The First Woman To Skydive Mount Everest

Holly became the first woman to skydive Mount Everest on October 6th 2008. She jumped out of a plane at 29,500ft, looking onto the summit of Everest and had a bird’s eye view of some of the most breath-taking mountain scenery before landing at 12,350ft, the highest civilian landing area.

“When I heard about this world first expedition I knew it was an opportunity I didn’t want to miss out on. So, I dug a little deeper and it quickly became apparent that there were no other women signed up. I knew that was my hook for getting sponsors onboard.

The organiser said “Can I count you in Holly?”, without thinking too much about the ‘if’s and ‘but’s’, (and worried if I did think about it, I may talk myself out of it), I say “YES! Count me in”. He said “Great, that will be £24,000 please”, for me and a camera man to go with me. I said “Ummmmm, yes…. I’m in”. I knew that by committing to this huge goal first and worrying about the finer details second, I would give it my all to find the vital sponsors I needed to make it happen.”

Holly became the first woman to skydive Mount Everest on October 6th 2008. She jumped out of a plane at 29,500ft, looking onto the summit of Everest and had a bird’s eye view of some of the most breath-taking mountain scenery before landing at 12,350ft, the highest civilian landing area.

“When I heard about this world first expedition I knew it was an opportunity I didn’t want to miss out on. So, I dug a little deeper and it quickly became apparent that there were no other women signed up. I knew that was my hook for getting sponsors onboard.

The organiser said “Can I count you in Holly?”, without thinking too much about the ‘if’s and ‘but’s’, (and worried if I did think about it, I may talk myself out of it), I say “YES! Count me in”. He said “Great, that will be £24,000 please”, for me and a camera man to go with me. I said “Ummmmm, yes…. I’m in”. I knew that by committing to this huge goal first and worrying about the finer details second, I would give it my all to find the vital sponsors I needed to make it happen.”

Holly freefalled past Mount Everest in excess of 140mph, in temperatures of -40C.

“It was a very different experience to any skydive I had done before and indeed, different to other high altitude jumps, because of the inhospitable terrain and conditions.

The first difference, besides the exit altitude of 29,500ft as opposed to the normal 12-15,000ft, was the temperature. I was jumping in -40 degrees. To help with the biting cold, I wore a full-face neoprene facemask and a special insulated jump suit, so none of my skin was exposed. The second difference was jumping with oxygen. I had never jumped with oxygen before so this felt strange! I had oxygen in the plane for the 45 mins ascent from 12,350ft and then I switched to an oxygen bottle for the freefall. The third difference was the size of my parachute. It was three times the size of my normal chute but landed at the same speed due to the 12,350ft elevation of the landing area and the thinner air at that altitude. The last difference was the landing area. On two sides were 1000ft drop offs to the valley’s below. There were very few, if any, alternative places to land in this treacherous terrain, so it was imperative I made it back to the designated landing area. I made it back in one piece!”

Holly freefalled past Mount Everest in excess of 140mph, in temperatures of -40C.

“It was a very different experience to any skydive I had done before and indeed, different to other high altitude jumps, because of the inhospitable terrain and conditions.

The first difference, besides the exit altitude of 29,500ft as opposed to the normal 12-15,000ft, was the temperature. I was jumping in -40 degrees. To help with the biting cold, I wore a full-face neoprene facemask and a special insulated jump suit, so none of my skin was exposed. The second difference was jumping with oxygen. I had never jumped with oxygen before so this felt strange! I had oxygen in the plane for the 45 mins ascent from 12,350ft and then I switched to an oxygen bottle for the freefall. The third difference was the size of my parachute. It was three times the size of my normal chute but landed at the same speed due to the 12,350ft elevation of the landing area and the thinner air at that altitude. The last difference was the landing area. On two sides were 1000ft drop offs to the valley’s below. There were very few, if any, alternative places to land in this treacherous terrain, so it was imperative I made it back to the designated landing area. I made it back in one piece!”

The writing was on the wall…

“When I first laid eyes on Mount Everest on the Skydive Everest Expedition, I was hooked. I stared at the elusive summit in awe, wandering about the kind of people who attempt to climb this beast of a mountain and then wandering, could I do it?

I had a strong feeling in my gut that I would be back one day to try and climb to the summit. At that time, I had no idea about mountaineering but that didn’t deter me. I knew I could learn those skills, or at least have a go…”

The writing was on the wall…

“When I first laid eyes on Mount Everest on the Skydive Everest Expedition, I was hooked. I stared at the elusive summit in awe, wandering about the kind of people who attempt to climb this beast of a mountain and then wandering, could I do it?

I had a strong feeling in my gut that I would be back one day to try and climb to the summit. At that time, I had no idea about mountaineering but that didn’t deter me. I knew I could learn those skills, or at least have a go…”

Hear the full story

Holly’s Skydive Deconstructed

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