Moments Count: A BASE jumper in flight, gliding with the aid of a wingsuit.

Jun 8, 2011 by

base jumper in flight in wingsuit

“Eiger” translates to “ogre” in German, which seems a fitting moniker for the 13,000-foot (3,962-meter) beast of limestone, gneiss, shale, and ice that towers over the resort town of Grindelwald in the Swiss Alps. Its unpredictable weather, loose rock, and steep slopes have claimed the lives of more than 60 climbers, and yet its iconic 5,905-foot (1,800-meter) north face still proves irresistible. Now a new set of adventurers, wingsuit fliers, are not only climbing it but launching off it. Dean Potter (pictured) clinched the most heralded descent in 2009: After free soloing up the north face, he stepped into thin air for a four-mile, 9,000-vertical-foot (2,743-vertical-meter) flight that took two minutes and 50 seconds. The extreme sport is unquestionably one of the most dangerous on Earth, but perhaps that’s the allure: It’s the closest humans can get to true unadulterated flight. Return to Gallery

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