In celebration of her impending milestone birthday, Dorothy Custer wanted to do something a little different this year. So, on the day she turned 102 she decided to make a tandem BASE jump off the Perrine Bridge in Twin Falls, Idaho. That’s a leap of 486 feet and as you can tell from the video below, Dorothy enjoyed ever second of the experience, which also gave her the record as the oldest person to ever make such a jump.
This is a far-cry of last year, when she marked her 101st birthday by ziplining over the Snake River Canyon. We should all be so adventurous and outgoing when we reach 100. Oh, who am I kidding! Most of us will just be happy to reach 100, let alone still enjoying experiences like these.
In April, Russian mountaineer and base jumper Valery Rozov traveled to a remote region of the Himalaya Mountains in India to climb a peak known as Mt. Shivling. After spending a month acclimatizing to the altitude and preparing for the climb, he and two companions started off for the summit located at 6543 meters (21,466 feet).
The technically difficult climb took six days to complete but Rozov found a much easier and quicker way to get back down. Clad in a wing suit, the Russian jumped from a ledge and safely glided and parachuted to the valley below. That descent took just 90 seconds with Valery reaching speeds of approximately 125 mph along the way.
The video of this base jump, which you’ll find below, was released earlier this week. At the time it was widely reported that this was a new world record for altitude, but that distinction actually belongs to a couple named Glenn Singleman and Heather Swan. That husband and wife team jumped from the 6604-meter (21,666-feet) Mt. Meru back in 2006.
Over the past few years, BASE jumping has seen quite a rise in popularity amongst adrenaline junkies and extreme athletes. The “sport” consists of climbing up any tall, fixed object, such as a building, bridge, or cliff, throwing yourself off, and using a parachute to safely float back to the ground.
More recently the activity has evolved to a degree by incorporating wingsuits into the equation. A wingsuit is a specially designed jumpsuit that incorporates fabric between the arms and body, as well as between the legs, in order to facilitate more lift. This allows the BASE jumper to glide through the air for longer distances while controlling direction as well. Eventually they still end up pulling their ripcords, but often not until after they’ve coverd sometimes significant distances at significant speeds.
The video below, which was shot in Norway, shows what happens when a couple of people in wingsuits get a bit too close for comfort with observers on the ground. The video also gives you a good sense of the speed a which they are traveling.
Last week a Russian climber and BASE jumper by the name of Valery Rozov climbed to the summit of Mount Ulvetanna, a 9616-foot tall mountain located in a very remote region of Antarctica. After spending a couple of weeks preparing for the climb, Rozov wasn’t content to just stand on top of the peak however. Once on the summit, he proceeded to don a specially designed wingsuit, leap from the summit, and glide through the cold air, which registered a chilly -22 degrees Fahrenheit on the thermometer.
BASE jumping continues to grow in popularity with adventurers and daredevils around the globe. Participants put on a pre-packed parachute and then proceed to climb up, and leap off, some fixed object such as buildings, antennas, spans, and the Earth itself, hence the “BASE” that give the sport its name. Wingsuits have been added in recent years to allow the jumper to glide through the air for a period before they open their chute and end their flight.
This particular flight lasted all of 45 seconds before the Russian pulled his parachute and gently glided back Earth, but as you can tell from the video below, it was one heck of a ride while it lasted. Watching this video, it seems clear that all climbers should use this method for returning to base camp, as it sure is a lot faster than descending the old fashion way.