Professional skier and BASE jumper JT Holmes prefers to be called an adrenaline enthusiast, not an adrenaline junkie. After skiing off the monstrous Swiss mountain the Eiger in April, you could just call him crazy. In a segment from Sunday's 60 Minutes, correspondent Anderson Cooper profiled Holmes and his amazing run. This video from 60 Minutes Overtime goes behind the scenes into how the story was shot and put together. Here's what we learned.
Holmes combined three extreme sports into one run.
Because the top of the Eiger is too steep, rocky, and icy to ski normally, Holmes had to speed-ride down the mountain with a glider parachute attached. Once he reached a more open area, he detached the parachute and skied the mountain before doing a double backflip off the side of the cliff. After removing his skis, Holmes then free fell until he opened a parachute and landed close to a mile away from the mountain’s 13,000-foot summit.
It took Holmes nearly two years to attempt the run.
Due to the Eiger’s unpredictable weather, Holmes has had to cancel plans the last two years because of fierce wind changes and snow blown off the mountain. Finally, in April 2015, the weather cleared and it was safe enough to attempt the descent.
The feat was shot with 11 cameras.
The 60 Minutes team didn’t want to take any chances in capturing the jump. For one of the shots, veteran CBS News cameraman Dan Bussell stationed himself on a peak across from the Eiger, at about 12,000 feet of elevation. The crew also shot with about six to seven cameras, including a toggle-operated Cineflex, attached to the outside of a helicopter that circled the mountain. For the POV angle, Holmes had two cameras attached to himself as well.
The first run wasn't enough for Holmes.
After a perfect first run, Holmes celebrated at the bottom of the mountain. Because the weather was perfect and he was simply waiting around, he decided to go for another run — unplanned. Despite the crew being worried about Holmes pushing his luck, the helicopter picked him up and brought him back up to the top for a second run.
The second run was nearly fatal.
On his second attempt, Holmes reached the edge of the cliff with no issues. Once he began his free fall, only one ski detached. This could have been deadly because he ran the risk of the lonely ski getting snagged in the parachute as it deployed. This is how his friend, the pioneering ski BASE jumper Shane McConkey, died in 2009. Holmes, luckily, avoided disaster. Two seconds after the jump, the ski finally came off, and he was able to deploy his parachute.