Blackline exit @ Lauterbrunnen Swiss
Always wanted to be a B.A.S.E jumper? It’s possible and this will explain to you how to get there…
Everybody will experience B.A.S.E. differently but when falling starts to feel like flying it makes you feel free.
Making progress in this activity (which at first seemed impossible), transforms into something highly addictive.
Feeling freed from all your day to day tasks, living life at its fullest. It got me hooked, hooked to living my life following this path what that makes me feel, feel alive when flying.
This is what happens when extreme action pauses all other feelings, it gets pure…
Your first step into B.A.S.E jumping: Skydiving
Yes, it isn’t cheap and it will absorb a lot of your time but it’s essential in your path of becoming a B.A.S.E jumper.
You will need Skydiving lessons, skydiving gear and a minimum of 200 jumps that will easily set you back around 5000,00 euro.
Depending on the drop zone activity and local weather issues this will take a minimum of 6 months or up to a year.
Most people will require 2 years before hitting the 200 jumps mark due to having other obligations in life.
Why you’ll need a minimum of 200 jumps
Well, since falling in a stable position from the sky isn’t something you learn in one day and you’ll need to be prepared for the unforeseen (plan b) that could occur while base jumping, the number becomes a minutia in your path to B.A.S.E.
Without this knowledge it would be stupid to attempt the B.A.S.E jump or let alone flying your canopy safely into narrow landing areas.
Most drop zones only allow Wing Suit-flying when having a minimum of 200 skydives, so this means if your plan is to Wing Suit-B.A.S.E you’ll probably need many more than 200 jumps.
Most people I know waited for much higher amount of jumps before even thinking about B.A.S.E. Skydiving is fun. Something you can do on a weekly basis with a bunch of friends, without taking unnecessary risk when performed correctly.
Let’s say you have the necessary skills. Now, we can get into B.A.S.E.
Billy Dannaut’s first balloon exit
Exit training: Look around if you have the possibility to do some “hot air balloon jumps”. This is probably the safest way to learn how to exit to “dead air”.
Jumping out an airplane will get you directly on stable wind blowing at 150km/h but when exiting from a hot air balloon the “stable wind” will only occur after 6 to 7 sec of free fall.
The first 6 seconds are crucial. You don’t want to have an exit that’s to head high or to head low.
Locals: Get in touch with the local B.A.S.E jumpers. If there were local B.A.S.E jumpers hanging around at the drop zone it would be a wise thing to get informed/mentored by them. B.A.S.E jumpers can always use a good, trustful ground crew.
This way you’ll get to know the basics about B.A.S.E-jumping as well as some local spots and how to treat them with respect.
First jump course: Can’t find a mentor willing to guide you through your first B.A.S.E jumps? No problem, nowadays there are multiple options on first jump course’s (Dougs base course, Pressurised FJC, etc…).
They will safely guide you into your first base adventure -all at a price starting around 1500 euro. All these courses start with bridge jumps. When performed correctly you’ll move on to mountain B.A.S.E.
In southern Europe, Monte Brento in Italy is the safest spot to start mountain B.A.S.E-jumping. This cliff has a nice overhang exit point with a huge vertical drop.
Experienced jumpers still return to this spot to train exits with new Wing Suits.
Staying in B.A.S.E.
Never stop learning! Flying better than certain person or having the feeling you’re good enough doesn’t mean B.A.S.E can’t get you killed.
Each year we see fatalities in all facets of this sport and at all skill levels. Be aware that any small decrease in skill will (likely) get you killed when you keep on pushing the limits.
Keep on skydiving, it will help you stay at your best. It won’t do any harm to follow extra coaching; it can only fine-tune your abilities to the max.
if you want to get more beta on this topic, check the page of my friend Tim Howll. He has some serious insight on the whole world of BASE.
A great B.A.S.E jumper once said, “A good base jumper is an old base jumper”. Try to become a good B.A.S.E jumper.
Disclaimer: B.A.S.E-jumping is a high-danger sport. This sport comes with an increasing number of fatalities each year. You should be aware of these risks before attempting it.
If you want to know more on this subject, leave a comment and tell us what you think!
Gregory Louwet is a collaborator with Adventure Gentleman and has been passionate skydiver and B.A.S.E jumper for the past 5 years. With an amount over 750 skydives, 450 B.A.S.E jumps and 40+ hours of wind tunnel he keeps on pushing his limits to the extreme. He tries to explore new terrain every year.