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Expedition Everest 2008

Expedition Everest 2008 – 2008 saw Five News’ Jane Dougall become the first Scot to Sky Dive from 29,500 foot over the Himalayas and the world’s highest mountain – Mount Everest!

Jane and the Five News team arrived in Nepal in September for the challenge of a life time.

After a fortnight in the Himalayas, she jumped out of a plane and into the record books.

From 29,500 feet she skydived above the highest mountain in the world to complete her part in Expedition Everest.

The expedition was a world first. Jane Dougall, our fearless reporter jumped out of an aeroplane at 29,500 feet into the Himalayas and the highest drop zone in the world.

This was an adventure about endurance and exhilaration. Jane, producer Laura and Adam the cameraman flew into Kathmandu, the Nepalese Capital.

They stayed there for one night before flying on a tiny plane to a very short and steep mountain runway at Lukla in the Himalayas.

They then trekked for 6 days for between 6 and 10 hours a day on foot, through mountain villages, over high suspension bridges, past monasteries and high mountain passes to Pheriche, the highest point at 13,950 feet.

They ascended almost 5,000 feet in those 6 days. They kept a close eye on their physical state, looking for any signs of altitude sickness. A specialist doctor was on hand to make sure they acclimatized properly.

Once acclimatized they headed back down to the highest Drop Zone in the world at Syangboche (12,350 feet) for briefings and practice jumps before the big jump day.

Jane jumped in a specially designed flight suit, helmet and oxygen mask strapped to one of the world’s most experienced skydivers.

For this expedition, some of the top adventurers in the world got together to meticulously plan, deploy and prepare.

Before the team left we spoke to Nigel Gifford OBE, the creator of the expedition, from Nepal. He said “This really is the highest drop zone in the world and it’s probably one of the most spectacular environments in the world.”

“There are five 8000 metre peaks in the area, Everest being the highest, and nobody has ever got out of an aeroplane and free-fallen past these mountains. It’s a world first.”

“Everyone that’s involved with this and even people in the street are wishing us well with this fantastic adventure. People are saying this is as big an adventure as Everest being climbed in 1953!”

Before she left for Nepal, Jane did a preparation tandem jump in Oxfordshire – her first ever! She said, “Before I did this, I was under the impression you ‘jumped out of the ‘plane. Well, you don’t ‘jump’ out of the ‘plane … you drop out of the ‘plane! I was hurtling towards the ground at 120 mph with a man strapped to my back!”

“Initially I was terrified at the speed but then I found the air was rushing towards me so quickly I couldn’t breathe. So when the parachute opened I wasn’t just relieved we wouldn’t hit the ground at 120 mph, I was thankful I could breathe again.”

“From there onwards the experience was phenomenal. The views are amazing and from ten thousand feet everything looks miniscule. I loved floating towards the ground with my instructor, Wayne, pointing out landmarks as we descended. That was in Oxfordshire, now I have to do the same thing again in Nepal … only much, much higher!”
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