Red Bull B.A.S.E. jumper soars to new heights

LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Nearly 60 years to the day after Edmund Hillary and Tensing Norgay climbed Mount Everest, 48-year-old Russian Valery Rozov has jumped off its north face at 23,667 ft. to set a world record for the highest B.A.S.E. jump.

Rozov has more than 10,000 jumps to his name and has made headlines for his leaps, including a 2009 jump into an active volcano in the Russian Kamchatka Peninsula, a 2010 leap from the Ulvetanna Peak in Antarctica and a 2012 jump from the Shivling mountain in the Himalayas. The Himalayan jump, from an altitude of 21,466 ft., in effect served as the final test for Everest.

He spent more than two years preparing for the jump, devoting considerable time and effort to developing a special new wingsuit, a special jumpsuit that shapes the human body into an airfoil, creating lift and, with it, "human flight." Rozov's team, sponsored by Red Bull, included four sherpas as well as photographers and a camera crew.

The ascent began on the Chinese side on the famous north route. Rozov selected a spot for his leap at an altitude of 23,600 ft., and it took four days to climb from the base camp to the jump location. Once his wingsuit took effect, he flew for nearly a full minute at speeds of about 124 mph along the north face before he landed safely on the Rongbuk glacier — at an altitude of 15,520 ft.

"Only when I got back home did I see how hard it was for me both physically and psychologically," said Rozov after returning home to Moscow. "When you look at the videos you realize that it took a lot longer than usual to get from falling to flying."

B.A.S.E. jumping is an activity that employs an initially packed parachute to jump from fixed objects. "B.A.S.E." stands for the four categories of fixed objects from which one can jump: buildings, antennae, spans (bridges), and earth (cliffs).