Wingsuit World Record Controversy

Posted By: The Ski Channel on June 9, 2012 3:00 am

Three days ago, Red Bull announced that 47-year-old Russian BASE jumper Valery Rozov set a world record for highest wingsuit jump.  After a grueling six-day hike to the top of Shivling, a mountain deep in the Himalayas of India, he leaped off and flew 6,420 meters (around four miles) to the ground.  It took him 90 seconds to reach the bottom, falling at 125 mph, while the rest of his crew spent three days hiking down.

Videos and news stories travel fast, and this was no exception.  Shortly after the original announcement went up, it was changed from “world record” to “breathtaking feat.”  While Rozov’s jump is a testament to his skill, nerve, and dedication, it was not, in fact, a world record. Glenn Singleman and Heather Swan completed the highest wingsuit jump in 2006.  The couple is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records from their jump off Mount Meru, another peak in the Indian Himalayas, standing at 6,604 meters.

Rozov seemed unfazed by the controversy, saying it was simply a misunderstanding, and he didn’t care if it was a record or not. The well-respected jumper is has many accomplishments in his career, including jumps that took him into a live volcano in Russia in 2009 and off Ulvetanna Peak in the Antarctic a year later.  Regardless of the record in question, it was untrod ground for Russia.  Rozov and his climbing partners were the first of their countrymen to successfully summit Shivling, a mountain named after the Hindu god of destruction and transformation.   It was a historical day.  Known for it’s treacherous passages, making it to the top was a triumph in itself. 

It was no less than a spectacular jump, but the record for highest wingsuit jump remains in tact for now.   Until then, the world will have to wait.

Feature photo credit: Denis Klero/Red Bull Content Pool