Tag Archives: Felix Baumgartner

Adventurer of the Year: Felix Baumgartner

Felix Baumgartner prepares to jump from Christ the Redeemer in Rio.  photo: Red Bull Content Pool
Felix Baumgartner prepares to jump from Christ the Redeemer in Rio. photo: Red Bull Content Pool

It’s always fun to write about Felix Baumgartner. Probably because I get into so many arguments about him. People call him a daredevil, a nut, an adrenalin junkie, the Red Bull dude. Anything but a serious explorer. I wrote about him in October, just prior to his historic skydive from 128,000 feet (39,014m) on Oct. 14, 2012. A jump in which he also became the first human to break the sound barrier without a vehicle.

I watched the event live that morning, and although the Red Bull Stratos videos have been edited down to pure heroics, I can tell you there were a couple of minutes during the free fall, it did not look good. As he fell through the sound barrier (well over 800 mph) Felix was tumbling wildly out of control, arms and legs flailing. A hurricane will rip the roof off your house at 120 mph. A tornado will rip it off its foundation with winds at 300 mph. Nobody had any idea what 800 mph winds would do to the human body. I’ll be honest, when I saw that uncontrolled tumbling, I thought he was toast…

Obviously, we all know the ending.  It was picture perfect.  A man in a space suit soaring out of a cloudless sky, dropping to his knees in gratitude.  Fists held high.  It was awesome.  But now he’s up for Adventurer of the Year and if you’re gonna vote for him, you probably want to know this wasn’t just a Red Bull media stunt.  To me, it wasn’t.  But maybe you need to see a little more about Felix to be convinced.

Felix is way more than some guy who pulled a stunt.  He worked for 12 years to achieve what he did.  Because he was so well monitored, we know all kinds of things about the human body under extreme G forces.  We know NASA has at least one model to study for how to get humans back to earth, should their spacecraft fail.  And for the 70 million+ people who have seen the jump, there’s a whole new generation of explorers who just got an eyeful of possibility!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:  when a guy does something this far out on the edge, we just don’t know its importance when it happens.  But the willingness to GO that far is something we can all respect.  Hope to meet him someday. Can’t wait to see what he does next.

Adventurers of the Year 2013

Mike Libecki explores Greenland.  photo: Keith Ladzinski
Mike Libecki explores Greenland. photo: Keith Ladzinski
Every November, National Geographic unveils their Top Ten list of candidates for their Adventurer of the Year Award. Anyone can vote online and you have until Jan. 16th to do it.

This is not an easy choice. You don’t get on this list for doing anything mediocre. Or halfway. You get there for “remarkable achievements in exploration, conservation, humanitarianism, etc., blah-blah…” We call it kicking some proverbial ass in the adventure world!

What’s great about this list are the awesome stories and images that go along with it. Like me, you probably have no clue what most of these people have done. Trust me, it’s worth finding out.

So, in a first for Xpedition.TV, we’re going to take a look at every one of these awesome men and women. A few we’ve written about before (think: helium balloon & space capsule). One or two I’ve met in person. Others… I guess we’re just gonna find out.

Look for daily posts about each, although that’s probably ambitious. There’s so much to say about each of them! More to come…