Updated: Thursday, 12 June 2014 04:44 | By Agence France-Presse

Swiss wingsuit divers make first jump from Matterhorn

Two Swiss extreme sports fans have made the first ever wingsuit jump from the summit of the Matterhorn, they said Wednesday.


Swiss wingsuit divers make first jump from Matterhorn

- by GCM

"It's the most marvellous jump that we'll make in our lives. If you could pick a mountain for such a first, it would have to be the Matterhorn," Geraldine Fasnacht said on her website.

The Matterhorn lies on the Swiss border with Italy, and its pyramidal peak is considered a national symbol in the Alpine country.

To make their jump, which took place Saturday, Fasnacht and fellow flyer Julien Meyer first had to scale the 4,478-metre (14,692-foot) peak.

Accompanied by two mountain guides, and hampered by snow, they took eight hours to climb from the Hoernli way-station.

They opted to jump from the east face of the Matterhorn, flew for a few dozen seconds around the peak and then landed on the north face.

Wingsuit divers wear special jumpsuits that add surface area to the body, enabling them to glide like a bird, before opening a parachute like a regular skydiver.

The Swiss Alps are a magnet for wingsuit divers and base-jumpers -- the latter sport is named for the parachute leaps that practitioners make from buildings, antennas, spans such as bridges, and earth sites such as cliffs and mountains.

Fastnacht, 28, is a well-known member of the global extreme sports scene.

Besides wingsuiting and base-jumps, she is also a snowboarder.

"It was snowboarding that gave me a desire to really get to know the mountains. It's like surfing on an infinite wave," she said.

She has already made several snowboard and base-jump expeditions in the polar regions, including Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic and the Norwegian-administered Queen Maud Land in the Antarctic.

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