Great Moments in Mofo History
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« April 1933: Though he has no flight or climbing experience, Briton MAURICE WILSON announces plans to crash-land a plane on Mount Everest and walk to the top. After two months of pilot training, he flies to India, where he’s forced to sell his plane and hoof it. Alas, his pluckiness leads to disaster: In 1934, his body is discovered on Everest at 21,000 feet.
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» Christmas Day 1969: Evangelist ARTHUR BLESSITT leaves Hollywood on a mission to carry a 12-foot, 40-pound cross to every nation on earth—193 countries and 36,000 miles later, he’s still going strong.
« January 1979: New Yorker ASHRITA FURMAN, a follower of fitness-obsessed spiritual guru Sri Chinmoy, completes 27,000 jumping jacks in a single day, earning his first Guinness record. He’s since notched 81 more, for feats like carrying a brick 77 miles and pogo-sticking to the top of Mount Fuji.
» January 1982: RAM BISWAS leaves New Delhi, India, on his bike, determined to ride forever, spreading a message of love and peace. Scariest moment on the 330,000-mile-and-counting jaunt: In 1991, he nearly succumbs to hypothermia in Alaska.
« July 1982: Californian LARRY WALTERS attaches 45 helium-filled weather balloons to a lawn chair in an attempt to realize a childhood obsession. He quickly rises to 16,000 feet and encounters dangerous sub-zero temperatures. Shooting the balloons one at a time with a BB gun, he safely brings himself back to earth.
» June 1992: STEVE FALLON reaches the top of Fionn Bheinn, completing a full circuit of the Munros, the 284 Scottish peaks that rise above 3,000 feet. Unquenched by this feat, he goes on to climb the Munros ten more times.
« October 1994: Covered in blisters from lying down and rolling along the roadside for 2,485 miles, Indian holy man LOTAN BABA reaches Jammu, in Indian-controlled Kashmir, eight months after departing his home, in Ratlam. Now, he’s on the roll again, covering 1,500 miles on his way to Lahore, Pakistan.
» October 16, 1995: Swedish adventurer GÖAN KROPP begins a self-supported trip from Stockholm, Sweden, to Mount Everest. He rides 8,000 miles (towing 240 pounds of gear), climbs solo to the summit, then rides home.
« December 1995 to February 1996: Frenchman GUY DELAGE makes a 2,455-mile crossing of the Atlantic, from Africa to Barbados, using flippers and a kickboard and sleeping in a raft rigged to drift in front of him. He’s derided in the French media as a “mad swimmer” who did it only because he was broke.
» June 1996: Fed up with beatings he suffered for breaking Islamic law, Iranian REZA BALUCHI bicycles out of Tehran and spends six years pedaling the world in the name of peace. On November 10, 2002, he’s arrested in Arizona for entering the United States without a visa. Four months later, he’s granted political asylum and runs from Los Angeles to New York in 124 days.
« January 17, 1999: After spending 147 days buried in a coffin six feet below the parking lot of a Mansfield, England, pub—eating, breathing, and excreting via a nine-inch-wide plastic tube—GEOFF SMITH emerges triumphant, having broken a buried-alive record set by his mother, Emma, in 1968.
» July 1999 to August 2000: British amateur skipper ERIC ABBOTT is rescued 12 times—twice in one day—while attempting to sail around England in his homemade boat, using a 1997 road atlas to navigate.
« August 23, 1999: After 43 days of wandering Australia’s Great Sandy Desert on a “spiritual quest,” Alaskan ROBERT BOGUCKI is picked up by a TV news helicopter, becomes airsick, and is taken down to recover—at which point the chopper takes off to film him puking.
» April 2000: Riding a mountain bike down a ski slope in Les Arcs, France, Gallic daredevil ERIC BARONE reaches a world-record snow-cycling speed of 138 miles per hour. Two years later, seconds after setting the land record of 107 mph on Nicaragua’s Cerro Negro volcano, his bike snaps in two. He takes a fantastic spill but sustains only minor injuries.
« April 3, 2003: A fishing boat rescues epileptic ocean rower ANDY HALSEY some 2,000 miles off the coast of Peru, after his failed 129-day attempt to cross the Pacific to Australia. During a particularly frustrating two-and-a-half-month period of the row, vicious winds and currents kept him from making any headway.
» July 31, 2003: Austrian FELIX BAUMGARTNER, a.k.a. “the Missile Man,” cuts the commute time across the English Channel to six minutes 20 seconds when he leaps from a transport plane at 30,000 feet and soars across it in a carbon-fiber wing suit. Baumgartner also holds the record for the lowest BASE jump, 100 feet, set in 1999 when he jumped off the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
« March 8–9, 2004: Hungarian ultramarathoner EDIT BERCES pounds out 153.6 miles on a treadmill, setting a new 24-hour world record. Her take on the experience? “I felt like a caged bird.”