations of being insane saying, “I wish I had a nickel for every time [someone told me] I’m crazy.”
By Erin P. Friar