Since the dawn of time, man has looked to the great mountains and dreamed of jumping off of them. When Edmund Hilary and Tenzing Norgay summited 60 years ago, they didn’t have the equipment to fly off. But today we do. And to celebrate the diamond jubilee of the first summit, Russian BASE jumper Valery Rozov threw himself off the north face in China, 23,688 feet above sea level. It wasn’t the top, but it’s at least the highest BASE jump ever completed.
In the thinner air and colder temperatures of high altitude, Rozov had far less control of his wingsuit, and the flight was a little touch and go. After a minute of flying along the north face of the mountain, he landed safely in the snow on the Rongbuk Glacier at about 19,521 feet of altitude. Chalk up another success for man in our instinctive quest to jump off of things.
Think of your aspirations and goals in life. Do they involve jumping off very high things and generally “running amok”? If so, Chris “Douggs” McDougall is living your dream, the lucky bastard.
But if that’s not your thing, you still have to hand it to the jovial veteran wingsuit pilot, who is living something of a GoPro fantasy in the Swiss mountains, jumping off very high things indeed in a webbed superhero costume and dubstepping happily from one adrenaline kick to the next.
This particular kick sees him fly through a waterfall, which to this desk-bound critic’s eyes isn’t as impressive as flying through a cave, really, but looks fun and dangerous as hell nonetheless. Anyway, he still has plenty of time to impress us further because he’s going to Mexico next on his world tour to fly through god-knows-what. We will be patiently waiting for the bass to drop on the next video of his exploits.
Extreme sports videos don’t get enough credit as artistic travelogues. For all the flinch-inducing, jaw-dropping athletic skill on display, the real star of extreme sports videos is often not the stunt-happy main character – it’s the backdrop. Take for instance Danny Macaskill’s rampart-flipping, phone booth-hopping mountain bike riding on the Isle of Skye. The video’s fine-grained camera work and textured shots show off his native northern Scotland in a way that virtually eclipses the bicycle trickery going on in the foreground. Another great example is Ryan Doyle’s parkour video in Dubai. His rolls and gainers through souks and off bagdirs are OK and everything, sure, but it’s the backdrop that shines through.
So it is as well with skateboarder Killian Martin’s new video above. As the freestyler spins and caspers his way through India, the director, Brett Novak, manages to sell the subcontinental playground better than most Indian tourism campaigns I’ve seen. The takeaway is clear: if you work for a tourism board, hire a wingsuit diver, an artistic extreme sports director and an indie band, and watch the tourists stream in.
Looking for a dose of adrenaline to get your day started right? If so, then look no further than the video below, which features wingsuit pilot Alexander Polli pushing the limits of good sense to the absolute edge.
On a recent visit to the Roca Foradada Mountains, located near Montserrat, Spain, Polli came up with the idea of attempting to fly through a small cave on a rocky outcropping. The extreme athlete from Italy was reportedly going 155 mph when he blasted through the very narrow opening of what is known locally as the “Batman Cave.”
Word to the wise. If you’re going to watch this don’t forget to breathe.
If you’ve watched a Youtube video of wingsuit flying in the past few years, there’s a good chance it’s courtesy of Joakim Sommer. The 25 year-old Norwegian has been making a name for himself by capturing a special wingsuit technique known as proximity flying.
If you’re asking yourself “why is he getting closer to the cliffs?!” – that’s the point. Proximity fliers like Sommer jump off the most scenic mountaintops in the world and aim to skim slopes while only meters above trees, waterfalls, and rock spires – all while capturing everything in 1080p.
This specific flight takes place in Styrn, Norway; a town of 7,000 residents that’s usually written up for its fjords and year-round glacier skiing.