Lessons Learnt form an unconventional introduction to BASE

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Currently on the UK board

I hope every one will find something they can learn from it.

I fell in Love with BASE after watching a video when I was 16
My whole reason for learning to skydive was to learn to BASE jump
It took me 12 years to get the money for my first BASE rig
I had 98 skydives when I ordered it
I had never seen a BASE rig
I ordered a MOJO for one reason
The only BASE jumper I had ever met said he jumped one
I lied about my experience and having a mentor to get it
My girlfriend gave me grief about my lack of experience
I went and did another 50 skydives while waiting for delivery
I watched a few videos
I asked a few questions on the internet

No one would take me on and I had the money for ether a rig or a FJC not both
Rightly or wrongly I chose my rig
I spent a little extra money on a packing video
I did 5 practice pack jobs

Jump 1)
The friend who held my direct bag was more scared than I was
She had never even seen a skydive
That object has only ever seen 2 jumps and I PCA’ed the second on for his first BASE

Jump 2)
Solo - go and through off a well known UK S
I thought it was bigger; it looked more like 400ft then its 240ft
Sitting on the exit point I did a kit check I was scared I was stalling for time
I found my bridle routed through my leg strap
I missed the landing area and spent a while dragging myself out of the mud

Jump 3)
Solo – 800ft A my first delay
My knowledge now tell me I took a solid 4 ½ - 5 secs slider down.
It opened, It flew, I limped for a few days due to the bruising from my harness

Jump 4)
South coast E (and not one of the popular ones)
Some friend said a guy had jumped there where exactly they weren’t quite sure
I still believe I opened a new exit point
I went back there with 120 jumps and found it to be 250ft under hung with no outs
Naivety is awesome; I thought it was a safe 4th jump
After a perfect opening flight and landing I started to take my rig off
My chest strap was not done up

Jumps 5 – 13)
I went to Norway; JJ was running the first jump course
I hit rocks, I landed in the water
I took a 4 sec canopy ride onto trees on the tallis
It wasn’t a well judged low pull I miss judged my altitude
I was looking at the landing area for reference
The ground directly under me was 600ft higher

The other jumpers I met and the time they gave me opened my eyes a lot

Jump 14)
Solo – 280ft SW E
A different world from the Norway jumps

By 100 jumps I had 30 UK objects and over 50 solo’s
I found reccie’d and jumped objects not knowing if I was opening them or not
I was pushing hard and had a sense of invincibility
I climbed back up and solo’ed objects after every one else had climbed down and gone home due to wind

Jump 121)
I woke up in a valley I had no recollection of driving into
Under an exit point I didn’t remember leaving
I still don’t remember my opening or flight
I was cold, I was alone, my full face was full of blood

Jump 121 is probably why I am still alive today
I had no right to live through it, but I did
It gave me the kicking I needed to change the way I jumped

It was the same SW E as jump 14; it had become my local, my recurrency jump
I had jumped into gusting cross winds twice the night before
Twice I was backed up and risered all the way to the floor just to stay off the wall
On both occasions my PC was against the wall, I thought I must be good if I could do that

I exited completely calm into 12 – 14 mph cross winds
I jumped between gusts
I took it low to get below the wind
I knew exactly what I was exiting into
I had spent two hours going top to bottom checking the wind
I knew if I opened below 100ft I would be in a wind shadow
The last thing I remember is starting to sit up in the harness

Maybe I pulled too high
More likely the whole plan was fundamentally floored

I think I opened on heading
I think I hit my head of a ledge on opening
I think I was lowered gently to the floor under a full inflated canopy
I later worked out I woke up after 55min unconscious
I was in the ditch between the road and the wall, my clothing dusted in frost
My car was 10m away, my phone was on the dash, I was very very cold
It took me 30 mins to make it that far, it had no reception any way
After passing out again in the car I eventually drove out of there.

Why some of us live; when other die for lesser mistakes will never be known
I had no right to walk away from that one
Luckily it was the wake up call I needed

Lessons learnt

How long do you want this list??

Check all equipment before packing
Every few jumps hang it up and inspect it like the reserve it is
Do proper packing checks
Do proper post packing checks
Count your tools

Don’t leave pull up cord tied round your lines, if you do make sure you bribe the video guy lots to copy over the footage

Try to not to get distracted while packing

If you have had a few beers and a pretty girls says she will come back and watch you pack, don’t pack, she is not there for that, if you do insist on packing and getting the girl comes second to that, then don’t leave your pull up cord on your lines. Not only did you lose the girl but you also have embarrassing video to try and get rid of

Do full kit checks as you put your gear in the car

It might save a long trip with no PCs

Learn to do gear checks with you eyes closed
You may not be able to use a light at the exit point
Do full kit checks when you gear up
Run your eye over your buddies as they line up to exit
Hope that they are doing the same for you

You will be very grateful the day you mate turns to you and asks
“Are you going to bother doing up that chest strap before you go”?
I was about to wing suit EP 4 in Norway I had 300 jumps

Walk your landing area, if you can’t walk them and there is no excuse; get a good brief off someone who has. They look very different from 300 or 3000ft than they do from the ground

Don’t arrive at the exit point at dusk for a long wing suit flight only to launch after dark thinking the landing area is over there some where, under canopy 500ft over a pine forest and churning white water is the wrong time to be still trying to find it. I never did!

Assess your object properly

Is it high enough - for your comfort level
Does it have a landing area
Does it have outs
What height do you need to be under a flying canopy to make the landing area
Can you make the landing area if you have an off heading
Check landing area for hazards
Check all you outs, even if you don’t think you will fly that far

Down winding onto a residential street with both end cells brushing trees is not a time you want to be looking into the darkness asking your self why you didn’t do a wires check

Prioritise you potential object strikes form worst to best
Plan before hand it will save valuable time and mistakes under canopy

London B (still to be opened)

65L over head railway power lines – avoid at all costs
180 Glass building no altitude to turn around, nasty landing directly underneath
45R Vehicle Park, large tightly packed vehicles, broken glass topping wall
90R Main Road, watch lamp posts on foot path, wait till empty before exit
Left and right of narrow landing area road lamp posts plus parked cars
20R Narrow dead end road primary landing area
Sink it in before the wires

If you are going to do stupid things, wear the appropriate protective clothing
Just so no one misunderstands BASE is a stupid thing

Knee pads
Elbow pads
Back protector
Ankle / wrist protection / gloves
Full Dienese body armour

I’ll let you make the decisions on what you wear and when
BASE is a free unregulated sport and I hope it stays that way
That gives you every right to wear or not what you wish

But watch a few object strikes and you will start to work out if you are unconscious or your knees and elbows are smashed it is a little hard to back your canopy out and turn it around.

My helmet goes on every jump, the only one it didn’t I had a PC hesitation and hit large mature trees under a still pressuring canopy, put your helmet on

I am on my 3rd , I broke my first two.

The first striking the cliff, it did its job I walked away, It was an Oxygen A3 not my helmet of choice any more it doesn’t come low enough at the back of the head to fully protect your neck and the base of your skull.

I also split open a ‘Mad Max Ski’ bouncing my temple off a sharp rock on lonely landing area. I really should stop down winding into rocks, but I was low and the gorge was tight and I needed to stay out of the grade 5 white water at all costs. The rocks were a considered option that I am glad I took. The water would have been very bad. A new helmet is cheaper than a new face

My current Mad Max is split at the Jaw from an off heading on a low free fall with no time to turn around, some times you just have to accept the landing you are given.

Don’t do your first wing suit BASE exits from your local 1000ft A because you want some practice before you get to Norway

Don’t learn to do aerials on a 5 sec to impact jump
4 seconds down is not a good place to be lying on you back, feet in the air, still trying to unwrap the PC from your foot

Don’t stand back and watch as some one with 35 jumps tries to copy you
Watching them pitch head down on their back is very very scary

Don’t try to launch 3 way RW moves off BASE objects when you can not make them fly from a plane, carnage will ensue

Don’t free fall your brand new unjumped canopy from 170ft and call it a test jump
Even if it is exactly what it was designed to do
You might find you hit the rocks a little hard while still trying to correct your opening stall

Did I mention back protectors; they help you walk away from things where you shouldn’t be able to

Always take some warm kit to the exit point, 2 ½ hours shivering in a t-shirt is a very long time to wait for a broken down police car to move from you landing area

Be careful committing to objects that you can not retreat from if the wind or situation changes, jumping in high winds into a tight city street in day light is not pleasant, a lot can change while you have to wait for that police car to move.

Park your car facing the way out, turning it around when injured may be difficult
Consider dumping a larger med pack that you would be able to carry on or as close as possible to the landing area, the crawl to the car might be a very long way.

Don’t jump into cloud when you don’t know how thick it is, If you ask your ground crew for cloud depth make sure they know your exact exit point. Punching 11 second of cloud with big ledges at 7 seconds is not smart. Instrument ratings are for aircraft with instruments not wing suits. Taking a compass bearing from your exit point to your landing area during a hole is not sufficient

If you are doing go and throws sort your PC for such, don’t just pull it from the pouch packed for stowed and exit. In the time it takes to unravel and inflate those trees are getting very big

If you solo fully understand the consequences of your actions. Make it a considered decision. I do it a lot but do not recommend it to any one.

LEARN FIRST AID you owe that much to you mates and families, if nothing else take a 4 hour course, if you can, make it a week. It may one day save your friends life or your own child’s life. How can you justify not doing it.

Learn basic climbing rope work, it can help you get up and down from some other wise un accesses able or dangerous exit points, it is not hard to jump short ropes down, climbing down from the roof off a B I know is very interesting, a rope would have been very nice. You can protect yourself even if you are alone.

Make sure your jump buddies know who to call if you go in.

Make sure you know directions for the emergence services or the addition mates you are calling for help

All jumpers on the load should carry a radio, not just first and last. If you have a radio you can talk to the rescue crew if you are hung up. If only the first and last have a radio you can still call up and pass on landing conditions before they jump but the one who needs it half way up he wall might not have it.

Learn to talk veiled speech so you can talk pre or post jump on the radio and any one listening hears something else.

Do not land down wind up hill on hard ground, unless your girlfriend has a fetish for crutches

Practice canopy water training, if you are going to jump your wing suit, practice getting out of it the water. Deep, cold Norwegian fjords with no boat coming is not the place to learn.

Be very careful when conducting reccies at the top of objects. slipping 15ft down a 2000ft wall onto, a small narrow ledge is not fun. Having no choice but to climb back up the same slippery corner, because your rig and radio are in your stash bag and you are in no position to retrieve it or gear up is even less fun especially when no one knows you are there.

When the fjord is white capping and the more experienced jumpers are walking away, go with them. Backing a canopy on to a small rock landing area is not a good flight plan.

Canopies dry quicker than bones heal.

Water proof your gear (radio’s camera ect) if jumping over water, or that out might a very expensive decision

If you are going to jump in the mountains learn your basic outdoor skills. Map compass GPS. Carry the clothing and equipment to hike back down. I’ve seen people take 6 hours to find the road again in Norway when the cloud came down.

If you are planning a sunset jump from a remote exit point, also plan the night walk down. Carry GPS, compass, Torch, food, water ect. 6 hours in a dark forest is a long way

5km into a pine forest in the dark, having missed the landing area you didn’t need to see, now trying to find the trail you never had time to walk, no food, no water, no map, not even a torch or GPS, what if that off landing hadn’t been so soft?

If the injuries are life or limb threatening Fuck the object, fuck the gear call all the help get the casualties out of there, if it is less serious then always try to self help first.

Don’t let the new guys go it alone. We need to guide them and educate them, not just ignore them and hope they go away. Some of them are here to stay.

If you are reading this hopping to start base
if you are lucky you will only get badly hurt

I’m sure there is much more.
I’m sure you can all add more.
Please do so

Learn every thing you can from every body

And a few of us might make it to the end of this game.

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1st: learn to crawl before you try to run....
2nd: pointing a gun to your head and pull the trigger is more efficient (personal view on the jump-history)

With sufficient thrust,
pigs just fly well

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You crazy bastard. I would have never guessed you were that dumb when I first met you, until you told the stories and showed the video.
Thanks for reminding us of your stupidness. ;)

Come back to Texas, you're always good for a jump and a beer (in that order).


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The post has lots of lesson for all newbies to heed.

Anyway, as I was saying . . . . . . . . .

But I still have to ask the question, "Why in bloody hell's name do people ignore this information when it is readily available"?

Oh well, another few months will pass and someone else will write the same thing.

I think people should just cut and paste the fatalities, the incidents, and the learnings. It would save them lots of time. After all, it seems that many people don't have much time nowadays.
Stay Safe - Have Fun - Good Luck

The above could be crap, thought provoking, useful, or . . But not personal. You decide.

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How about ten times in a week!!!

When you guys going to be back around these parts? That was two of the scariest jumps I've done.

Will be in Perris Valley on 10/11th of may... Bringing my base rig and some breakcord may be an option if you're around... keep in touch...

And also in LB at the same time as Neil...


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Because the information isn't sitting on a computer monitor at exit point when the adrenaline flows...

Most people don't have a computer with them when they drive a car, have sex, day trade (just seeing if you are paying attention :P), etc. You usually get the info before you do the deed, not on the exit count.

And if the adrenalin is the thing that is making the decisons for you (as opposed to just affecting them a little), maybe you shouldn't be on the exit point.

And in this day and age of laptops and satellite broadband connections, there is no excuse not to have the information on the computer, at the exit point!!!!! ;) :D

The excellent this is that he has finally learned, and made it public. This will help a number of people to minimise mistakes.
Stay Safe - Have Fun - Good Luck

The above could be crap, thought provoking, useful, or . . But not personal. You decide.

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You know, depending on the year, this really isn't that unconventional of an introduction to BASE jumping. In a lot of ways, the challenge, stupidity, and fear of this is what makes it fun. You know that if your going to be stupid, you better be tough. Wisdom comes from experience and experience comes from mistakes.
Looks like a death sandwich without the bread - Steve Deadman Morrell, BASE 174

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But I still have to ask the question, "Why in bloody hell's name do people ignore this information when it is readily available"?

Because some people are hard-headed & think they can get away with it... there's no talking sense into them; only an injury can 'wake' them up to reality...
"Scars remind you that the past is real..."

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Hey Greeny,

thanks for sharing. As I guess you just copied this into the forum from the UK BASE board.

So to whom it may concern,

whatever BASE means to you, your overall story confirms randomly the usefull conclusions which are collected by smart BASE people since Jean Boenish released “BASEics” in 1984.
I hope it attracts future newbies of your kind to think over.
Even all your experiences are a little to multiversal and so I don’t really get rid of the feeling that a smart mind would like to punk the death camping developments we all registrate more and more often in these days.
Anyway, don’t land on the fatality list and don’t let BASE be a coincidence. It can be done with more responsibility to yourself and the community. Although we all can never eliminate the natural danger of the beast.

live long and prosper

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