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    • Some hot air balloon company in New Mexico called “Everest”  is hoping to give rides of up to 29,000 feet to simulate the experience of climbing Mt. Everest. The trip would include the necessary oxygen masks and clothing needed to survive in such extreme altitudes. Naturally, there are concerns about whether or not such a flight is even possible and if it is possible, how safe it is. The company claims they’ve checked with the FAA and that they’re ready to handle whatever problems come their way. As for how much this will cost, the company is planning to charge $4,000 per person. 

      My question is this: Can this ride truly simulate what it’s like to climb Mt. Everest? Isn’t the whole idea to make the climb and also be on top of Everest? Secondly, this sounds just as dangerous if not more dangerous than climbing Mt. Everest. I know some of you on here like @Chris like to do epic challenges. Does this qualify as such as a challenge or is this just crazy and/or really not that cool? 

    • I guess it will be a cool balloon ride, but can never compare to climbing a mountain.

      It may be a long ride back to base after packing the balloon onto the trailer if you get caught in a bit of high altitude wind.

    • Agreed. Probably a cool experience. But different from climbing a mountain as you said. It'll be interesting to see if they pull this off and how successful they'll be at attracting recruits.

    • I have ridden a hot air ballon down the Rio Grande Gorge twice in New Mexico and loved both trips, but they did teach me a little bit about hot air ballon ride safety, and why it is important to think carefully before ascending in a balloon, which I think usually is quite safe in experienced hands.

      #1) SOME landings are not smooth and uneventful - it is not particularly unusual for the balloon to be moving across the ground when it touches down = the basket may well indeed turn on its side, and continue to be dragged along for quite a ways. This is NOT a crash, but simply a more complicated landing. Hold on tightly to the basket supports, stay inside the basket until it has stopped, and enjoy the ride. Put all your gear away way before landing and tie it down securely. DAMHIK

      #2) Pick your vendor, ballon, pilot, and follow team with a bit of thought. Ask about experience, good and bad. What kind of champaign do they celebrate a successful trip with is important too. 😍

      #3) Riding to 29.000 feet introduces all sorts of lethal opportunities - just an empty oxygen bottle could potentially be lethal. The cold might really be severe. And the balloon might really drift a very long way from take off. What happens if your pilot falls unconscious?? Seriously.

      #4) I would really want to know how much experience the ballon pilots and base team had in flying to that altitude with passengers. I would not want to be a early guinea pig. It will be alot colder than you think.

      #5) I think it would be a blast to fly that high, but it does deserve to be done with the greatest of cautions. It may well be -40ºF at that height and a heavy gale - and stuff may not work as expected at that temperature.....

      I'm probably only up 1500 feet here, on a warm spring day in New Mexico

    • Thanks for that perspective. Yeah, seems like a lot of safety concerns, no doubt. Plus, when you're that high up, how much will you really be able to see? I guess the idea is its sort of like an endurance event, no?

    • You should be able to see fine, just like looking out the window of a jet airliner.

      But much colder being outside in a basket beneath a balloon.

      I think the lowest temperature I have seen on an airliner is in the range of -55ºF - fortunately the inside of airliners, unlike balloon baskets, are heated,