About Base Jumping

Base Jumping

About BASE Jumping

  • Invented: 1978
  • Founded By: Carl Boenish
  • Highest Governing Body: United States Parachute Association (USPA)

BASE jumping is an extreme sport meant for the most skilled and daring of jumpers. Instead of a plane thousands of feet in the sky, participants jump with a parachute from a fixed platform just a few hundred feet from the ground. BASE is an acronym for the types of platforms BASE jumpers can jump from: buildings, antennae, spans (bridges), and earth (formations like cliffs). It requires an exceptionally trained knowledge of altitudes, weather conditions, and parachuting mechanics.

BASE jumping may seem less threatening than diving from planes due to the lower altitudes, but it is actually more dangerous, not less. The closer distance from the ground means BASE jumpers have less time to safely deploy the parachute, so it is of utmost importance that participants are experienced with piloting and parachute skills. Most instructors require pilots to have gone through a minimum of 200 skydives before they can BASE jump.


What is BASE jumping?

BASE jumping is a skydiving sport where participants dive from a fixed platform with parachutes and/or wingsuits that allow them to safely reach the ground. BASE is an acronym for the fixtures participants can jump from: buildings, antennas, spans (bridges), and earth (natural formations like cliffs and canyons). Participants typically jump from fixtures that are a few hundred feet high, as opposed to skydivers who jump from planes thousands of feet in the air. Due to the greater risk involved, it is for experienced skydivers only.

Many BASE jumpers like to dive from historic landmarks like the Empire State Building or the Eiffel Tower. Others prefer to immerse themselves in nature, choosing mountains or cliffs such as the Dolomites of Italy or the Angel Falls of Venezuela with vast, clear expanses of sky to dive into. Participants should always check the legality of BASE jumping in their desired location. Due to the risky nature of the sport, BASE jumping has been banned from many public spaces, including many US national parks.

What equipment do I need to safely go BASE jumping?

A pristinely packed parachute and the proper protective gear are a matter of life and death when BASE jumping. The canopy should be properly stored and tested beforehand, and the body armor and helmet must be tightly and securely fastened. It is important to buy body armor and helmets specifically designed for skydiving sports, as they grant added protection for high-impact falls. In some cases, BASE jumpers will wear wingsuits as opposed to parachutes. Many BASE jumpers also like to attach cameras to their helmet or suit to record their experience.