The Discovery Channel loves to air huge, heart-stopping risks — like Nik Wallenda walking a tight-rope across the Grand Canyon — but its next one might be the scariest of them all.
The network announced that Joby Ogwyn will attempt the first wingsuit jump off Mount Everest, Earth's highest mountain with a peak of 29,029 feet, in May's "Everest Jump Live."
They will cover his training and preparation in two hour-long specials, then follow him live as he makes his way up to the summit and jumps off in a custom-made wingsuit equipped with cameras. Viewers will be able to watch along as he plunges 10,000 feet toward the bottom at 150 mph.
The 40-year-old Ogwyn has been an adventure addict all his life, climbing volcanoes and exploring Mayan ruins in Guatemala as a teen. At 18, he climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, and at 24, became the youngest American to reach the summit of Mount Everest. In 2008, he climbed from the base of the south side route to the summit in just nine and a half hours, setting the world record for the fastest ascent of Everest (it takes most people at least three days to complete that feat).
The California native is best known as a speed climber: In 2004, he broke the speed ascent record by reaching the 8,000 foot summit of Cho Oyu in Tibet in just eight hours. Four years later, he climbed Mount Everest in just eight and a half hours.
And Ogwyn is no stranger to TV. He teamed up with National Geographic to make "Adventure Wanted," which featured him racing cars, base jumping, bull riding, and white-water kayaking.
More recently, he's been making wingsuit flights off of the Matterhorn — one of the highest peaks in the Alps with its 14,692 feet high summit — and near Mount Everest.
If Ogwyn is successful, this will be the first wingsuit flight off the summit of Mount Everest, though daredevil Valery Rozov did it from 23,688 feet off the north face of the mountain. He spent two years planning the expedition and four days climbing with his support team.
It's an extremely challenging task as the air near the top is so thin. That's why Ogwyn requires a special wingsuit to handle the thin air and the extremely cold temperatures (-33 degrees Farenheit or even lower). When Rozov jumped, he spent more time freefalling than usual because of the thin air. It's likely that Ogwyn will have a similar experience.
[Related: Nik Wallenda Canyon Walk Earns 13M Viewers]
"This will be the final piece of my dream. Ever since I was a kid, I've imagined what it would be like to fly," Ogwyn said. "I can't think of a more spectacular backdrop than Everest. Everything that I've ever accomplished in my life has just been practice for what I'm about to do."
"Everest Jump Live" will air live on the Discovery Channel and in 224 countries and territories in May 2014.