Record extreme altitude diving

On 21 February 2016, the Hungarian Dr. Ernő Tósoki dived at extreme high altitude at 6.380 meters above sea level. As we know, he is the first successful altitude diver who actually dived above 6000 meters, in human history.

After 5 years preparation and 2 attempts, the Hungarian diving instructor/mountaineer reached this achievement, with the support of Hungarian mountaineer and partner Patricia Nagy. Over the last quasi-35 years (!) no-one managed to over-top effectively Johan Reinhard’s dive in Licancabur Lake in 1982.

The dive took place in Chile, on Ojos del Salado (6893 m), which is the highest volcano on Earth. As NASA said, the highest regions of Atacama desert (in the Andes) are like Mars in its early period. Due to this, the circumstances of the acclimatisation and the dive were extremely hard. The humidity of the air in some cases is lower than 2 % (average humidity of deserts are 20-30 %), the measured UV radiation here is the highest on Earth, daily temperature fluctuations are 40-50°C and in this region, they measured the strongest wind with 443,2 km/h on Earth as well.

Teams with the same goal took 8 – 12 persons in most cases (guide/s, porters, etc.) but all of them gave up after their first attempt. The Hungarian couple fulfilled this mission themselves. Next to all mountaineering equipment, which they took up with them, they had to carry the scuba diving equipment, communication, and medical equipment as well, as we can’t know what happens to the human body during diving at that altitude. The total weight of the gear was around 100 kgs.

The attempt required hard daily training, very special diving equipment, diving technique, breathing gas, pre- and post breathing processes. The diving procedure was extremely dangerous despite 2 m maximum depth, because of the mixing/synergy of unknown effects of mountaineering and scuba diving. There was a very high risk of a damage of lung and hypothermia, especially as the body gets weaker and weaker due to carrying equipment up to over 6,000 m and the time spent on that high level.

Thought the weather forecast showed beautiful weather, the time of the diving had to be limited to maximum 10 minutes as they got caught in an unexpected ice and snow storm with a lot of wind and fog and had to leave with immediate effect. The next day, the couple had to climb up again to get the equipment they left there and took them all down.

The lake is very beautiful – and contains sweet water. It gets its water from mainly melted ice (penitentes) and flows out of this little lake, off the mountain downwards. The visibility was almost zero under water, because of the flowing and frequent stormy weather.

This achievement can be hardly over-topped, since we have no knowledge of a higher diveable lake momentarily, furthermore, the Guinnes World Records requirements don’t match entirely with nature and extreme altitude diving circumstances at that altitude.