Passions Combined - Wingsuit from the North Wall of the Eiger
"My goal was to climb up the West Flank of the Eiger and fly my wingsuit from the vertical North Wall, combining both my passion for mountain climbing and my passion for flight"...
The North Wall. By: Rex Pemberton
Dreams of flying have captivated human imagination throughout time. Even with the advent of aircraft and the increasing availability of air travel, the ancient question stays with us:
What if we could simply spread our arms and fly like a bird? With the advent of modern wingsuits we can now do exactly that.
Since I was a young boy I’ve always had a fascination with heights and climbing. Getting to a place high in the sky where the view is spectacular I found to be very rewarding. For me climbing involves exploring the planet and undertaking adventures that push me both physically and mentally. I started rock climbing at the age of eight chasing my ambition. Following my passion at the age of 16 I was presented with an amazing opportunity to travel to Peru and climb a 20,000ft mountain. I will never forget standing on the summit. I had the Amazon basin stretched out below me, turning around I had the Andes mountain range standing tall, majestically in the sunset. From that moment I was hooked on the feeling of accomplishment. Mountain climbing made me feel truly alive. At 18 I set myself the goal to climb Mt Everest and after 3 years of fundraising (in excess of $100K) and 3 months intensive of climbing I achieved my dream and stood on top of the world. 12 months later with a second round of sponsorship funding, I completed my next goal of scaling the Seven Summits (the highest peak on all seven continents).
My dreams then started to extend beyond climbing to mountain summits. In 2002 I learned to skydive. Learning to jump from aircraft opened my mind to the three-dimensional world of aviation. Following my passion for flight I have now obtained all my professional skydiving licenses, my paragliding licenses and my private pilot certificate.
Today, the childhood dream of simply spreading my arms and legs and being able to fly is a reality. As a wingsuit airshow pilot, I am lucky enough to feel this sensation almost every day, and now I feel totally at home falling through the sky.
When I zip my wingsuit around my body, it becomes part of me. The suit allows me to leap out of a plane or off a cliff, simply spread my wings and then glide like a bird. I have experienced nothing like it and as a result I love it.
Recently my passions for mountain climbing and for wingsuit flight lead me on a very special adventure I will never forget. The journey took me to a mountain called the Eiger. The mountain is located in the heart of the Bernese Alps in Switzerland. She stands 13,020ft high and her famous North Wall has challenged climbers since the 1938 when the first ascent was made.
When you see the mountain for the first time she is captivating. I could not help but just stare, my eyes wide open, jaw dropped. The mountain towers majestically above the beautiful valleys and cow pastures of Grindelwald.