Base jumping

    What is Base jumping?

    In base jumping B.A.S.E stands for- buildings, antennas, spans (bridges), and earth (cliffs). It’s a very simple extreme sport. Climb to the top of one of the above and jump. Don’t forget to open your chute before hitting the ground. Enjoy yourself on the way down…that’s about it…

    Base jumping was born in 1978 even though it wasn’t the first time people did Base jumping, it was the first time it was officially called BASE.

    In base jumping you get a number after you jumped once from each of the four categories. On 18 January 1981 Phil Smith and Phil Mayfield jumped together from a Houston skyscraper and got the first BASE numbers #1 and #2 (they already performed jumps from- antennas, spans and earth). Today there are over 1400 numbers issued over the world.

    BASE jumpers originally used skydiving equipment. But the jumps are usually performed from about 1600ft (500m) and less. And because of that, as the sport developed so did the equipment did. Most of the jumpers today jump with only one parachute (no reserve), the pilot chute is bigger and the whole canopy is designed to deploy faster and at lower speed because you want the chute to open over less distance of freefall.

    What’s extreme about it?

    Jumping to the ground when you have only about 15 seconds to open your parachute…

    BASE jumping is one of the most obvious extreme sports out there. The adrenaline rush comes from standing on the edge, it comes when you do the first step and begin falling, when you look at the wall of the cliff passing you in 190 km/h (120 mph) only 10ft from you. Then you get another buzz to your head when the chute actually does open and you land safely. The last doze of adrenaline you get because your primitive mind was sure up until now that it is going to die and now that you are on the ground it’s feeling that some kind of miracle (the parachute) saved it and giving you the last and generous dose of adrenaline.

    Of course, like in any other extreme sport the above will only happen at your first jumps. As you jump more and more your mind will get used to the idea more and more and eventually it will stop excite you all together. Then you will start to explore your boundaries and jump in exotic places, jump holding other people, doing some tricks like flips and ext… there are lots of thins you can do before you really fed up with this extreme sport.

    In BASE jumping there is no element of competition and so the amount of adrenaline you can squeeze out of it is limited. But the reserves are huge and it will take you years and maybe decades until you will deplete them.


    How dangerous is it?

    As  is commonly known, base jumping is one of the most dangerous extreme sport out there. But this staement is based on statistics only, not on an adrenaline seeker’s point of view. If you will base you assessment only on statistics you will find out that one of the most dangerous “extreme sport” on earth is driving your car to work…

    Still BASE jumping is a dangerous extreme sport because of the huge price you pay when you make a mistake, the price which would be probably death. But the good part  is that it is almost always the human error. Today’s gear is very high class and rarely the  cause for an accident. It makes the danger factor almost entirely depending on you, on your skills and on how much safety margins you are willing to give up for a little bigger rush. And with no competitive element it is really up to you


    How to start?

    The danger factor,  if you don’t really know what you are doing, is huge and means almost unavoidable death, once you take the leap there is no slowing down, no cancellation, you are in the same air as the pro’s are. So you have to act like a professional from the very beginning. The recommended background is 200 skydiving jumps. In any way you have to have at least 100 jumps before even thinking about BASE jumping. You have to learn from someone, it’s ok to have some kind of mentor to teach you but best of all to take one of the first jump courses (FJC) which are offered around the world.