We know BASE jumping is dangerous, but how dangerous? More than every other known sport in the world? Well, yes, in fact.
According to a 2007 Oxford University study, which ranked “dangerous” sports based on instances of death in a given number of trials, your odds of eating it while BASE jumping are 1 in 2, 317. That doesn’t seem so bad, until you look at the stats for the second most dangerous sport, swimming, where your risk of croaking stands at a much safer 1 in 56,000.
Does BASE jumping’s extreme peril scare us? Of course not. The risk is what we love most. To that end, and in a move to highlight those Adrenalists who motivate themselves by lining their pockets with studies like this, we present craziest BASE jumps of all time. If all jumps were this intense, those Oxford stats might look a little more grim.
Dirt Bike Jump
Do not try this on your next trip to the Grand Canyon. In 2007, some Adrenalists built a motorcycle ramp leading from the Canyon’s edge, right into the middle of the natural wonder’s gaping gulf. After it was built, Travis Pastrana and company put it to awe-inspiring good use, flipping and twirling hundreds of feet above a pit of rock and cactus. The takeoff was incredible, but the landing didn’t go as planned. Pastrana waited a bit too long to pull his ripcord and crashed into a mesa littered with cactus. At least his bike didn’t land on top of him. No, it exploded into a ball of fire, down on the shrapnel covered Canyon floor, just like it was supposed to.
In most things, higher means more dangerous and, thus, more exciting. Any thrill-seeking BASE jumper will tell you, however, that, in their sport, lower is riskier. Just ask stuntman “Fearless Felix” Baumgartner who jumped off Brazil’s 95-foot-high Christ the Redeemer statue in January of 1999. Unlike a launch from the top of a 60-story skyscraper, the time it would have taken Baumgartner to go from jump inception to cold, hard ground was only a matter of a few seconds. That means his ripcord timing had to be impeccable, or else future BASE jumps might not have been in the cards. Most jumpers revel in the free fall following a descent from the heavens. Low jumpers like Baumgartner have no time to smell the proverbial roses.
You can’t BASE jump underwater… can you? Freediver Guillaume Nery shows you can, and without any oxygen tanks or fancy scuba gear. Watch this video of Nery’s jump into Dean’s Blue Hole, the world’s deepest known ocean trench, located off the coast of Long Island, Bahamas. Already deep below the water’s surface, the Hole’s edge could lead divers like Nery an additional 663 feet down. Now, we don’t know just how deep Nery dove, but the video’s length suggests he plunged further than any of us would ever have the desire (or lung capacity) to explore. Some might say he’s in a different “league.” One thing’s for sure, his bravery takes our breath away.
When the architects drew up the plans for Hotel Bali’s open air elevators, we think it’s pretty safe to say this is not what they had in mind. Australian daredevil Chris “Douggs” McDougall and two friends took to the Benidorm, Spain luxury highrise to BASE jump off the elevator’s roof, taking it the whole way up the building’s face and voicing plenty of concern along the way. Out of all the videos on our list, this one’s probably the hardest to watch. Chock full of stress and crippling beat-by-beat realism, viewers will get a strong sense of the kind of mental toughness it takes to jump when everything in your mind and body is telling you, “don’t.”
One brave soul attempted the holiest of BASE jumps, hurling himself off a 177-foot cupola inside Brussels, Belgium’s Koekelberg Basilica, which Live Leak reports is the sixth largest church in the world. The video quality isn’t fantastic, but it’s strong enough to give you an idea of the kind of ornate dangers the pioneering jumper had to navigate around once his shoot opened. They may not be deadly but those pillars gotta hurt if you bang into them head first. Not that we’ve BASE jumped inside of a famous church. We’re just kind of figuring.
Cover Photo Credit: hakonthingstad / Flickr.com