Explained: What Is Base Jumping? Taking Flight And More

Explained: What Is Base Jumping? Taking Flight And More

In the past few years, thanks to coverage from mainstream media and youtube videos, the thrilling and extreme sport of base jumping have gone from a small fringe game to a full-blown sport. 

The game of base jumping is one of the favorites among extreme sports lovers around the world. This is also a popular sport which you can see at various tourist destinations around the world. 

But what exactly is this activity? And what do you need to know before you go for this game? Read the article below to find all the details about this adrenaline spiking game. 

What Is Base Jumping?

The bae jumping sport involves high trained athletes who climb up to great heights to take leaps. These heights can be both natural or man-made structures varying from cliffs to bridges. Unlike the sport of skydiving, there is no use of any kind of aircraft in the base jumping, and the people take leaps from fixed structures. 

However, the two sports have some things in common. One is that both use parachutes for arresting the fall and delivering the jumpers safely back to the ground. The BASE is an acronym representing the potential objects that the athletes can use to take a jump. These fixed objects include antennas, buildings, bridges, spans, and the earth itself. The earth includes cliffs, high mountain tops, or any other tall natural places. 

For the sport, base jumpers wear a wingsuit and parachutes. A wingsuit is a specifically designed outfit that allows the jumpers to slow down the rate of descent while making the maneuvers in the air on their way down. After the players take a leap from the cliff, the wingsuit quickly fills up with the air. This allows the players to glide along like the birds. Eventually, when they reach a critical height, they open their parachutes. This is a part of safety mechanics, which allows them to lower back to earth at a controlled descent rate. This control helps in preventing the injury. 

One thing to remember for base jumping is that it is an extreme sport, and thus you need to go for extensive training before trying it. This is also essential as in base jumping; you get very little time to react in case of a wrong jump. 

Taking Flights

Some of the base jumpers take their leap of faith from the bridges, while others do it from buildings. On the other hand, some extreme adventures put on flying squirrel or birdman suits and then jump off high man-made structures or cliffs. 

During the beginning few seconds of the jump, the wingsuits fill up with the air, and it allows the players to soar at a speed of 140 miles/hour. Sometimes they do this while flying close to rock walls or some high towers or even through caves during the descent. The wingsuits allow the pilots to pull off precision maneuvering, although these stunts are for best-trained jumpers. Such stunts also require years of experience as the pilots must know exactly what they are doing, or it may cause an accident. 

Once the flight nears the ends, the pilots rapidly approach the ground; they deploy their parachutes, which allow them to slowly drift to the ground. 

History Of Base Jumping

We can trace the origins of these extreme sports back to the 1970s when these adrenaline junkies wanted a new kind of sports for pushing their limits. Later in 1978, filmmaker Carl Boenish Jr. coined this term of base jumping when they took the jump off El Capitan in the Yosemite National Park. In this jump, they used ram-air parachutes to slow down the descent. They made an incredible fall from that rock, and it led to the creation of a whole new kind of sport. 

During the early years of base jumping, the divers used the same gear as the skydivers. But over the years, the equipment was refined and designed to suit the need of this particular sport. The parachutes, helmets, jumpsuits, and all the other gear evolved, leading to a more light and compact gear, turning into a more suitable gear for the sports. These changes were welcomed as the base jumpers needed to carry their equipment to their jump places. 

The reduction in the weight of the equipment made it a lot easier for the jumpers to undertake this activity. In addition to all these, the parachutes also needed to deploy and fill with air more quickly as the distance between the jump and ground was not always much. This need also led to the development of more suited parachute designs for sports. 


The wingsuit was developed in the 1990s by a French BASE jumper and skydiver named Patrick de Gayardon. His development of a suit to glide during the flight is known to be the first modern wingsuit. Later the suit became more refined and designed, and today it is a commonly sold and used product, unlike in its initial stages when it was just a prototype. 

Famous BASE Jump Destinations

Around the world, there are numerous destinations that are famous for their suitable cliffs and height for BASE jumping. These are:

  • Troll Wall in Norway. 
  • Perrine Bridge in Idaho. 
  • Angel Falls in Venezuela.
  • Burj Khalifa in Dubai.
  • New River Gorge Bridge in West Virginia. 
  • Kuala Lumpur Tower in Malaysia.
  • Navagio Beach in Greece.
  • Meru Peak in India. 
  • The Dolomites in Italy. 

These are some of the famous base jumping destinations around the world which offer not only height but also jaw-dropping scenery. The places attract jumpers for both their height and natural beauty. However, before going for jumps, you need to know that some of these palaces require permission for jumping. 

Final Words

Base jumping is an extreme sport that has gained popularity among folks in recent years. It is jaw-dropping adrenaline-rushing sports where jumpers take a leap of faith from extreme heights. 

The jumpers in this sport wear various equipment like helmets, parachutes, and wingsuits during the jumps, which help them in staying safe. 

Jatin Choudhary

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