In the 1980s, I passed close by this tower which stands on the west ridge of the Eiger in the Bernese Oberland of Switzerland. I was in a helicopter and saw the Pilz (“mushroom”) tower from the heli window. With me was a friend of mine, Xavier Bongard, a climber and BASE jumper. We discussed what we saw and decided to go take a closer look at this tower; Xavier wanted to know whether it was possible to jump down from it. A few years later, I was on the Pilz to take this shot of Ueli Gegenschatz and Hannes Arch BASE jumping from the strange tower. The pictures I took were seen around the world, and in a very short time, the Pilz became famous within the small but well-informed global BASE jump community as one of the most attractive BASE jump locations.
About the shot
I was born on November 16,1967 in Interlaken, Bernese Oberland, Switzerland, where I still live with my Norwegian wife, Åsta, and our three girls. Besides my professional training to become a carpenter and a mountain guide, I started early with extreme climbing. In 1988, I traveled for the first time to Patagonia; subsequently, I added six more expeditions to this place, doing important climbs but also completing the first successful traverse of the Southern Patagonian inland ice (together with Norwegian explorer Børge Ousland) in 2003.
I have published three stories in National Geographic magazine, beginning with an article about the first winter ascent of the “Ferrari” route on Cerro Torre that I did with friends in 1999. I started my career path toward becoming a world-famous adventure photographer as an autodidact – I was self-taught. Today my pictures are published in magazines such as Animan, LIFE, and Sports Illustrated, and I work for several commercial clients in the outdoor market. In addition, I work as a cameraman and filmmaker and have won several prizes for my movies. In 2006, my attempt to cross the Arctic solo and unsupported failed; nevertheless, I go on planning the next expeditions, bound to my credo: “Follow your heart!”