When retired Navy SEAL Mike Sarraille established out to honor the legacy of the 31 People service users who missing their life 10 several years ago on Extortion seventeen, he knew he had to go major. So when an chance offered by itself to go skydiving around Mt. Everest with former US Navy SEAL Fred Williams and the elite staff at Entire Parachute Methods (CPS), Sarraille knew it was a best match. 

On Oct 14, Sarraille and the CPS staff established out on the two-7 days skydiving expedition into the Himalayas. Their target is basic: to leap into the most excessive skydiving environment on Earth. Their problems are plenty––lack of oxygen, unpredictable climate, confined landing zones, towering Himalayan peaks, and rugged terrain––and that doesn’t even consider into account their trek to Ama Dablam foundation camp. 

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Image: Elia Saikaly

Sarraille has been documenting the expedition in Nepal and gave Men’s Journal an distinctive early seem at his journal. The excerpts from his travel journal offer a thorough seem into his journey as a result of Nepal so considerably, as nicely as perception into how the staff is preparing for their first jumps. Continue to be tuned for more updates about both equally Mike and the CPS crew, including their attempts to increase funds for the Unique Operations Warrior Basis. 

Mike Sarraille: “From the outset, my ‘why’ for this excursion was to honor my fallen brothers on Extortion seventeen and ideally increase funds to aid their children’s recent and long run instructional endeavors. Whilst that is nevertheless extremely significantly the goal, this excursion has turn into so significantly more than I could have anticipated and I’m only 8 times into a 19-day expedition. Not to mention, I have not even jumped nonetheless. 

From viewing an open-air cremation of Nepalese gentleman, engaging with nearby Hindu and Buddhist holy gentlemen, listening to the tale of my fellow expedition mates and their ‘why’, sharing a beer with other expedition users in the world’s highest city, Namche Bazaar this has by now been a whirlwind of activities, feelings, and reflection considerably beyond my first anticipations. “

Day 1: Depart Austin, TX 

A day I have been waiting for – to depart on my experience to honor my brothers while engaging in a daily life-transforming expedition. Whilst psyched and anxious, it was really hard to go away my wife. There may possibly or may possibly not have been tears, but I did not assume it was heading to be this really hard to go away my wife for 3 months, the longest extend we have at any time been apart. On top of that, I was not able to see my two young ones in Virginia to desire them a suitable goodbye and remind them just how significantly I appreciate them, producing my departure that significantly harder.

Day two: Arrive Kathmandu

As the early morning sun rises on Oct 13, our flight is two hrs from Kathmandu, Nepal. Sitting in the center aisle, as I wake up I peek to my left and catch a glimpse of one thing that would make me do a double consider – the snowcapped Himalayas, as if their peaks are amount with our altitude. Multiple passengers transfer to the left aspect of the aircraft to consider photos of the awe-inspiring peaks as a result of the window. As we method Kathmandu, the aircraft lowers its altitude, flying as a result of a valley with peaks on both equally sides right before properly touching down. 

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Fred Williams. Image: Elia Saikaly

 

Following investing 3 excruciating hrs heading as a result of customs, I’m speedily greeted by Asian Trekking staff guides who drive me as a result of the city to the Aloft hotel, in Thamel district. Following examining in, I am achieved by expedition chief Fred Williams, a former Navy SEAL and President of Entire Parachute Programs, as nicely as Dawa Steven Sherpa, a renowned Sherpa and CEO of Asian Trekking. I am also joined by Elia Saikaly, an award-profitable filmmaker and excessive adventurer who agreed to be a part of me and doc this journey. We chat about the times to occur about a number of Berrainghers––a nearby craft beer. I retire to my space, I can oversee the span of Kathmandu, home to 1.five million Nepalis, and speedily crash from the jet lag.

Day 3: Puja Ceremony and Hindu Temple Pay a visit to

On Thursday early morning, the overall expedition staff traveled back to the Kathmandu Airport to consider element in a Puja ceremony, an featuring to the Hindu gods in exchange for their blessing. This Puja is led by a couple Hindu holy gentlemen, who bless our helicopters and the pilots supporting our skydiving expedition. The ceremony lasts thirty minutes, with our overall expedition staff engaged and keen to understand from the lifestyle and fork out our respect. 

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Image: Elia Saikaly

 

Elia and I then headed to an outdated Hindu temple located in the center of the city with a important holy river managing immediately as a result of the temple. The age of the city can be felt as a result of the temple. Here we observed the cremation of a not too long ago deceased elderly gentleman. A nearby college college student who speaks English explained the Hindu perception of cremation and how Hindus ascend to heaven. At the end of the cremation, the ashes of the elderly gentleman were being swept into the holy river. Observing the cremation is surreal and a wake-up get in touch with that I am immersed in a extremely unique lifestyle. Following the cremation, we had an chance to sit down with 3 Hindu holy gentlemen and my new Nepali good friend, who translated for me.

The holy gentlemen answered my concerns about the this means of daily life from the Hindu viewpoint and then made available their blessings to me, my relatives, and our expedition staff. At just one place, just one of the holy gentlemen put his six-foot-extensive dreadlocks on major of my head as an act of kindness, as if he was gifting me his hair. They get a chuckle out of it, as do Elia and I.

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

We fulfill at the Asian Trekking Compound in which Dawa introduces us to the overall staff of Sherpas who will be guiding us on the excursion. We transfer our equipment into water-resistant duffle luggage, with each staff member finding just one day-bag for the trail, and just one foundation camp bag for excessive equipment. We load into SUVs for a just one-hour drive into the mountains at the edge of Kathmandu, in which we pull into a five-star boutique resort, The Terraces, owned by Dawa and his relatives. I don’t have the courage to tell my wife that we are staying at a five-star resort for the night as she was below the impression we would be roughing it the overall excursion. Owning opened only 8 times previously, we are between the very first company at the resort. The infinity pool and pool deck neglect the overall Kathmandu city and valley––is between the most spectacular sights to day.

The staff bonds about beers in the pool and hot tub. Sharing stories of the Teams (a colloquial term referring to the Navy SEALs), skydiving, relatives, and the occasional uncomfortable tale. The variety amongst the expedition staff starts off to strike me, this kind of incredible human beings with exclusive stories and exclusive factors for why they joined this expedition.

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Image: Elia Saikaly

As night falls, Fred Williams gathers the group to evaluation each of the meant drop zones––Syangboche, Ama Dablam, and Gorak Shep––and we evaluation restricted video footage from their preceding skydiving makes an attempt into these drop zones. Fred Williams was joined by yet another senior expedition staff member, Dr. Ryan Jackson, who is a British ER doctor, TopOut Aero Confined Co-Founder, and adventurer with more large-altitude jumps than everyone on the staff. The duo talks as a result of frame of mind, arranging concerns, and methods to execute a successful leap in these confined, large-altitude drop zones. Whilst appreciated, the stress from the gravity and threat of these jumps starts off to established in.

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

We convene at five:thirty a.m. to catch our helicopter journey aboard an AS 350 B3 to Lukla, the world’s most harmful airport. I attract the lucky straw and get to sit in the co-pilot seat for the 45-minute flight––one of the most scenic helicopter flights I’ve at any time taken. Flying earlier the foothills of the Himalayas, the early morning sun mirrored off the peaks of the mountains. As we finally method Lukla, it is beyond what I could have anticipated, a little runway tucked into the aspect of a mountain, alongside with the relaxation of the city. We then transfer to a tea household owned by Dawa’s Aunt, who presents us with Kata’s, white silk scarves, blessed by holy gentlemen. She needs us blessing for a harmless journey.

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Image: Elia Saikaly

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

We ultimately arrived at Phakding (8600 ft), a reduce elevation than Lukla. To help the acclimation method, it is a common exercise to sleep at a reduce elevation at the end of the day. The tea household is a quaint stone developing located alongside the river. Following evening meal, absolutely everyone preps for the adhering to day’s six-hour trek to Namche, the toughest hike and highest elevation gain of the overall expedition.

Day six: The expedition’s toughest trek to the world’s highest city – Namche Bazaar

The group departs for Namche Bazaar and after about an hour and a half, we access the entrance to Sagarmatha National Park––the home of Mt Everest. Sagarmatha (‘Goddess of the Sky’) is the Nepali title for Mt. Everest.

Following moving into the park, the trail speedily became extremely hard. We were being instructed this was in which the elevation gain would give absolutely everyone a workout to try to remember. The following couple hrs were being thirty-to-45 minutes of upward motion, adopted by 15-minute breaks to allow the group reform.

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Image: Elia Saikaly

Elia and I paired up for the hike as I tried to pull each and every mountaineering and expedition tale from his time in the demise zone that I could. Elia is really respected for his expedition history and has observed more demise on these threat-stuffed expeditions than most. His 24th excursion to Nepal, he educates me on Nepal, its lifestyle, and each website we take a look at.

Following hrs of mountaineering, our exhausted nonetheless psyched group enters Namche Bazaar together. A bowl-shaped terraced city, this put is identified as the highest city in the entire world. A modern marvel of design, the city is a mix of tea residences, bars, mountain equipment outfitters, outlets, and nearby households. I was shocked by how modern the city is presented the remote place.

Following examining into a tea household, the group breaks off in unique directions to consider in the city and strike the nearby watering holes. The city is stuffed with unique expedition teams, each sporting a unique expedition patch, wandering the streets and packing the bars. There is no lack of intriguing people trying to get thrills and problem, spiritual awakening and reflection. Elia and Dawa make numerous introductions to incredible individuals, each with a exclusive tale. Absolutely everyone in Namche has a tale, each worthy of listening to, either stuffed with daily life lessons, roads a lot less traveled, or daring feats attained just one move at a time.

Continue to be tuned for more protection of Sarraille’s skydiving expedition in the Nepal. If you’d like to help Mike aid the Unique Operations Warrior Basis, you can donate here. 


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