Edinburgh flying skier tackles '˜Lord of the Skies'

A DAREDEVIL has put his hat into the ring to become the next 007 after he soared from the top of a mountain known as '˜Lord of the Skies'. The adrenaline junkie flew from the 7km peak while strapped to skis - channelling Roger Moore's famous scene from The Spy Who Loved Me, minus the Union Jack parachute.

Tuesday, 10th October 2017, 7:00 am
Updated Monday, 11th December 2017, 10:26 pm
Scott Becker has set an unofficial world record for the highest altitude flight, using a speedwing. Picture: contributed

Scott Becker, who has lived and worked in the Capital for more than a decade, flew from the 7,010m summit of Khan Tengri in Kyrgyzstan. The American-born explorer’s adrenalin-fuelled feat was also the first flight of any kind from the summit of the peak.

The speed flyer, who works as master ski technician for Blues The Ski Shop in Rose Street, took just five and a half minutes to fly off the summit and soar 3,000 metres to safely land on the glacier below. To descend the Lord of the Skies on foot takes two days.

Speed flying is a sport that combines elements of paragliding, parachuting and skiing. Competitors use a small and fast fabric wing which is inflated overhead by the incoming wind, to launch off a steep slope and glide through the air.

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Scott, who has climbed since he was a child and made the jump from skydiving to speed flying four years ago, said the flight from the summit was an incredible experience.

He said: “The climb was challenging and a real test of my physical and mental endurance.

“The descent by speed-wing from the summit was extremely exhilarating. I believe it is the highest altitude flight ever made on a speedwing. It was a really fast descent – an unforgettable experience.

“The aim of the expedition was to climb, ski and fly at high altitude, building on extensive experience gained in Scotland and the Alps to tackle higher and more remote mountains.”

He added: “I get bored easily, so adventurous sports like skiing, climbing and speed-flying are the perfect antidote for my restless spirit. That’s what drew us to the Tian Shan region.

“We always planned an ascent of Khan Tengri and I was extraordinarily fortunate with the weather on our summit attempt.

“We’d planned the trip for over nine months and I knew the wind conditions at the top would determine if I could use the wing or would need to make a long and arduous descent of the ropes back to camp three. However, conditions at the summit were almost ideal. After an hour assessing the wind and preparing my wing, I went for it and after a slightly challenging take-off, everything went perfectly.”

During the expedition, the 29-year-old explorer and his friend, Euan Moir, also from Edinburgh, enjoyed some Alpine-style climbing in the mountainous Tian Shan region. On his second attempt, Scott successfully tackled the 5,840m Byankol in difficult conditions.

The journey to base camp below Khan Tengri was almost as eventful as Scott’s expedition on the slopes and involved hours of driving on treacherous roads. Scott added: “After flying from Edinburgh to Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, the next leg involved eight hours of hazardous driving in a car with a cracked windscreen and drivers constantly swerving to avoid obstacles.”