Monday, June 25, 2007

BASE Jumping in Idaho

Last weekend I taught a BASE First Jump Course at the Perrine Bridge in Twin Falls, Idaho for Morpheus Technologies, one of the few BASE equipment manufactures in the world. ‘BASE’ is an acronym for Building, Antenna, Span and Earth (cliffs) which are the four primary objects that BASE jumpers jump from. The sport of BASE jumping basically involves jumping off fixed objects (not from an aircraft) with a single parachute system (no reserve). Perrine Bridge BASE Jump

I’ve been BASE jumping since 2000 and have jumped from cool places like the Eiger in Switzerland, the Petronas Building in Malaysia, caves in Mexico and off cliffs in Norway and Italy. BASE has been one of my primary interest as it can combine hiking, climbing and jumping all in one activity.

The Perrine Bridge is one of the few legal objects in the U.S. that is open year round to BASE jumpers and it is also a great place to train first time jumpers who might need a little room for "newbie" error. The bridge sits 486’ above the Snake River and is the longest span bridge in North America at 1,500’ long. We were lucky enough to have sunny, warm weather throughout the weekend, which allows the students more time to pack and study the practical skills without having to hurry and jump before the weather turns ugly.

Obviously, for this type of activity you need premium canopy skills and usually at least 200 skydives, as well as protective gear, such as a good pair of hiking boots, preferably without quick lacing hooks, a good helmet that allows you peripheral vision and a good set of elbow and knee pads. These things are generally considered essentials in the sport of BASE.Getting Ready to Jump!

The students, a skydiver from Russia and stuntman from the UK, were provided with a great introduction to the sport of BASE jumping including: how to choose the right equipment; how to "exit" (body position), BASE safety; protective gear; packing techniques; and, canopy control techniques. These basic skills are essential to preparing a person for the world of BASE. By the end of the course, they were instilled with enough knowledge to go back home and research everything about BASE, meet other BASE jumpers, become familiar with other BASE objects and stay safe while having fun!

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