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Head first into the Bhote Kosi

JANA ASENBRENNEROVA


PICS: JANA ASENBRENNEROVA

The early morning four-hour ride from Kathmandu to the Last Resort, is bumpy and full of hairpin bends. From the edge of the Bhote Kosi gorge the passengers  see the reality of what they are about to do: freefall 160 m from the bungee bridge.
Last Resort's Sunil Lama goes over the rules of jumping. "You have to keep your mind outside of the bridge, that is the thing," he tells us, "even after hundreds of jumps I am still scared. That is normal." That doesn't assure us one bit.

Bungee Master Prakash Pradhan tells everyone everything will be fine. He stands on the edge, double checks the harness of each jumper and counts until three before he lets go of their ropes he holds on to until last moment.

"Jumping is not natural to your brain like eating or drinking, so the brain tries to keep you safe, resists jumping," he explains.  
There are two jump options offered at Last Resort. One is the regular 'head first' bungee jump which is done on rubber rope and provides about 2 to 2.5 seconds of free fall. The second is called swing, which is 'legs first' and secures about six seconds of free fall at a speed about 150km/h, and you end up swinging like a pendulum. At 65 euros per jump, it is steep but worth every vertical metre.

Nick Scott, the group's entertainer from the U.K, is ready for his jump.  After his previous bungee adventures in Costa Rica and Zimbabwe, Scott says he's ready, even though this would be his highest jump so far.  "I'm not scared anymore," Scott says. "I'm addicted to it." 

Scott sits down on the bridge while one of the crew members puts the ropes and safety carabiner on him. He lifts his head towards the sun and closes his eyes. "I'm a little scared now," he admits. As the bungee master counts to three, Scott lifts his heels and allows his body to fall forward. Over the edge, his body races toward the ground, his arms flailing.

Just when it looks like Scott's body will smash into the frothing grey waters of the Bhote Kosi, the rope yanks his body up and away from danger. It's Coco Sandtner's turn. "I hope it's fast," she says. "I really need to pee."

Sandtner bites her lip, the Austrian is suddenly not so sure she wants to go through with it. Pradhan holds her ropes on the back, moves her feet towards the edge of the bridge and starts counting down from three. Sandtner's scream resonates across the gorge as she falls towards the river.

After being pulled up, her face flushed, Sandtner announces: "I'm going to jump again, this time I will go head first."  

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LATEST ISSUE
638
(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)


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