MEET MILOS IVACKOVIC: WSC SKYDIVER AND MOUNTAINEER

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Miloš Ivackovic is a world class mountaineer and now skydiver! For the next two months Miloš will be joining the WSC family as he learns to improve his skydiving skills. Miloš’ pedigree as a mountaineer is well documented having summited Mt. Everest in 2007. He has been featured in major newspapers, magazines and television programs for his accomplishments and we’re proud to welcome Miloš to our skydiving family. Summiting Everest is considered to be one of the biggest feats man can accomplish, so of course we were fascinated to learn more of his story. We sat down with Miloš for an interview asking him about his adventures:

1. Where are you from and how old are you?

I’m from Serbia and I’m 36 years old.

2. What activities / hobbies do you do?

Climbing, skiing, scuba and free diving, mountain biking, basketball and of course, skydiving

3. What in your childhood gave you an interest in climbing and then mountaineering?

I think that cherries are the reason?. When I was young I spent a lot of time climbing trees and eating cherries, as you know the best ones are at the top!

4. What mountains did you climb to help you gain the experience needed to climb Everest?

Besides a lot of alpine climbs throughout Europe, Mt. Elbrus and Aconcagua was good preparation for Everest. Also the one unsuccessful expedition in the Himalayas on mount Kabru (7318m) helped me a lot. We didn’t manage to climb our route because my friend fell in an ice crevace and broke his shoulder. It was hard to retreat from the mountain, but I came through that bad experience much stronger and gained more awareness in the mountains after that incident.

5. What was the moment that made you decide you wanted to conquer Mt. Everest?

I never wanted to conquer Mt. Everest, I wanted to climb Mt Everest?. We don’t conquer mountains we climb them or even more, we make some connection with them. When you stand in front of a rock face 10,000ft high and 12,000ft wide and say that you conquered it , it sounds silly doesn’t it? Like in skydiving you can’t conquer gravity, you have to understand it and become one with it.

6. How many attempts at Everest had you made before you were able to reach the summit?

I needed only one attempt because we had luck with great weather. Climbing mountains doesn’t depend only on your will, it actually depends more on the will of the mountain. We’re guests out there and we have to act as guests and have big respect and hope that the mountain will welcome us with a smile (weather).

7. In 2013, many Sherpas lost their lives on Everest. How did this affect you and what are your thoughts about the Sherpa people?

Every time I hear that some Sherpa has lost his life it hits me hard because I have such respect for these people. Without their help lots of climbers couldn’t reach the summit and that’s something that a lot of us have to admit. It’s sad that another disaster has struck Nepal and the Sherpa people. Whoever reads this, I appeal to you that if you can support and donate at least something to these people… even a little help will go a long way and mean a lot to them.

8. Many people look at summiting K2 and Everest as the penultimate challenge in mountaineering. What is in your makeup that gave you the belief that you could do it?

You never know whether you can do something or not unless you try it. A positive attitude is more than important. I’m generally a very optimistic person and I think it helped me a lot before and during the expedition. Of course it’s easy to doubt our abilities, but it’s all part of the process and from every expedition I gained more confidence and the belief that I’m ready for a bigger challenge.Like in every sport there are some levels we have to pass before we can advance further. After years of training and climbing I felt that I was ready for Everest.

9. There must be many emotional highs and lows that one endures to summit Everest. What was the high point and what was the lowest point on that journey?

The high point was the summit of course, but aside from that just the opportunity to be out there in the Himalayas, it is hard to describe. All the energy we need to climb is there surrounding us. We just have to keep our chins up, look around us and the amazing mountain view will give more than enough energy.

The low point was when we came to camp 1 at (7100m) and realized that our tents had been buried by snow. With a day of hard climbing behind us, we wanted to sneak in our sleeping bags, but instead of that we had to grab shovels and dig for our food and stuff. Also climbing during the night on the final push was very hard. At some points I was feeling so sleepy I thought I was going to fall asleep on my feet.

10. Many people have an ‘Everest’ to climb in their own lives based on their personal challenges. What insight can you offer that helps other reach their goals.

Be passionate! When you’re driven by passion then nothing is a problem. Get rid of fears! Fear is something that can occupy our mind and even our life. Learning to deal with fear is important. Be patient, persistent, a hardworker, and spice it up with true love and you’ll see everything will become easy and fun. Inspiration from other people is also helpful. I was alwaysinspired by great mountaineers and explorers. I’ll quote one: “Borders, I have never seen one, but I have heard they exist in minds of some people” — Thor Heyerdahl . That’s my mantra!

11. Looking back on the experience, what is the most important lesson you learned from the Everest experience?

To be more respectful. Respectful towards nature, but also towards people. It was a great experience for me, but with a lot of help and support from others. Without my sensei and big friend Dragan Jacimovic (first person from Serbia to climb Mt. Everest) reaching the summit probably wouldn’t have happened. His experience and support for me was priceless. So, learn from other’s and pass on your own personal experience to other generations.

12. Is it safe to say that once you’ve summited the highest mountain in the world that you feel you can achieve anything once you set your mind to it?

We’ll see how it will go with skydiving. I set my mind to it and I have great sensei once again! Thanks Bo and Alex?. My next summit is skydiving!

13. You now have appx. 40 jumps and will be with us here at WSC for the next two months… what about skydiving are you interested in?

I simply like the feeling of free fall but also I like the process. Learning, gaining experience and being surrounded by people that I don’t have to explain why I’m doing this? – they all get it! That one minute of freefall for me is the ultimate freedom, the moment when there are no borders.

14. Who are your heroes? Who inspires you?

I have always been inspired by big explorers. Ruald Amundsen, Shackleton, Thor Heyerdahl are my heroes. These guys were pioneers and their willpower and adventurous minds have always inspired me.

15. What are your future goals?

There are many of them, I’ll have a problem filtering my wish list. One of my unfinished projects stands out more than others. It is a climb in Serbia that I’ve been attmpting for many years. I’ve been close so many times but never succeeded. And of course, I want to become a better skydiver and maybe I will learn something new from the world of skydiving that will help me succeed in my climbing endeavors.

16. What is it that drives you to create such large goals and accomplish them?

I have asked myself that same question many times, and I’m not clear about the answer. I simply like to push myself and see how far I can go. I think its curiosity, some crazy idea runs through my head, and the process begins.

17. You’ve been featured in the media and you have a large platform for your accomplishments. With this platform, is there a message you wish people to know?

Do I have to answer like a candidate for Miss World? Something like:” I want peace in the world……”?

18. What is something that few people know about you and would be surprised to learn?

I like surprises and if I tell you it won’t be a surprise anymore so….

19. Of all your accomplishments, what are you most proud of?

It’s hard to tell. Many people would think that it’s Everest, but I don’t think so. Some climbs that I’ve done that are unknown to a lot of people even in the climbing community are really important to me. We don’t have to climb to the top of the world to have an ultimate experience.

A lady smiles while in free fall during a tandem skydive.

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