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?
BASE jumping is one of the most obvious extreme sports. Adrenaline comes from standing on the edge and is only 10 feet when your first step begins to descend when you look at the cliff through you at 190 km / h (120 mph). Then you get another buzz when you open the parachute and you land safely. Adrenaline last doze you because your primitive thinking is ok so far, it is going to die, now that you are feeling on the ground, some kind of miracle (parachute) saved it, giving you the last and generous dose Epinephrine.
Of course, just like in any other extreme sport it will only happen on your first jump. As you jump more and more of your thoughts will get used to the idea of more and more, and ultimately it will stop motivating you. Then you will begin to explore your borders and jump in exotic places, dancing others, doing some flipping and ext … There are a lot of dilutions you can do before you really have enough of this extreme sport.
How dangerous is it?
As we all know, Base jumping is one of the most dangerous extreme sports. But this staement is based only on statistical data and not in the view of an adrenergic seeker. If you are willing to only evaluate based on statistics you will find that one of the most dangerous “extreme sports” on earth is driving your car to work …
Base jumping is still a dangerous extreme sport, because you pay a huge price, when you make a mistake, the price may die. But the good thing is that it’s almost always a human error. Today’s gears are very high class and cause few accidents. It makes the risk factor almost entirely dependent on you, your skills and how much you are willing to give away the bigger margin of safety. And no competitive factors are 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.