Update on Mike Sarraille’s Mt. Everest Skydiving Mission

James J. Latham

When retired Navy SEAL Mike Sarraille set out to honor the legacy of the 31 Americans provider customers who shed their life 10 years back on Extortion 17, he understood he had to go significant. So when an possibility presented alone to go skydiving in the vicinity of Mt. Everest with previous US Navy SEAL Fred Williams and the elite group at Entire Parachute Answers (CPS), Sarraille understood it was a great fit. 

On Oct 14, Sarraille and the CPS group set out on the two-week skydiving expedition into the Himalayas. Their purpose is very simple: to leap into the most severe skydiving natural environment on Earth. Their problems are plenty––lack of oxygen, unpredictable temperature, confined landing zones, towering Himalayan peaks, and rugged terrain––and that does not even get into account their trek to Ama Dablam base camp. 

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Photo: Elia Saikaly

Sarraille has been documenting the expedition in Nepal and gave Men’s Journal an unique early search at his journal. The excerpts from his vacation journal present a detailed search into his journey by Nepal so much, as very well as insight into how the group is planning for their original jumps. Remain tuned for additional updates about both Mike and the CPS crew, which include their efforts to increase cash for the Exclusive Functions Warrior Basis. 

Mike Sarraille: “From the outset, my ‘why’ for this excursion was to honor my fallen brothers on Extortion 17 and hopefully increase cash to assistance their children’s present-day and foreseeable future educational endeavors. Even though that is still pretty substantially the goal, this excursion has turn into so substantially additional than I could have anticipated and I’m only 8 days into a 19-working day expedition. Not to mention, I have not even jumped yet. 

From seeing an open up-air cremation of Nepalese guy, partaking with community Hindu and Buddhist holy males, listening to the tale of my fellow expedition mates and their ‘why’, sharing a beer with other expedition customers in the world’s best town, Namche Bazaar this has previously been a whirlwind of occasions, emotions, and reflection much outside of my original expectations. “

Day one: Depart Austin, TX 

A working day I have been waiting for – to depart on my journey to honor my brothers although partaking in a daily life-modifying expedition. Even though fired up and anxious, it was challenging to depart my spouse. There may well or may well not have been tears, but I did not assume it was going to be this challenging to depart my spouse for a few months, the longest stretch we have at any time been apart. In addition, I was not able to see my two little ones in Virginia to would like them a suitable goodbye and remind them just how substantially I adore them, creating my departure that substantially more durable.

Day two: Arrive Kathmandu

As the early morning sun rises on Oct 13, our flight is two hrs from Kathmandu, Nepal. Sitting down in the middle aisle, as I wake up I peek to my remaining and catch a glimpse of a thing that makes me do a double get – the snowcapped Himalayas, as if their peaks are stage with our altitude. Many travellers transfer to the remaining side of the airplane to get photos of the awe-inspiring peaks by the window. As we solution Kathmandu, the airplane lowers its altitude, traveling by a valley with peaks on both sides prior to securely touching down. 

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Fred Williams. Photo: Elia Saikaly

 

Just after spending a few excruciating hrs going by customs, I’m immediately greeted by Asian Trekking group guides who travel me by the town to the Aloft hotel, in Thamel district. Just after examining in, I am achieved by expedition chief Fred Williams, a previous Navy SEAL and President of Entire Parachute Methods, as very well as Dawa Steven Sherpa, a renowned Sherpa and CEO of Asian Trekking. I am also joined by Elia Saikaly, an award-profitable filmmaker and severe adventurer who agreed to join me and document this journey. We converse about the days to occur more than several Berrainghers––a community craft beer. I retire to my area, I can oversee the span of Kathmandu, household to one.five million Nepalis, and immediately crash from the jet lag.

Day 3: Puja Ceremony and Hindu Temple Check out

On Thursday early morning, the full expedition group traveled back to the Kathmandu Airport to get part in a Puja ceremony, an providing to the Hindu gods in trade for their blessing. This Puja is led by a several Hindu holy males, who bless our helicopters and the pilots supporting our skydiving expedition. The ceremony lasts 30 minutes, with our full expedition group engaged and keen to learn from the lifestyle and pay back our respect. 

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Photo: Elia Saikaly

 

Elia and I then headed to an outdated Hindu temple positioned in the center of the town with a vital holy river jogging immediately by the temple. The age of the town can be felt by the temple. Here we noticed the cremation of a recently deceased aged guy. A community university student who speaks English stated the Hindu belief of cremation and how Hindus ascend to heaven. At the conclusion of the cremation, the ashes of the aged guy have been swept into the holy river. Observing the cremation is surreal and a wake-up contact that I am immersed in a pretty unique lifestyle. Just after the cremation, we had an possibility to sit down with a few Hindu holy males and my new Nepali good friend, who translated for me.

The holy males answered my questions about the this means of daily life from the Hindu standpoint and then provided their blessings to me, my relatives, and our expedition group. At one particular stage, one particular of the holy males put his six-foot-lengthy dreadlocks on prime of my head as an act of kindness, as if he was gifting me his hair. They get a chortle out of it, as do Elia and I.

Day 4: Motion to The Terraces for the first evening of acclimatization 

We meet up with at the Asian Trekking Compound where by Dawa introduces us to the full group of Sherpas who will be guiding us on the excursion. We transfer our gear into waterproof duffle luggage, with each individual group member finding one particular working day-bag for the path, and one particular base camp bag for severe gear. We load into SUVs for a one particular-hour travel into the mountains at the edge of Kathmandu, where by we pull into a five-star boutique vacation resort, The Terraces, owned by Dawa and his relatives. I never have the bravery to notify my spouse that we are remaining at a five-star vacation resort for the evening as she was under the perception we would be roughing it the full excursion. Having opened only 8 days earlier, we are between the first guests at the vacation resort. The infinity pool and pool deck ignore the full Kathmandu town and valley––is between the most amazing sights to day.

The group bonds more than beers in the pool and warm tub. Sharing tales of the Teams (a colloquial phrase referring to the Navy SEALs), skydiving, relatives, and the occasional uncomfortable tale. The variety among the expedition group commences to strike me, these types of astounding human beings with special tales and special explanations for why they joined this expedition.

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Photo: Elia Saikaly

As evening falls, Fred Williams gathers the group to assessment each individual of the meant drop zones––Syangboche, Ama Dablam, and Gorak Shep––and we assessment limited movie footage from their previous skydiving makes an attempt into these drop zones. Fred Williams was joined by yet another senior expedition group member, Dr. Ryan Jackson, who is a British ER health practitioner, TopOut Aero Limited Co-Founder, and adventurer with additional higher-altitude jumps than anyone on the group. The duo talks by state of mind, arranging issues, and procedures to execute a effective leap in these confined, higher-altitude drop zones. Even though appreciated, the stress from the gravity and chance of these jumps commences to set in.

Day five: Helicopter flight to the World’s most perilous airport, Lukla

We convene at five:30 a.m. to catch our helicopter trip aboard an AS 350 B3 to Lukla, the world’s most perilous airport. I attract the fortunate straw and get to sit in the co-pilot seat for the forty five-minute flight––one of the most scenic helicopter flights I have at any time taken. Traveling previous the foothills of the Himalayas, the early morning sun reflected off the peaks of the mountains. As we at last solution Lukla, it is outside of what I could have anticipated, a little runway tucked into the side of a mountain, along with the rest of the town. We then transfer to a tea household owned by Dawa’s Aunt, who gifts us with Kata’s, white silk scarves, blessed by holy males. She wishes us blessing for a harmless journey.

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Photo: Elia Saikaly

We start a 3.five hour downhill trek, which is hell on my knees. Walking the path along the river valley, there is no lack of gripping sights. The path span bridges gave us a deep respect for the river and its amazing ability.

We inevitably arrived at Phakding (8600 ft), a lower elevation than Lukla. To support the acclimation procedure, it is a common follow to slumber at a lower elevation at the conclusion of the working day. The tea household is a quaint stone setting up positioned along the river. Just after dinner, every person preps for the next day’s six-hour trek to Namche, the hardest hike and best elevation obtain of the full expedition.

Day 6: The expedition’s hardest trek to the world’s best town – Namche Bazaar

The group departs for Namche Bazaar and soon after about an hour and a 50 percent, we attain the entrance to Sagarmatha Countrywide Park––the household of Mt Everest. Sagarmatha (‘Goddess of the Sky’) is the Nepali name for Mt. Everest.

Just after moving into the park, the path immediately turned pretty challenging. We have been instructed this was where by the elevation obtain would give every person a training to recall. The upcoming several hrs have been 30-to-forty five minutes of upward motion, followed by 15-minute breaks to allow the group reform.

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Photo: Elia Saikaly

Elia and I paired up for the hike as I tried to pull every mountaineering and expedition tale from his time in the demise zone that I could. Elia is extremely highly regarded for his expedition record and has noticed additional demise on these chance-filled expeditions than most. His twenty fourth excursion to Nepal, he educates me on Nepal, its lifestyle, and each individual internet site we pay a visit to.

Just after hrs of mountaineering, our exhausted yet fired up group enters Namche Bazaar jointly. A bowl-formed terraced town, this location is regarded as the best town in the world. A contemporary marvel of design, the town is a mix of tea houses, bars, mountain gear outfitters, retailers, and community households. I was stunned by how contemporary the town is presented the remote area.

Just after examining into a tea household, the group breaks off in unique directions to get in the town and strike the community watering holes. The town is filled with unique expedition teams, each individual putting on a unique expedition patch, wandering the streets and packing the bars. There is no lack of fascinating persons seeking thrills and obstacle, spiritual awakening and reflection. Elia and Dawa make a lot of introductions to astounding human beings, each individual with a special tale. Absolutely everyone in Namche has a tale, each individual worthy of listening to, both filled with daily life classes, roadways much less traveled, or daring feats attained one particular step at a time.

Remain tuned for additional coverage of Sarraille’s skydiving expedition in the Nepal. If you’d like to assistance Mike assistance the Exclusive Functions Warrior Basis, you can donate below. 


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