Jean-Marc Boivin was a French extreme skier, hang glider, paraglider pilot, mountaineer speleologist, BASE jumper, filmmaker, and author. He has held several notable records throughout his life. Some of them being altitude records for hang gliding and paragliding, breaking records for a sub-glacial dive, the first ascent and ski descent in the Alps, and most importantly, the first paragliding from the tallest mountain in the world, Mount Everest. Jean, overall, was a great pioneer in adventure sports and he lived a life pursuing all that made him so passionate.
Unfortunately, his love for adventure also became the death of him. His life was cut short after he tried to BASE jump from the highest waterfall in the world, Angel Falls in Venezuela. There are just so many interesting things about Jean-Marc Boivin. Make sure to read till the end of this article to know more!
Early Life of Jean-Marc Boivin
Boivin was born to a French family in Dijon in 1951. He finished his secondary schooling in Dijon, Belfort, and Tournus. In 1971, Boivin accomplished his Baccalauréat de technicien. He studied mechanical manufacturing in Sens right after in the years 1972 and 1973. He started working in the Peugeot Factory in Dijon. It was during this time that he learned about his love for the mountains. At around the age of 14, he climbed the cliffs of Cormot. Along with this, he also skied in the Jura mountains. By his first year in Sens, he learned to be proficient at skiing. Boivin also gained his l’Ecole Nationale de Ski et d’Alpinisme de Chamonix(a diploma for guide) in 1973. Marc finished his military service with the 159th Regiment of Alpine Infantry in Briançon of section Eclaireurs en Montagne in the same year.
With so much accomplishment in hand within just two years of having discovered his love for adventure and the mountains, he declared himself an all-rounder professional in adventures.
Jean-Marc Boivin’s Career
Jean-Marc Boivin had been one to excel at many adventure sports. He was the first person to ever paraglide from Mount Everest(8,848m), which is the tallest mountain in the world. Besides him, not many, including even the most experienced adventurers in the world, have been as brave to do what he did. The lot many people in different fields of adventure sports know Jean as an alpinist, skier, paraglider, and a speleologist. He also went on to write a book in his life, making him an author as well as a filmmaker, as his work also extends to filmmaking.
As an alpinist, Jean-Marc had made the hardest ascents of alps like the Albinoni-Gabarrou goulotte on Mont Blanc du Tacul in 1972, the Lagarde-Ségogne on the Aiguille du Plan in 1976 and the Bonatti-Zapelli on the Grand Pilier d’Angle in 1978.
He was known for his participation in the concept called enchaînement, where one finishes the most difficult climbing in a single outing. Besides just climbing, he has hand-glided from the summit of the Aiguille de Blaitière. Along with this, he was also one to make the first solo ascent of the Bettembourg-Thivierge on the Aiguille Verte. He was skiing down the Whymper Couloir on his way back. He was the first to make the first ski descent of the south face of Mont Blanc du Tacul. While these are some of his extreme and most admirable accomplishments in the mountains, his other achievements include that in extreme skiing.
He made some impressive ski descents from the Frendo Spur on the Aiguille du Midi, the south face of Huascarán, the north faces of Pisco and Kitarahu, the east face of the Matterhorn, etc. The 1970s marked the most advancing and admirable years for Boivin, given he made efforts to bring out the best in himself within these years as an extremist. A person, more like an admirer of the adventurer, during the Telluride Film Festival saw a clip of Boivin and said, “My hands broke a sweat as I watched Boivin. He’d make a turn, then slide for 40 feet with his skis shaking and uphill hand dragging on the snow, finally gaining enough control to make another ‘turn’. It was an awesome display and made us realize just what could be done using skis as a tool of alpinism.”
Jean-Marc also has set some of the most remarkable records in both handgliding and paragliding. He launched as a hand glider from Camp IV on K2 at an altitude of 7,600 m (24,900 ft) after having ascended the mountain. He also launched from Mount Aconcagua alongside Dominique Marchal, a two-man hang glider. After becoming the first to paraglide from Mount Everest, he said, “I was tired when I reached the top because I had broken much of the trail, and to run at this altitude was quite hard.”
Jean-Marc eventually broke the record for distance traveled as a paraglider, flying 31.5 km (19.6 mi) from Mont Maudit in the Mont Blanc massif. He arrived at Orsière after flying from the Aiguille Verte, the Aiguille du Tour, and Pointe d’Or. As a speleologist, he has a record for subglacial dive diving 117 m under the Mer de Glace while exploring the Grand Moulin de la Mer de Glace.
Likewise, he has also worked as a co-writer, director, and producer in films like Glace Extrême, 1977, Au Vent des Cimes, 1978, Aventure au Cervin, 1980, Aventure à l’Aconcagua, 1981, Aratitiyopé, 1984, L’Oiseau Rare, 1985, Descente, 1987, and Vents Contraires, 1988. He also is the author to books like Trois défis au Cervin, L’abominable homme des glaces, and L’Aventure jusqu’au bout.
First Person to Paraglide from Everest Summit
In 1988, Jean-Marc Boivin became the first person to paraglide from Everest Summit. Paragliding from the summit was something no one had tried till then. He also set a record for the fastest descent in mountaineering in Mount Everest. Moreover, this flight became the highest paraglider flight.
Jean-Marc Boivin Death
Jean-Marc Boivin attempted his BASE jump from the most dangerous and highest waterfall in the world, the Angel Falls in Venezuela. The same day, a woman had also attempted the same and had suffered along the way. Boivin made sure to be of help to her and took her out of danger at that time. After the first failed attempt, on his second try, many witnesses claim that a tree put a break in his jump.
There were witnesses who said that they saw him wave from the tree top that he was in. Thinking there was no danger and the BASE jumper was only waving, these people did not do much about his condition. It was only later that they found his body, by which time he had been dead due to internal injuries and bleeding.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who was the first person to paraglide from Everest?
Jean-Marc Boivin was the first person to paraglide from Everest.
Who was the first paraglider to descend from the summit?
Jean-Marc Boivin was the first paraglider descent from the summit.
How did Jean-Marc Boivin die?
Boivin was stuck in a tree before he died due to injuries during his BASE jump from Angela Falls.
When did Jean-Marc Boivin die?
Boivin died on 17 February 1990.
How old was Boivin when he died?
Boivin was only 39 years old when he died.