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chimpanzeeteste

new idiot with lots of questions

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i've never been skydiving and am completely new to everything. i have gotten into climbing in the past few years and would like to get into base jumping as a quicker and more entertaining decent from long multipitch climbs. i've read discussions about weather it's better to start of skydiving, or to begin base jumping as to not learn skydiving habits that are bad for base jumping. i believe it would be best to start by skydiving simply for the extended time given to learn control of the canopy, although i do understand that the canopies will be different. i've heard that it can be difficult to keep oneself from spinning at first. is this true at all? or only at high enough speeds that you wouldn't attain and wouldn't have to worry about while base jumping?
can it be dangerous to base jump carrying much gear on oneself? i'd imagine not considering such things as tandem skydiving even though that would be entirely different gear from that of of a base jumper.
-i understand a guideline says not to give name or location of base sites, but i'm curious if it's alright to question about base in broad areas such as climbing regions that i've heard base is common and about the legality of it.
so i understand there are skydiving licenses, but i'm confused on the purposes... what does getting an A license allow one to do that you couldn't do before legally? and does this licensing affect base jumpers at all?
if i wanted to save money on rentals while taking skydiving lessons and bought the gear i'll eventually want anyway... skydiving with base jumping gear? how stupid of an idea is that?
i am currently in south eastern washington state and am planning to live at smith rock near terrebonne oregon for the summer. i'm curious to know that if i were to really get into this and spend a shit-ton of cash on this gear, if there would be others that i could find to teach me and to jump with. any of you climbers?
thanks for all your time and sorry for such a large bombardment of questions

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My thoughts on beginning BASE are linked at the top of this page (see "Getting into BASE").

If you are wondering, I began my BASE career exactly where you are now--as a climber who wanted to BASE jump. I then went out and pounded out around 300 skydives in a summer, and began BASE jumping shortly thereafter. I don't think this is the ideal path to take, but it is one way. Feel free to PM or email me if you have questions about my personal experiences doing this.

To address specific questions:

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i believe it would be best to start by skydiving simply for the extended time given to learn control of the canopy, although i do understand that the canopies will be different.



It's definitely to your advantage to get more time under canopies before BASE jumping. The more similar they are to BASE canopies, the more advantageous.

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i've heard that it can be difficult to keep oneself from spinning at first. is this true at all?



It totally depends on the student. For some people it's very true, for others, not at all.

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or only at high enough speeds that you wouldn't attain and wouldn't have to worry about while base jumping?



Many BASE jumps attain terminal airspeed.

Stability issues in dead air and at terminal are very different. In general, terminal air skills will only help your BASE jumping. For low stuff, they aren't terribly critical, for high stuff, they are absolutely essential. I wish I had spent more time on terminal skills before I started BASE.

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can it be dangerous to base jump carrying much gear on oneself?



Actually, it can be insanely dangerous. I've tried to arrange a BASE system to make a descent with a haul bag strapped to my person. Despite being a highly experienced BASE jumper and something of a gearhead, I abandoned the effort as virtually impossible to achieve without an incredible degree of added risk. If you want to toss your bags, bring a little round and pitch them before you exit. Be warned that lots of people have left bags hanging on the sides of walls attempting this, though. I think there's still a bag halfway down the Great and Secret Show, for example.

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i'd imagine not considering such things as tandem skydiving even though that would be entirely different gear from that of of a base jumper.



Nope. Not even close. There have been about four Tandem BASE jumps ever made. They are stupendously dangerous. Tandem gear basically sacrifices all ability to maneuver in the air, and maneuvering ability is critical to BASE.

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i understand a guideline says not to give name or location of base sites, but i'm curious if it's alright to question about base in broad areas such as climbing regions that i've heard base is common and about the legality of it.



Not in this forum. If you want to know about specific areas, feel free to email or PM me and I'll see if I can put you in touch with the appropriate folks.

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so i understand there are skydiving licenses, but i'm confused on the purposes... what does getting an A license allow one to do that you couldn't do before legally?



This is probably a question better asked in the General Skydiving forum. As a general rule, it allows you to jump at dropzones other than the one you trained at, and allows you to skydive with other jumpers who do not hold instructor or coach ratings.

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and does this licensing affect base jumpers at all?



Directly? No. But very few BASE jumpers are going to take you seriously if you can't demonstrate sufficient resolve to get a USPA 'A' license.

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if i wanted to save money on rentals while taking skydiving lessons and bought the gear i'll eventually want anyway... skydiving with base jumping gear? how stupid of an idea is that?



Skydiving with a BASE canopy would be a great idea.

Skydiving with a BASE container would be illegal pretty much everywhere on earth. Skydiving container, harness and reserve systems must pass FAA inspections, and BASE containers (most obviously by their lack of reserve canopy) do not pass these inspections.

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i am currently in south eastern washington state and am planning to live in oregon for the summer.



There are plenty of experienced jumpers in both Washington and Oregon. Very few of them will take you under their wing if you haven't put in the time out of airplanes.

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any of you climbers?



Many of us.

Feel free to email, PM or post here with more questions.
-- Tom Aiello

[email protected]
SnakeRiverBASE.com

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Hey fellow climber!

I'm probably a bit like you; started climbing first but then got into skydiving for a particular reason... ;)

What I would ask is whether you've been paragliding? It's a different canopy (high aspect ratio and soars, elliptical and "twitchy" by comparison to skydiving canopies) BUT you rack up tonnes of canopy experience very quickly, fly close(ish) to objects and develop the mind of a pilot. I'm sure all these things will help, even if it's just an environmental familiarity thing. Anyway, it's enjoyable in it's own right and you can combine it with climbing soon after you get qualified (depending on site and conditions). You'll also learn about valley winds, thermic activity etc, which will also be handy. It may also help in truly deciding whether you wanted to jump.

Most people on this forum (there are exceptions but...) seem to be in agreement that you will need to skydive first, even if it's just to get used to exits (balloon jumps are good I guess) and to learn stability in freefall (Tom's previous post).

Good luck!
--
BASE #1182
Muff #3573
PFI #52; UK WSI #13

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I agree with the idea of pendragon, become a para-glider (after you did an instructional course). paragliding can also be very breathtaking if you want it that way. doing it the other way (take a base-rig with you and jump from cliffs without the basic skills) means for me, that you will be killed and become another mark in the base-fatality list. do you have parents, children or are you married? think of them, too. even if you will not get killed, living the rest of your life in a wheelchair is not funny.
serious: if you see, that experienced jumper get injured or killed, this should be enough argument for learning as much as you can BEFORE you jump from a wall with only seconds to impact.
that is my point of view
--------------------------------------------------

With sufficient thrust,
pigs just fly well

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Hajo has a good point - I guess I was also trying to ask you (the original poster) whether you'd convinced yourself enough that this was what you really wanted. If it is, then good luck! Hajo has already emphasised the learning as much as possible argument.
--
BASE #1182
Muff #3573
PFI #52; UK WSI #13

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if i wanted to save money on rentals while taking skydiving lessons and bought the gear i'll eventually want anyway... skydiving with base jumping gear? how stupid of an idea is that?



Skydiving with a BASE canopy would be a great idea.

Skydiving with a BASE container would be illegal pretty much everywhere on earth. Skydiving container, harness and reserve systems must pass FAA inspections, and BASE containers (most obviously by their lack of reserve canopy) do not pass these inspections.



(Just wanna say that Tom is doing an awesome job of answering a lot of q's for a lot of people. I dont know where else you can find someone with this experience level that will just spend time answering a ton of q's for anyone. THANX A LOT, its much apreciated.)

I dont exactly understant what you mean with "skydiving with a BASE rig would be a great idea".
Do you think it would be advatageous to learn the canopy skills with the BASE canopy directly? Dont you think that taking away the reserve makes the skydive then potentially much more dangerous? I'm not completely clear on your statement.
Anyhow, there is no way that you can do that legally at all right?


---------------------------------------------
As jy dom is moet jy bloei!

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Skydiving with a BASE canopy would be a great idea.



I dont exactly understant what you mean with "skydiving with a BASE rig would be a great idea".



I meant skydiving with a BASE canopy (in a skydiving rig) would be a great idea to prepare for BASE.

Skydiving with a BASE rig is generally frowned upon.
-- Tom Aiello

[email protected]
SnakeRiverBASE.com

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thank you guys so much for so many great, immediate, and helpful responses, especially tom. and now i have more questions...
one of my problems currently is cash, so that was one of my reasons for maybe buying base gear before learning to skydive. and also that it would be good i suppose for me to learn on base gear since skydiving gear can teach bad habits.
so it's allright to skydive with a base canopy, as long as you use a skydiving rig? do you think it would be a problem at a dz for me to ask them to train me on such gear? if i bought my own base gear, would it be likely that i could attach it to a skydiving rig at a dz or would that be too much trouble, or not possible? and might that save me money, to put less wear and tear on their gear? (maybe this is a question better asked at the possible dz's i might go to?) is there certain base canopies that work better with certain skydiving rigs ?
cash is another important issue... i don't mean to be putting a price on my life and all, but after reading the arguments for learning base without skydiving, couldn't i find a safe legal place to learn base during the day such as a bridge in idaho, after doing like 10 skydives.
it was mentioned that i wouldn't be taken seriously without a skydiving A license, but even you tom seemed to argue strongly for teaching an aspiring base jumper by base jumping, not skydiving. from the thread "BASE without skydives". however you say to make at least 200 skydives in your "getting into base" article. your conflicting arguments confuse me, but do you think it would be safe if i found a good base mentor and a safe place after having done only about a dozen skydives?
well thanks again for all your time and great help everyone. i can't imagine a better resource than this site.

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Actually, it can be insanely dangerous. I've tried to arrange a BASE system to make a descent with a haul bag strapped to my person. Despite being a highly experienced BASE jumper and something of a gearhead, I abandoned the effort as virtually impossible to achieve without an incredible degree of added risk. If you want to toss your bags, bring a little round and pitch them before you exit. Be warned that lots of people have left bags hanging on the sides of walls attempting this, though. I think there's still a bag halfway down the Great and Secret Show, for example.



so i take a "little round" to be some little extra parachute for your gear alone?
what about something like a single day's climb, no hall bag, just maybe a rack and a rope. is there base gear designed with space to put such extra things? probably only like 20 or 30 pounds of stuff at most. (i really haven't a clue how much my climbing gear weighs. i suppose that might be an interesting thing to go find out). again thank you all.

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so i take a "little round" to be some little extra parachute for your gear alone?



Yes. Sorry. "Round" is a round parachute. Little means it's small. For an average pig, I'd use something like a 12' cargo round. If I had fragile stuff in the pig, I'd upsize to an old skydiving reserve, like a Phantom 22 or something similar.

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is there base gear designed with space to put such extra things?



Check out Basic Research's Para Pack. Note that you should be an experienced BASE jumper before you start adding extra weight or complexity to the system.
-- Tom Aiello

[email protected]
SnakeRiverBASE.com

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...so it's allright to skydive with a base canopy, as long as you use a skydiving rig?



Yes. In the US, that's true.

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do you think it would be a problem at a dz for me to ask them to train me on such gear?



That totally depends on the DZ. Some of them think BASE is evil, and would throw you out. Some of them would play along. Most would fall somewhere between.

Your best bet is to call Clint at Skydive Moab, as he has a training program intended for the non-skydiver looking to get into BASE. I think it's about 50 jumps, and it uses BASE canopies from the ground up. That's absolutely the minimum amount of skydiving preparation that would be reasonably safe.

As far as compatibility? Any BASE canopy should be a fine subsitute for the skydiving main in a big container.

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your conflicting arguments confuse me



Apologies. Let me be unequivocally equivocal. For the type of BASE you are contemplating, you want the full set of training. You could conceivably go out and hop off a nice span a few dozen times with no skydiving experience. But if you want to do things like jumping from the top of climbs (high or low) with gear, you're going to need more preparation than that. I just don't see a viable way to shortcut this process.

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but do you think it would be safe if i found a good base mentor and a safe place after having done only about a dozen skydives?



Not really. You could do some easy BASE jumps, but I'd be leery of the real stuff that you'd be putting yourself up for when you tried to jump off a climb.
-- Tom Aiello

[email protected]
SnakeRiverBASE.com

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