Siddhesh Sonawdekar

Behind the scenes of Mt Blanc skydive

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Watch the story behind Vince Reffet and Fred Fugen’s incredible skydive above Mt Blanc.

At 10,000m (or 33,000ft) of altitude, a human has a useful consciousness of about 20-30 seconds and will survive for just a few minutes.

Fig : Oxygen was vital at the altitude they jumped

This was the stark warning given to French skydivers Fred Fugen and Vince Reffet before they embarked on their ambitious attempt to combine a high altitude jump with freefall acrobatics, followed by a proximity swoop over mountain ridges.

The video below gives the full background to their amazing adventure.

High altitude acrobatic skydiving FULL RUN - Red Bull

"When we started, my first objective was to make them aware of the dangers," says Dr Ryan Jackson, their high altitude advisor.

As can be imagined, the project required considerable logistical planning and support. But one of the biggest obstacles was not the lack of oxygen but the strict regulations imposed by air traffic controllers in Geneva.

"Technically it was very difficult"

"They only gave us a window of between 3pm and 3.15pm to make the jump, as we were in the middle of the airspace for all the commercial airline traffic," says Fred.

Fred Fugen from Vincent Reffet perspective jumping at 33 000 feet (10 km) above the Mont Blanc, France, on May 31st 2014
Fig : Heading for Phase 3: The swoop down Mont Blanc

"The problem was the turbulence. In the afternoon, its much more powerful and it was a real challenge to go down the mountains and stay close to the rocks without losing control. Technically, it was very difficult."

"The project was the result of a lot of prepartion," he adds. "It was a big dream and Im so happy we made it."

Fred Fugen at hangar 8th, training in Austria in may 12th for a jump at 33 000 feet (10 km) above the Mont Blanc, France, on May 31st 2014
Fig : Do the math: altitude + parachute + mountain = fun

Besides the back up team, Fred and Vince were joined by Texan cameraman Noah Bahnson.

"He did the same jump as us but with a camera and a still camera on his head!" says Fred.

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