Another Unusual First: He Climbed the Six Great North Faces in the Alps, Then BASE Jumped Off Them

Former Royal Marine Tim Howell reported on Sunday that he’d completed a singular challenge. After years of endeavoring to climb the Six Great North Faces of the Alps, he’d succeeded in BASE jumping off each one.

Howell hurled himself off the North Face of the Matterhorn (4,478m) in a wingsuit the previous Thursday, August 11. He launched from a secure stance 50m below the summit and put the final touch on his seven-year goal.

Along with the Matterhorn, the Alps’ six Great North Faces include the Cima Grande di Lavaredo (2,999m), Petit Dru (3,754m), Piz Badile (3,308m), Eiger (3,967m), and Grandes Jorasses (4,208m).

A 2015 interview with Limitless Pursuits indicated Howell’s preparation for the feat spanned years — and phases — of his life.

“Ever since I was a child, my dad was fully supportive in an active outdoor lifestyle but also in pushing myself,” he said.

From those promising beginnings, Howell has now secured numerous high-profile accomplishments in his career. But progress came gradually.

“Climbing the 1938 route on the North Face of the Eiger was something I never thought I would accomplish,” he said of the relatively moderate climb. “One of my biggest achievements was being the first British person to do a ski BASE jump. So many goals and ambitions…the list is never-ending!”

In the interview, Howell voiced his ambition to BASE jump all six Great North Faces. The rest is history.

Along the way, various detours have led to other objectives. He completed the first documented BASE jump from Mt. Kenya (5,199m) in 2019, from a height of 4,300m. And he once spent six months sailing around Antarctica.

Sam Anderson

Sam Anderson takes any writing assignments he can talk his way into while intermittently traveling the American West and Mexico in search of margaritas — er, adventure. He parlayed a decade of roving trade work into a life of fair-weather rock climbing and truck dwelling before (to his parents’ evident relief) finding a way to put his BA in English to use. Sam loves animals, sleeping outdoors, campfire refreshments and a good story.