On Sunday 15 May, Johannesburg-based climber Pierre Carter jumped off Mount Everest at a height of nearly 8,000 metres (26,247 feet), becoming the first person to legally paraglide off the world’s highest peak.
Carter has been rock climbing since 1982 and paragliding since 1988, and it was back in 1998 at a Mountain Everest exhibition that he got the idea to fly off the world’s tallest mountains. Seven years later, in 2005, he began his 7Summits7Flights mission – the goal: climb and paraglide from the highest mountain on each continent. So far, Carter has ticked off Aconcagua in Argentina, Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Mt Elbrus in Russia, Carstenz Pyramid in Indonesia, and several other peaks – repeatedly in the case of Aconcagua, Mt Elbrus and Kilimanjaro. In 2016, he climbed to the top of Denali – North America’s highest peak – but was refused permission to paraglide down by the authorities.
Having saved up for roughly a decade to tick Everest off the list, this recent achievement is nothing short of astounding.
Although Carter is the first person to legally paraglide off Everest, there have been three recorded flights from the peak in 1988, 2002 and 2011. Mountaineer Dawa Steven Sherpa of Asian Trekking is quoted by The Citizen as saying, “This is the first time Nepal has issued a flight permit on its mountains.” He believes that authorities have realised the boost that these kind of activities can give the Nepalese tourism industry, and Carter’s flight is likely to inspire other adventurers to attempt similar feats legally.
Find out more about Carter’s 7Summits7Flights mission at the button below, and check out this article from the Daily Maverick for the full story on his flight.