How To Become A BASE Jumper

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BASE jumping is an extreme sport that involves parachuting from fixed objects. BASE is an acronym for Building, Antenna, Span (Bridges), and Earth (Cliffs). These are the primary objects that BASE jumpers launch off of. BASE jumping originated in the mid 1960's when two men decided to parachute off El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. Due to the inherent dangers associated with this sport, you will require a high level of training and preparation if you wished to pursue it.

Things You'll Need

  • BASE Container
  • BASE Parachute
  • BASE Pilot Chute
  • Become a skydiver. Find a skydiving center in your area and become a licensed skydiver. Skydiving allows you to build up your canopy and free fall skills for BASE jumping. It is important to be able to track (put your body into a position that creates lift, giving you forward movement) so you can get far away from objects you jump from, and to be able to land your parachute in rough terrain. Most first jump courses (FJC) require students to have 100-200 skydives before agreeing to teach them how to BASE jump. This typically takes around 1 year.

  • Sign up for a first jump course. Since BASE jumping is a self-governing sport, a license is not required. However, a first jump course is highly recommended. This course will teach you the basics of BASE jumping, how to pack and assemble your BASE rig, and will allow you to jump under the supervision of a professional. You will learn all about the necessary precautions in BASE jumping: how to assess wind speed, wind direction, landing areas and if an object can safely be jumped from. You will also learn how to deal with off-heading openings (if your parachute opens 90 to 180 degrees to the right or left of the way you are facing).

  • Get a BASE rig. In order to BASE jump on your own, you will need your own gear. Once you purchase a BASE rig, you can use the same setup for any jump; all you have to do is repack it! There are a lot of manufacturers out there, and the instructor in your FJC can recommend one to you. You can purchase a new or used parachute.

  • Contact the locals in your area. Most likely, there will be other BASE jumpers in your area. The best way to do this is to ask your instructor, and to talk to people at your skydiving center. In the BASE community, it is disrespectful to start BASE jumping in an area without contacting the local crew.

  • Get your BASE number. A BASE number is a unique number that has been issued since the early 1980's to people who have jumped from all four objects (Building, Antenna, Span and Earth). BASE numbers started at zero and have moved up numerically ever since. Obtaining or applying for this number is not mandatory; however, jumpers feel that it links them to the founding of BASE jumping. Approximately 1,400 BASE numbers have been issued to date.

Tips & Warnings

  • BASE jumping inside of a National Park is illegal.
  • BASE jumping is a dangerous sport, and should be taken very seriously. It is important to be properly trained and to have a sufficient amount of experience before attempting it. Do not attempt to BASE jump without the assistance of a professional.

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