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Hard Way Up, Fast Way Down - Jöttnar - Alps BASE Jump

Hard Way Up, Fast Way Down - Jöttnar - Alps BASE Jump

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Jos Davies
September 2018 | Read
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Earlier in September, Jöttnar’s Tim Howell and Willis Morris climbed Mont Blanc du Tacul’s Arête du Diable, accompanied by photographer Hamish Frost and videographer Jake Holland. 

They then threw themselves off the top.

Tim went via BASE jump, launching from an exit point likely never to have been jumped before.  Willis went by speedwing, all the way back down to the Chamonix valley, and Hamish and Jake by tandem paraglider.

Watch the video and then check out some of the behind-the-scenes stories below.


 

 


 

Heading up to the Torino hut

The afternoon before the morning after.  Willis in the gondola, heading up to the Torino Hut. 

Tim cooks dinner at the Torino Hut

What "no pic-nic" rule?  Tim gets dinner going on the balcony of the Torino Hut.

 

Willis: "The ice here above the bergschrund at the start of the Arête du Diable was bullet-hard and like concrete.  I'm stood here praying the rope goes tight soon so I can get out of this exposed position."

Moving through broken ground on the Arete du Diable

Hamish:  "We brought some Scottish conditions to the Arête du Diable! Jake nearing the top of the ridge as the clouds start to roll in.  The climb takes you directly over each of the rock towers you can see in the background.  As I was reliably told beforehand, hours and hours will pass and you won't actually have moved very far."

 


"The gearing-up process at the exit point has become a methodical task, where some parts are essential and others almost ritual.  The aim is to clear my mind and finalise all of the decision making."


 

Tim BASE jumps off the Arete du Diable

Tim opening a new BASE exit off the Pointe Chaubert on the Arête du Diable, with the summits of Mont Blanc and Mont Maudit behind.

Tim: "The gearing-up process at the exit point has become a methodical task, where some parts are essential and others almost ritual.  The aim is to clear my mind and finalise all of the decision making.  I felt sure of this jump, and in the first few seconds of launch I knew that my ability and muscle memory would see me through."

Hamish:  "This was my second time shooting Tim jumping.  It was only slightly less nerve-wracking than the first, partly from the point of view of making sure I nailed the shot and but mostly around hoping that everything goes fine with the jump. Fortunately the amount of thought and preparation Tim puts in, and the professional attitude with which he approaches his jumps serves to alleviate most of the nerves around the second point!"
Exit point on Arete du Diable - Pointe Chaubert

Tim's exit point on the Arête du Diable, Pointe Chaubert, marked by the red arrow.  The summit of Mont Blanc du Tacul is on the left and the Grandes Jorasses are visible in the distance.  Image ©Camptocamp.


"After Tim's jump, now as a three, we climbed the rest of the route to the summit of Mont Blanc du Tacul.  I launched my speedwing from 4000m, flying down the Bossons glacier, buzzing the seracs and crevasses back to the valley."


Willis on the summit of Mont Blanc du Tacul

Willis:  "After Tim's jump, now as a three, we climbed the rest of the route to the summit of Mont Blanc du Tacul.  Due to wind direction we bailed from a summit launch and continued further down the hill to find a suitable one. We did and I launched my speedwing from 4000m, flying down the Bossons glacier, buzzing the seracs and crevasses back to the valley.  It was epic."

Hamish and Jake in tandem flight back down to Chamonix

Willis: "Keen to keep the theme of the day up, Jake and Hamish launched a tandem single skin paraglider flying all the way back to Chamonix."

HamishWillis flew his speedwing all the way down to the Chamonix valley floor in a matter of minutes, whilst myself and Jake flew down in a (slightly) more leisurely sub-20 minutes in a tandem wing.  This shoot for Jöttnar was probably the craziest (talking good crazy, not bad crazy) I've worked on to date."  

 Route Overlay - Arete Du Diables

Tim and Willis are both members of the Jöttnar Pro Team

Tim is wearing a Hymir waterproof smock and Willis wears a Fenrir down jacket and Magni mid layer.  Both are wearing Vali softshell trousers.

Hamish is the photographer behind all photos in this story.  Jake is a Chamonix-based videographer, and the producer of this video.

Written By
Jos Davies

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