Military

DISPATCH: Triple 7 Skydiving Team Faces Weather, Crevasses in Antarctica

January 4, 2023Jenna Biter
The Triple 7 Expedition team in southern Chile on New Year's Day, 2023. Legacy Expeditions photo.

The Triple 7 Expedition team in southern Chile on New Year's Day, 2023. Legacy Expeditions photo.

After months of preparation, Logan Stark finally arrived in Antarctica on Tuesday.

“We have arrived in Antarctica and are all settled,” Stark said in a text message to Coffee or Die Magazine. “Currently negative 12 Celsius [10 Fahrenheit], tomorrow we are anticipating some fog. Day after tomorrow looks like it will be clear.”

Stark, the vice president of branding at Black Rifle Coffee Company, had just arrived in Union Glacier Camp, Antarctica, the first stop on what he hopes will be a record-setting skydiving expedition.

But it was already clear that jumps in Antarctica will be different from almost anywhere else.

“We have a 150m radius landing area right next to the tents,” Stark said. “Critical to land in the landing area as the threat of crevasses are prominent everywhere down here.”

Triple 7 Expedition: Union Glacier Camp, Antarctica

An aerial view of Union Glacier Camp's layout, showing Mount Rossman in the background. Photo by Christopher Michel/ALE (Antarctica Logistics & Expeditions).

Stark is one of nine veterans on the Triple 7 Expedition team, which is attempting to skydive on all seven continents in seven days. As the team jumps, the members hope to raise $7 million for Folds of Honor. The nonprofit organization provides scholarships to the families of fallen and wounded veterans and first responders.

Black Rifle Coffee, which is a sponsor of the trip, is the parent company of Coffee or Die Magazine.

If the group succeeds, the vets will create a world record for the fastest time for a jump team to complete a skydive on each continent.

‘This Is Going To Be a Motherfucker’

Jariko Denman, one of the Triple 7 jumpers and a producer at Black Rifle Coffee, spoke with Coffee or Die Magazine before heading south to Antarctica from Punta Arenas, Chile, where the team had been staying since New Year’s Eve.

“Getting down here showed me this is going to be a motherfucker,” Denman said. “Just flying down here, it took a long fucking time.”

Antarctica bound, Triple 7 Expedition: Logan Stark and Jariko Denman

Triple 7 jumpers Logan Stark and Jariko Denman in Chile on New Year's Day, 2023, before heading south to Antarctica a couple of days later. Photo by Jariko Denman/Coffee or Die Magazine.

The Triple 7 team has booked 65 hours’ worth of flights for each member over the trips between continents. To make that schedule, they’ll have to hit a demanding timeline at each stop, sometimes flying into a country, clearing customs, jumping, and making a flight out within a few hours.

Besides the first jump into Antarctica, slated for Jan. 9, the expedition’s skydives are planned for Santiago, Chile; Miami, Florida; Barcelona, Spain; Cairo, Egypt; Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates; and Perth, Australia. Once off the clock, the group will make a final celebratory jump in Tampa, Florida, the home of US Special Operations Command.

“From here on out, every leg is going to be, you know, kind of a crapshoot,” Denman said. “We have a little bit of buffer built into every stop but not a ton.”

‘I Was Smoked’

A couple of days before the end of 2022, Denman headed south to link up with the rest of the Triple 7 jump team before heading to Antarctica on Jan. 3.

Denman’s nonstop flight from Dallas, Texas, to Santiago, Chile, on Dec. 30, was more than nine hours.

Triple 7 Expedition: Punta Arenas, Chile, last stop before Antarctica

Looking out over Punta Arenas, Chile. Legacy Expeditions photo.

From Santiago, the team members had to fly to Punta Arenas, Chile, the jumping-off point for travel to Antarctica.

“So you land in Santiago, and you’re like, ‘Okay, I’m in this small country — I’m in Chile. We’re just doing a little puddle jumper flight to the next place,’” Denman said. “Then you actually look at the map."

Chile is a long country, roughly 2,600 miles from north to south, spanning nearly 40 degrees of latitude.

"I was like, ‘Oh, I’m basically flying from Buffalo to Miami right now,’” he said. By the time Denman arrived in Punta Arenas, it was the afternoon of New Year’s Eve.

“I had ‘a’ drink,” Denman said. “I was just trying to stay up until midnight because I was smoked. We basically just got here, got a room, went to dinner, went to that.”

‘Where the Road Ends’

The jumpers had to arrive in Punta Arenas at least three days before their Jan. 3 flight to Antarctica so they could log three days of negative COVID-19 tests, a requirement for flying to the world’s harshest continent.

“This is the exact reason we did Antarctica first because it’s just such a pain in the ass to get down there,” Denman said. “It would have sucked if we got six jumps done and got here three days ago.”

In Punta Arenas, the Triple 7 team linked up with Antarctica Logistics & Expeditions, or ALE, the adventure firm facilitating the team’s trip to the snow-covered continent. Besides the COVID-19 tests, the jumpers had to run through a gear check, purchase missing items like extra socks from a local outdoor store, and stow warm-weather clothes they won’t need until later in the trip.

“The first day we got here, one of the dudes from ALE came here and inspected everybody’s kit,” Denman said. “Just made sure that you weren’t a moron and didn’t [forget] boots and shit.”

Between tasks, Denman said the team filmed interviews with the documentary crew following the expedition and recorded an episode of Cleared Hot, a podcast hosted by Triple 7 jumper Andy Stumpf.

Triple 7 Expedition: Antarctica packout

Triple 7 jumper Jariko Denman's Antarctica loadout ready for inspection by an Antarctica Logistics & Expeditions liaison in Punta Arenas, Chile, January 2023. Photo by Jariko Denman/Coffee or Die Magazine.

Denman said the episode would be online later in the week while the team waits for its first jump.

The team also explored local food, which, as a coastal city, centers on seafood.

“I had at one place — they were like an empanada place — and they had king crab empanadas and scallop empanadas that were fucking amazing,” Denman said. “I ordered them kind of like, hmm, this is suspect, but they were fucking awesome.”

On New Year’s Day, the team drove the region's famous “End of the World Route,” which leads to the southern tip of South America, where the land ends, and the water is cold.

“It’s where the road ends,” Denman said. “A bunch of us were like, ‘Oh, fuck it, it’s New Year’s Day, let’s do a polar plunge.' We took all our clothes off and went swimming in the 39-degree water. It was pretty rad.”

Triple 7 Expedition: Logan Stark and Jim Wigginton

Triple 7 jumpers Logan Stark and Jim Wigginton at the ocean in Chile on New Year's Day, 2023. Photo by Jariko Denman/Coffee or Die Magazine.

‘The Longest Six Days of My Life’

On Monday, Jan. 2, the Triple 7 team made final preparations for the move to Antarctica. The jumpers took their final COVID-19 tests, signed waivers, and got boarding passes for their 7 a.m. charter flight.

“We have to leave in the morning because the wind picks up later,” he said.

Just after 7 a.m. on Tuesday, the Triple 7 team took off for Antarctica on a four-and-a-half-hour charter flight. Now at Union Glacier Camp, the jumpers will wait for the first official skydive slated for Jan. 9.

Antarctica, Triple 7 Expedition: Union Glacier Camp tents

Six guest clam tents lined up with Mount Rossman in the background at Union Glacier Camp, Antarctica. Photo by Leslie Wicks/ALE (Antarctica Logistics & Expeditions).

“We’ll be able to get a jump on the fifth or sixth if weather permits, so we’re going to do that,” Denman said. The jump will be a practice run for the official start of the expedition. “Our actual rotator back out is on the ninth. So we’re going to try and get a jump in that morning before that flight.”

And with that jump, the world record clock will start.

Until then, the team will have time to kill at the camp. “I realized the sun doesn’t go down there,” Denman said. “It’s going to be like the longest six days of my life.”

Black Rifle Coffee Company, which owns Coffee or Die Magazine, is a sponsor of the Triple 7 Expedition.

Read Next: Chasing Triple 7 With Retired Navy SEAL Mike Sarraille

Jenna Biter
Jenna Biter

Jenna Biter is a staff writer at Coffee or Die Magazine. She has a master’s degree in national security and is a Russian language student. When she’s not writing, Jenna can be found reading classics, running, or learning new things, like the constellations in the night sky. Her husband is on active duty in the US military. Know a good story about national security or the military? Email Jenna.

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