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.