These BASE Jumpers are Badass
Is leaping out of an airplane not thrilling enough for you? Adrenalin-junkie BASE Jumpers up the risk factor by leaping off cliffs, buildings and other fixed objects using rapid-deploy parachutes and, sometimes, superhero-like wingsuits. Without a lot of time to deploy the chute or correct for errors, it’s a pretty dangerous recreational pursuit. Death and injury are common side-effects – but for these extreme daredevils it’s worth the thrill. Take a look at some of the most scenic and adventurous destinations that BASE Jumping enthusiasts have dived off around the world.
So What’s BASE Jumping All About?
BASE is an acronym that stands for Building, Antenna, Span, and Earth, the four kinds of fixed objects that these extreme adventurists use as starting platforms. The goal is to complete at least one jump from each type of natural or man-made structure. Jumpers are awarded numbers to indicate how many jumps have been achieved.
Due to its lower altitude, it’s considered more dangerous than skydiving. Depending on the height of the jump, there may be only 10 to 15 seconds to deploy a parachute and safely execute a landing.
The fringe sport began in 1978, when Carl Boenish filmed people free-falling off El Capitan in Yosemite National Park with ram-air parachutes. The sport took off in the ’80s and has been featured in several Hollywood films, especially using cool looking wingsuits (Lara Croft Tomb Raider, Transformers 3, Point Break Reborn).
One of the popular locations for BASE jumping is the New River Gorge Bridge in Fayetteville, West Virginia. They hold an annual “Bridge Day” where up to 400 BASE jumpers come to leap off the 876 feet/267 m deck. Other popular spots include Lysefjord and Trollveggen in Norway, the European Alps and the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur.
Many other places have made it illegal to BASE jump, due to the number of injuries and deaths, and the risks it puts rescue workers under. The US National Parks Service has cracked down on the practice, as has the Australian government.
Some BASE jumping estimates say there is about one fatality per sixty participants, and has a fatality/injury rate 43 times greater than skydiving from a plane.
It does look like a rush, though, doesn’t it? Would you try it?