10 Ultimate Adrenaline Highs for Fearless Thrill-Seekers
Published 30 March 2016
Skydiving and bungee jumping too tame? Crank it up a gear with these ultimate adrenaline highs. You’ll need to be brave, crazy, or both. Just make sure you’re insured.
Experience Zero Gravity
Take off from Cape Canaveral onboard a specially adapted Boeing 727, nicknamed the ‘Vomit Comet’ (we’ll let you guess why). The pilot performs parabolic arcs in the sky, creating weightlessness and allowing you to float around the cabin for a minute or two. A number of famous faces have tried this out, including Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne, Stephen Hawking and ex-Top Gear presenters James May and Richard Hammond. It was also used to create the space scenes in 1995 movie Apollo 13.
Skydive over Everest
Step 1: Fly to the Himalayas. Step 2: Board a helicopter. Step 3: Fly to 29,500 feet. Step 4: Jump out over Everest. This is High Altitude Low Opening (HALO) skydiving, leaving you so air-starved that you’ll need an oxygen tank. Daredevil jumpers experience up to 60 seconds of freefall, with nothing but a parachute between them and the snow. Trips run twice a year and cost £22,500 per person for one tandem jump. Madness? Yup.
Fly to the Edge of Space
Take off from Russia’s Sokol air base in a MiG-29 “Fulcrum”, a Soviet-designed twin engine fighter jet, and soar to an attitude of 70,000 feet (that’s over 13 miles!). With nothing above you but the inky blackness of space, gaze upon the curvature of the earth, something few have ever seen. If that’s not enough, you’ll break the sound barrier and the pilot will treat you to a bit of aerial aerobatics on the way back down. This once-in-a-lifetime experience costs £14,150, a bargain compared with skydiving over Everest.
Sit in the Devil’s Pool
During Zambia’s dry season, between May and October, water levels in the Zambezi River drop sufficiently to allow thrill-seekers to walk to the edge of Victoria Falls. Here, a small rock pool, known as the Devil’s Pool, sits right on the lip of the cascade. Braver souls can jump into the water from a nearby rock (just aim for the deep bit) and feel 500 million litres of water per minute rushing past as they lean over the edge, their guide clinging firmly to their feet (hopefully).
Go Cliff Camping
Why pitch your tent in a soggy field when you could do it on the side of a cliff? Camping out on a sheer rock face suspended high above the ground is actually the least of your problems, because you have to climb up there first. Beginners and experienced climbers can try this in a number of locations, including the Rocky Mountains, Yosemite and, um, Wales.
Try Ice Diving
If scuba diving with colourful corals and tropical fish is not exciting enough for you, try diving down beneath solid ice. Ice divers wear insulated exposure suits, cut holes in the ice and plunge into the freezing water, where temperatures can drop as low as -2°C. Brrrr. Fun underwater activities involve trying to find your exit route in the darkness and pretending to stand upside down on the underside of the ice. Try it in New Zealand’s Lake Alta.
Cycle the World’s Most Dangerous Road
The North Yungas Road, also known as Death Road, runs for 43 miles between La Paz and Coroico in Bolivia. Dubbed the World’s Most Dangerous Road in 1995 when it was discovered that around 300 people die each year travelling on it, the route is now a tourist attraction for fearless mountain bikers, who dodge the cars and try not to fall down the 1,000 metre precipice.
Heli-Ski the Slopes
Skiing just too mundane for you? Try heli-skiing. You’ll be whisked off in a helicopter to the top of an otherwise inaccessible mountain, and you can ski (or board) down off-piste through soft powder snow. You can do this pretty much anywhere you can ski, but a great place to try is the world-famous ski resort of Whistler in British Columbia.
Volcano Board Down a Volatile Peak
Kind of like sandboarding, just on a volcano, this is a relatively new sport that involves whizzing down the side of a volcano on a rather flimsy wooden board. Ash is particularly painful to fall or scrape yourself on, so protective gear is required. To push the limits even further, try it on Nicaragua’s Cerro Negro, an active volcano where you can add lava flows, poisonous gases and flying debris to the dangers list.
BASE Jump: If You Dare
BASE jumping (which stands for building, antenna, span and earth – the four things you can jump from) involves jumping off a fixed object with a parachute or wingsuit. It is illegal in many places and for good reason – the fatality rate is one in 60. However, if you are determined to see if you can beat those odds (and we’re definitely not suggesting you do!) then you’ll need to do 200 solo skydives followed by a BASE jumping course before you can jump on your own.
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