Kathmandu, Nepal — Ace daredevil and professional extreme sports enthusiast Margaery Turell planned ahead for her annual Mt. Everest climb when she brought along her Red Bull wingsuit. The 34-year-old psychiatrist from Tempe, Arizona told friends that she had no plans on dying in the “human traffic” jam on the side of the world’s highest mountain. So she decided to try something both innovative and dangerous.
“Look, was not going out that way,” said Dr. Turell speaking of the recent deaths of climbing mostly succumbing to altitude sickness coming down the famous mountain. “So I decided to do something about it. And Red Bull said they’d stand behind me.”
Over the past few weeks, several human traffic jams on the descent from Mt. Everest have claimed several lives. According to the Nepalese government, the overcrowding was due to several dangerous factors coming together at the same time including a narrow climbing window and weather conditions.
Reports of the Canadian-based coffee company Tim Hortons opening a store at the summit were false, however, it didn’t stop an Alberta-based climbing pair from dying in the “death zone” attempting to order something called ‘Timbits’ and a ‘Triple Triple.’ Tim Hortons declined to requests for comment.
She Planned Ahead
Dr. Turell’s trip to Everest’s summit was just like her previous 6 attempts. Her rock climbing and triathlon skills served her well.
“Here’s the thing about Everest that no one will tell you,” continued Dr. Turell, “it’s not the climb, it’s the descent. That’s where people die. There are a number of reasons for this, suffice to say climbers are not paying attention on their way down. They get disoriented and die.”
At approximately 10:05 AM (GMT+5:45) this past Monday, Dr. Turell reached the summit. After spending 15 minutes at the top of the world, she pulled her wingsuit from her backpack, climbed into it, and then promptly lept from the 29,000-foot mountain. Her jump shocked and surprised some of the other 300 climbers attempting to reach the summit as she told no one of her plans.
“I was so exhausted,” said 42-year-old Silicon Valley billionaire entrepreneur Dane Westfield who witnessed Dr. Turell’s stunt. “At first I was like ‘what am I looking at?’ I thought it was some kind of hallucination or something. But after taking a hit of O2, I was mad I didn’t think of it.”
Because the atmosphere is thin at such high altitudes, Ms. Turell only managed to bounce, according to her, ” a couple of times” off the side of the snowy mountain.
“At the top, it was really tricky. And I wasn’t sure it was going to work. Like with all jumps, there’s always that moment when you say to yourself, ‘I’m going to die now.’ But after about 10,000 feet, I was able to catch the wind finally and made it back to base camp just fine. I think Nepal should make this an option for all climbers.”
Since Dr. Turrel’s jump last week, Everest guides reported that several climbers are now packing wingsuits with their gear. No word on how the Nepal-based guides will descend the mountain or if anyone even cares.