Anyone Remember El Cap Numbers?

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Hey Jerry,
I have a card and patch from Carl, ElCap 16 July 20, 1979. I wanted to be the first woman, but missed by one week. Rich and Sylvia flew over ElCap, "jumped in", repacked and were Elcap 13 and 14. I hiked up and jumped with my good friend, Dave Olsen (RIP).
I'd heard hat there was a group of jumpers who did the dive in the 60's,so I went to "Twitch" for techniques....he told me, "They'll tell you to track away, but how often do you get to fall next to a mountain...turn and look at it. I did.
Does anyone else remember the real pioneers?....Terry Ward and a few others have the first numbers. They jumped ElCap in the 60's sometime.
I concur...we were not "base jumpers"....we were skydivers out to have fun

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Oops, didn't have my log book in front of me....it was July 9 1979....
We had hiked up the day before, slept in our canopies and packed on top that morning. There were a group of hikers on top. They took pictures as we went off and promised to send us copies. Dang, t

hey never did. I do have one under canopy. In retrospect, glad they didn't send the photos to the rangers. Skydivers!lol!

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Hey Carol,
I was asked by Carl to be in that first bunch. I couldn't make the climb though...Bum Leg...Bummer, since I was really into being the 1st female to do stuff...
I am the One and Only MissBuffDiver, so that is my claim to fame I guess...LOL
I know the first 10, that were with Carl, but I'll let them claim it for themselves.
1 of them was Bill H. I'll vouch for him cuz he doesn't have a computer...LOL

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Maybe I can contribute something about the Antioch Jumpers at El Cap....

I remember just before they went: I was laying in the pea gravel at Antioch watching Steve Haley make a jump. He just kept falling. He got so low, I could darn near see the red spot on his altimiter before he dumped.

Perry Stevens called him aside afterwards, and talked to him very quietly. Perry used to get very quiet when you did things he considered unsafe.

Steve told Perry he had trouble finding the hand deploy. I knew that was bullshit, because I watched him do it. He had it in his hand for a while as he fell; he tossed it when he was ready to, there was no fumbling around at all.

Perry knew it was bullshit, too; and walked off shaking his head.

Shortly thereafter, the Antioch jumpers went to El Cap. On film that was subsequently published for public viewing, Dave Correia looks back at the camera and says, "This is the ultimate!" before he runs off the mountain.

You also see and hear the camera crew scrambling and shouting as one jumper falls, and falls, and becomes almost obscured (from the ground level camera's perspective) by the treeline before he finally dumped. That was Steve Haley. Apparently, the earlier practice at Antioch was put to good use.

From the top of the mountain, it went like this. There was an experienced jumper up there giving advice. "Run off, stay head up as you go, stay stable, and whatever you do don't tumble or you'll never make it."

Steve just kind of said, "Fuuuck youuuu." (Not with hostility, but with a sort of laughing, mocking disdain he always had for that "For God's sake be careful!" attitude people sometimes projected.)

Then he ambled slowly over to the edge with an animated stride; stopped and posed on the brink with his hands in prayer fashion in front of him, like a little kid about to dive into the pool for the first time; bent his knees, looked back with that familiar "tongue in cheek" thing he used to do, and hopped over the edge.

I don't recall how many intentional flips he did, but it was at least one and at this moment I'm thinking it was more. Then he just kept falling until the ground-based camera crew were crapping in their pants, before he pulled.

Now, about that "Norton made the illegal jump" thing. Not so.

Haley wasn't a legal member of the USPA at the time. (Let's just say, politics.) So he didn't have clearance to jump El Cap. When he got down after that low pull, the Rangers asked him for his name and he said, "Paul Landry." (Sorry Paul, but after all these years, the statutes protect you.)

Landry was legitimately signed up to jump, so the Rangers checked his name off the list. Steve went to the parking area, got into his van, and split.

A bit later, another jumper came down claiming to be Paul Landry. "Wait a minute, we got too many Paul Landrys here!" the Ranger discovered (probably between donuts).

Paul produced his I.D. and Useless Parachute Association (that's what we called it back then) card, and nothing could be done to him.

Haley would have gotten clean away, but he drove back into the parking lot and the Ranger's caught up with him. Busted!

Anyway, I wasn't there; and for all I know, those involved will probably deny everything I've just said, and I wouldn't blame them if they do. But I used to jump with those guys, and that's the way they ran it down to me over beers at Antioch shortly after the fact.



P.S. Norton was lost at sea in December 1982 whily ferrying a Piper Navajo to Hawaii enroute to Australia with his business partner Bob Grantham. Both were presumed dead. Sonny Barger hired a boat to look for them, but nothing was ever found.

And his HAMCO club name was actually "Norton Bob" because his first name was Robert. I know he had a first year shovelhead, same as mine. When he was at Antioch he had a new Superglide. I never knew him to have an Indian, but wouldn't doubt it. He had lots of toys.

Haven't read Sonny Barger's book, but will some day.

BTW: Norton brought Sonny to Antioch after his release from prison in the 70's, where the president of HAMCO made two static line jumps under T-10;s and got to the pea gravel both times.
SCR-8872; USPA-JM; CFIASME; Jump Pilot; Bare-Handed Wolf Chokers and Pterodactyl Breeders Association (Retired)

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I jumped with several members of Nevada Skydivers on September 7. The certificate Carl Boenish issued reads El Capitan No. 373.

Someone coordinated filming of our jumps on 8mm film. The film, converted to digital, has been uploaded to Youtube:


Those were the days!

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I think my number is 699, my unnamed mentor/guide called in my jump to Jean, and it was given to me over the phone, this was August of 1993

Myself and 3 others hiked in from the back side. We got a late start, and I struggled with the hike so we didn't get to the top until way after dark...as in pitch dark. My guide and I stumbled uncomfortably around edge and finally found the Cave where I pretended to sleep. We rose at dawn, listened to the rangers chatter on the radio, then stepped off the lip in two groups of two.

I got off clean and stable, tracked away from the wall and pulled just past the Towers, totally in control and loving every second. I easily made it to the far end of the meadow, weaving between the pines and landing in chest high grass. I naturally scurried away into the woods like a damned rodent.

I cooled my heels next to the river and in a foxhole like depression before slinking off to the rendezvous point. I now felt like a criminal, or maybe how those soldiers felt on D-day parachuting behind enemy lines.

I was on post jump high for weeks, even better than my first skydive, the experience still occupies my dreams, both day and night.

tommy #699

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Blaine Wright told all us wannabe base jumpers, a story once, of when he jumped El. Cap. He said he was also arrested. I'm not sure when he made that jump. Sometime between 75 and now.

Blaine is now recovering from something like 33 broken bones. A demo into the U of M went bad. Has anyone heard how he's doing.

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May 29, 1980, me and Mike R. jumped it at night and I got ElCap #69 and NightCap#4 from Carl Boenish. Bullit Bob and BJ Worth were NightCap #s 1 and 2.

Me and Mike went back a couple weeks later, 6-1-1980 with a photographer we hung over the edge on a rope and and jumped just after sunrise. Went back a third time a few weeks later and did a night jump with Charlie Hancock. When we got to the top there were three other Ghouls there, Mad Mark, Dead Fred and Tim Yeary. They said two women from So Cal jumped at sunset, but they only saw one parachute. The one woman had rangers looking for her friend who had opened into the wall and injured a leg landing in the talus slope at the base of the wall. Apparently, word slipped out that there were more jumpers up there and the rangers were waiting for us when we landed. That was just past midnight on a Friday and we all got to spend the weekend in the park's hoosegow. Went to court on Monday in front of the Honorable Judge Pitts who fined us each an additional $100 more than $250 going rate for being the first ones busted at night. After the trial was over Judge Pitts told us that he was in the meadow with some relatives from back east and had just told them about the crazy skydivers who would sneak in and jump off. He said the relatives wanted to see that, but he told them it was illegal and infrequent. Two minutes later the five of us jumped. I've still got the evidence sticker, case # 904557, they put on my rig in my logbook and I'll never forget the size of the barrel of the pistol the Chief Ranger pointed at me when he arrested me. I was one of many who sent Judge Pitts a card when he retired a few years later. He sent a nice letter in return. Zing Lurks

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