Archive for the ‘sky diving’ Category


We’re moving to our new domain!!!

July 9, 2009

So exciting, we have finally matured from a blog to a website! I feel so grown-up! Please don’t desert us, follow this link and we’ll continue where we left off…


A man who sets himself one challenge after another against extraodinary odds, to raise money to help others…

June 8, 2009

You might have heard of Major Phil Packer… the man who was paralysed in February last year when the vehicle he was in was hit by a rocket in Iraq. He suffered broken ribs and a crushed lower spine. He was the man who was told he would never walk again and yet he finished the London marathon, albeit painfully slowly, but remember – 18 months before the doctors said he would never get out of a wheelchair.

We like talking about extreme personalities and this is one man who is definitely worth a mention or two. Thanks to AffiliAid for this introductory video:

Phil Packer says: “From the original prognosis that I would never walk again, I have been very lucky and my injuries have improved. I set out to raise £1million by completing a number of challenges including 3 Main Events; Rowing the Channel, walking the London Marathon, and pulling myself up a Mountain. El Capitan is the last event before I concentrate on providing opportunities for people with disabilities and raising the profile of disability sports. I will travel to the USA during the first two weeks in June and with the expertise & support of Andy Kirkpatrick, Ian Parnell and Paul Tatersal, will pull myself up 1800ft in 3 days”.

A quick excerpt of Maj. Phil Packer completing the London Marathon (6MadeInEngland9):

and how he has successfully got others involved in his charity efforts (AffiliAid)

Packer started his 1,800 ft climb up the sheer rock face of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park yesterday, 8th June.

His ascent of El Cap. is being attempted despite the fact that he was told he would never walk again.

Major Packer, who lives in Westminster, London, has said the three-day climb will be his final fundraising campaign before concentrating his efforts on promoting opportunities for disabled people.

Climbing a  rock face would be a challenge most of us would balk at but with a characteristic display of courage over disability, Major Packer is determined to conquer the face that many able-bodied people have failed to do.

Pulling yourself up with your arms (the equivalent of doing more than 4,000 push-ups) is a painfully slow way to scale a rock face and though he’s in constant pain since the rocket attack last year, it’s not enough to discourage him from taking up this challenge.

He wants to prove that his disability is no bar to rock climbing even though he’s no fan of its dizzying heights.

Unseasonable rain over the Yosemite Valley won’t make his task any easier though experience suggests this trifling inconvenience  won’t interrupt his attempt.

He and his team are climbing to support ‘Help for Heroes’ and to raise awareness of Disabled Climbing Opportunites.

El Capitan Pic

Packer’s live update of his climb states: “Great day, currently at 250 meters. Very tough, arms are tired, but every pull up is one pull up nearer the top. Passed Pitch 6 out of 16. Sleeping on a portaledge tonight.”

Having attempted and completed a marathon, kayaked, sky-dived with the Red Devils and accepted El Cap’s challenge,  Major Phil Packer is, in our opinion, the perfect candidate as one of our extreme sports personalities.

To find out more about him, or if you would like to contribute to his fund-raising efforts, please go to:

His is a noble cause and I will keep you posted on the climb…


Skydiving over Everest

October 17, 2008

Described by the organisers as “a feast for those who seek to stimulate all their senses to the point of near overload” the Mount Everest skydive took the participants breath away – literally.

After becoming the first woman from her country to skydive over the world’s highest mountain,  Scottish born Jane Dougall was asked if she would ever do it again?

“Absolutely not,” speaking from Nepal she told TODAY’s Ann Curry, “It was the most phenomenal chance of a lifetime; I really did appreciate doing it at the time. But I’m gonna admit, hands up, I’m a coward, I’m scared, and no, I don’t think I’d like to do it again.”

However she did admit that it had been the most incredible experience, absolutely spetacular views and the experience of a lifetime.

A trio from Britain, New Zealand, and Canada were the first people to accomplish the feat and so get their names into the records books – Holly Budge, Wendy Smith and Neil James respectively.

Holly Budge, 29, a Winchester-born extreme sports enthusiast, said, after making a safe landing at a site 12,350 feet (3,765 metres) above sea level — the highest “drop zone” achieved by a parachutist,  that “It was amazing, just spectacular. We had one minute of freefall and while we were above the clouds you could see Everest and the other high mountains popping out of the top,”

Before making her leap into the record books, Holly Budge, an experienced skydiver, explained that the unprecedented project was “first and foremost a challenge to myself. It’s all about taking yourself out of your comfortable norm.”

They fell at speeds reaching 140mph, hurtling past the highest ridges of the snow-laden Himalayas, before each released a parachute, made three times the size of a normal canopy to cope with the thin air. The jumpers wore oxygen masks to prevent their lungs from collapsing as they fell. Wearing neoprene underwear was compulsory — to prevent them from being frozen to death!

To Holly this experience was the most perfect 30th birthday present!

High and Wild, the British adventure travel company behind the project, is offering this unique experience to any interested extreme adrenaline seekers …

“Combine the visual impact of looking onto the summit of Mt. Everest and some of the other highest mountains in the world and freefalling past them; this adventure is a feast for those who seek to stimulate all their senses to the point of near overload. The 8,000ft wall of Nuptse and Lhotse which has an average height of 26,000ft are dwarfed by Mt. Everest behind at 29,035ft. The picture is taken from 25,000ft. This is 4,500ft below our jump altitude,” they say.


Remember the Skydive that was going to happen over Mt Everest?

October 15, 2008

Did you read my article about a planned skydive over Mt. Everest? An extreme skydive and extreme experience indeed. Here’s the first installment…

More later…


A little bit of Skydiving madness

October 6, 2008

A bit of madness for Monday morning – skydiving taken to an extreme… or, instead of bar hopping it’s plane hopping…

Thanks to  chrisdevins for this video.


It’s Been an Everest Day

October 2, 2008

Yesterday, the name Mount Everest seemed to pop up everywhere.

First of all I watched the film ‘Touch the Top of the World’ which was the documentary film of Erik Weihenmayer’s journey to Everest from his youth when he started going blind, to his family’s battle that he have a normal childhood and not be packed off to a blind school, through the wrestling days and the beginning of his love of climbing, the teaching, and meeting his wife-to-be, meeting P.V. Scaturro, the team leader, and the actual ascent of Everest.

The film showed eloquently the difficulties he had and the amazing support he had from his team of good friends. I mean, imagine going up one of the climbing ladders with crampons on your boots, holding onto ropes with both hands and not being able to see the next rung… Being told that he has to jump a crevice and that he has to take a run and jump as far as he can because if he doesn’t make it he will definitely fall to his death – and not even being able to see exactly how wide the gap is and where exactly to take off.

It beggars belief. It is an amazing story. Did you know that only one in six people who try to conquer Everest actually summit and get down alive? There are two dominating factors when attempting Everest – “ambition and fear. Ambition is the overwhelming desire to get you to the top, and fear is what keeps you alive”.

This was advice that P.V. gave Erik in the early days when he was struggling in the ice fields. Because of Erik it had taken them 13 hours to get over the ice fields on one of the practice days – when in reality they HAD to do it in 6 to get to the next base camp.

There is an old Tibetan saying: “The nature of mind is like water; if you do not disturb it, it will become clear.” In other words, when taking on a challenge, clear your mind of expectation and take it one step at a time and this is what Erik did.

You need 6 – 10 weeks on Everest doing practice climbs, getting to base camp 2 and back, base camp 3 and back, base camp 4 and back before you make the final challenge. This is absolutely vital to help you acclimatize. Technically Everest is not as challenging as some of the other Seven Summits, but it is the altitude that can kill you.

25,000ft is called The Death Zone. When asked what he felt like when he reached this stage, Erik said “I feel like I’ve run a marathon with a plastic bag over my head.” The reply was something like “it’s alright dude, you’re supposed to feel miserable!”

As you all know from my previous article, Erik summited and got down in one piece.

… and then I heard about Jane Dougall. Who is Jane Dougall? She is a reporter for Channel 5 News amongst other things.

Jane Dougall

Right at this minute she is trekking up through the foothills of the Himalayas to acclimatize – a 6-day trek. And what is she up to? She is about to cover a story about skydivers jumping over Everest for the first time…

However, there was a snag. To cover the story she, too, has to jump and they, the news channel, magnanimously gave her a practice tandem jump over Oxfordshire to see what it was like before “the big one.”

They have had to have suits especially made with the capability to attach oxygen masks because the air is so thin at 29,500ft. It will be -45* when they jump out of the plane so not only will the air be very thin but they will need to be protected from the extreme cold.

They are expecting to jump early next week – I will keep you posted, but you can google her yourself and read her blog.

Thanks to seracfilms for the video.


Birdmen fly into the record books

July 23, 2008

As extreme as you can get, in many senses, wingsuit flying is right up there with the other extreme sports and now I hear of people practicing their ‘hobby’ so as to create a record – well done guys, great effort. Thanks to Carlos Mayorga of the Salt Lake Tribune for reporting this story.

‘For Scott Callantine, sky diving is more than a hobby: It’s freedom.
The 38-year-old from Seattle, who in a period of 18 years has logged almost 4,000 jumps, including 400 in a wingsuit, was one of several sky divers who set three Utah sky diving slot-perfect formation records over the weekend above Tooele County.
The men set the state record in a 10-person open diamond and nine-person closed-diamond formations, all flying in a formation within 24 inches of their pre-assigned positions, breaking state records previously set by a group of only six, said Stockton sky diver Douglas Spotted Eagle. The group also set a new nine-way vertical formation record, a technique that has never been attempted in Utah, he said. Spotted Eagle brought in wingsuit pilots from across the country for the attempt.
Callantine came close to setting a world record for nonpowered human flight in a wingsuit, descending with five others from a plane 22,000 feet above Farnsworth Peak in Tooele County on Sunday. Strong head winds hindered the attempt – Callantine’s impressive 6-mile, four-minute descent was just short of a world record, Spotted Eagle said.
The men, wearing special nylon suits that allow them to fly across the sky, were hoping to reach the Tooele Valley Airport, a distance of nine miles.
“The wind was definitely not in our favor. It was blowing us all over the sky, Spotted Eagle said. “It was a great attempt and we hope to be able to come back and do this again.”
But for Callantine, who jumps dozens of times every month all over the U.S., wingsuit sky diving represents much more than breaking records.
“Surprisingly for me, it’s very relaxing to jump,” he said. “I have a long time to think. On the ground there’s lots of stresses, so I look forward to jumping. It’s a release for me.”
Justin Shorb, 27, of Salem, N.H., who has been sky diving for 10 years and wingsuit sky diving for three, founded Flock University, a Massachusetts-based school that teaches sky divers to be wingsuit pilots.
“It’s a skilled discipline so it takes a lot of experience before you can try it,” said Shorb, who flew a distance of four miles Sunday. “You need 200 sky dives before you can try a wingsuit.”
Because of the local popularity with wingsuit sky diving, Flock will soon open a branch in Tooele, Shorb noted.
In November, these six sky divers will team up with several others to attempt a world-record formation of 71 people above Lake Elsinore, Calif., Callantine said.’

Wow that will be an amazing feat – I’ve included a YouTube video put together by mccordia which shows two wingsuit flying formations, one with six people and the other with seven – so I guess the attempt to fly a formation with 71 people later in the year is going to be a truly world beating record that won’t be broken for many years. Having personally never ‘flown’ in a wingsuit I am intrigued to note the versatility and manoeuverability of the wingsuit flyers in mccordia’s video which makes me think that the formation of 71 flyers is a possibility – good luck guys.