Everest 2014 is getting closer so the public relations experts responsible for the annual stunts are starting to pave the way with press releases and teasers.
First up is the expected wing suit flight from the summit to Base Camp by Joby Ogwyn. I have known about this for a while but the Discovery Channel issued a release with more details.
The big news is the media coverage by Discovery. They are dedicating hours of programming to the stunt similar to how the space jump by Felx Baumgartner, medical and Nik Wallenda’s tightrope walk cross the Grand Canyon were covered.
My sources tell me Joby will be equipped with multiple cameras to record the flight plus tracked by helicopters so as to give viewers every possible angle during the flight. He will use a specially designed suit to accommodate the low air density and cold air at 29,035 feet.
He has a private guide taking him to the summit and a large support staff and film crew, perhaps as many as 20 people, following his every move from Base Camp to the acclimatization rotations.
He is expected to get ahead of the crowds by attempting his flight early in May, more than likely either with or a day after when the Sherpas fix the rope to the summit. Historically this has been between May 1st and May 10th.
Joby, 40, is no stranger to climbing. The Himalayan Database shows 10 Himalayan expeditions including Lhotse, Makalu, Cho Oyu, Ama Dablam and three on Everest. In 2008 he summited Everest via the north east ridge in a reported nine and half hours. He has climbed the 7 Summits. This is nice video of his climb on Everest and fly-by.
However his main passion is human flight. He completed three base jumps from the Eiger north face in one day and completed the first wing suit flight around the Matterhorn. In the autumn of 2010 Joby jumped out of an airplane near Everest to became the first person ever to fly a wing-suit next to Everest. He landed back at Base Camp.
As you would expect, Discovery is hyping this to the max starting with this teaser on their site.
This will not be the first time someone has flown off Everest. On May 5, 2013 Russian Valery Rozov flew off the north face from 23,688 feet. And in 2011 Babu Sunuwar and Lakpa Tshering Sherpa did a tandem paraglide off the summit, landed in Namache Bazzar then touched the ocean off Bangladesh traveling by bike and kayak.
I wish Joby well, but somehow also wish that Everest could remain the domain of climbers and not used for stunts. I know this is a personal bias and many others will enjoy watching him climb and fly so as I said, I wish him a safe and successful journey.
Memories are Everything