Cave jumping infuses our raw fear of the unknown with adrenaline to produce an extreme sport unlike any other.
There’s something primordial about jumping into a dark pit that leads to an unseeable bottom. That, however, hasn’t stopped a bunch of daredevils from taking the dive into the dark abyss around the world.
Check out the 5 best cave jump videos below and decide whether or not diving into the unknown is your next extreme hobby.
Marmet Cave, Croatia
You’ve probably heard of our first cave jumper before. Long before Felix Baumgartner was jumping from space, he was just like any other skydiver and BASE jumper, albeit one of those adventure seekers who dares to try whatappears impossible.
In 2004, Felix jumped into the Marmet Cave in Croatia’s Velebit National Park, which spans most of the Velebit Mountain range and features hundreds of holes. These holes are the deepest caves in all of Croatia, and Felix decided to try plunging into one of the more audaciousness. Marmet Cave, which is located in the Paklenica Park River canyon, is not an easy jump. Paklenica features 39 pits and 37 caves, and Marmet appears to be the only one anyone has ever jumped into.
In the video above, take a look at the opening montage as the camera pans down on Felix as he comprehends the mouth of Marmet. The gaping hole of black is exactly what we mean when we talk about the danger and the psychological turmoil cave jumping entails.
Grotta Gigante, Italy
The Grotta Gigante is a huge cave on the Italian side of the “Trieste Carso” in the municipality of Sgonico on the border with Solvenia. The central cavern is considered the largest tourist cave in the world and measures 107 m (351 ft) high, 65 m (213 ft) wide and 130 m (430 ft) long.
Because the Grotta Gigante is so large, it’s an ideal location for tourists to check out the wonderful collection of stalactites and stalagmites, which protrude from the cavern wall in wonderful patterns and shapes.
With all of our videos on this list, only Italian BASE jumper David Cusanelli’s cave vault is actually from inside the cave. As we mentioned, this cave is 351 ft high. In the case of where he’s jumping, it’s actually a little smaller at 323 ft in the air from the platform he’s stepping from.
The height of the jump is just enough to allow Cusanelli time to get his chute open before landing on the dangerous, millennia-old stalagmites and stalactites. Watch as he pulls his chute immediately after jumping off the specially designed platform.
This jump is actually fairly recent. Cusanelli pulled this off earlier in June and it’s a bit unnerving to watch the Italian BASE jumper pause for so long as he looks down the claustrophobic path he must take. Even though the Grotta Gigante is the world’s largest tourist cave, it’s still a cave, and not the ideal environment to BASE jump.
Cusanelli’s parachute opens and just a couple seconds later he’s landing. He lands the only cave jump on this list from inside a cave.
Xiaozhai Tiankeng Sinkhole, China
In China, there are sinkholes due to natural erosion caused by dissolution of carbonate rocks, suffosion in sandstone or collapses of old mines. Regardless of how they formed, they’re breathtaking in their scope. The largest sinkhole in the world is China’s Xiaozhai Tiankeng, in the Chongqing district. Some refer to it as “the Great Sky Hole,” because you can actually notice it’s vastness only from aerial shots.
Measuring 626 m long (2053 ft), 537 m wide (1762 ft) and between 511 to 662 m (1676-2172 ft) deep, Tiankeng literally translates to “heavenly pit.”
In 2009, Chuck Berry, along with a group of 21 other experienced BASE jumpers from over 12 different nationalities jumped into the “heavenly pit.” BASE jumping into the world’s largest sinkhole, however, isn’t simple
This cave jump makes your adrenal glands pulsate, but Chuck and his team figured out the best possible way to accomplish the jump was by using the leftover cable to pulley out to the center of the sinkhole. This allowed them to get the maximum amount of distance into the center of the sinkhole’s seemingly endless bottom.
Majlis al Jinn, Oman
This next cave, the Majlis Al Jinn in Oman, is the ninth largest cave chamber in the world, but the largest in the Middle East. It was only discovered in Oman in 1983 about 100 kilometers southeast of Muscat.
Despite it’s relatively recent discovery, two BASE jumpers went free falling into the surprisingly large cavern deposit; the enormity of the cave’s chamber comes despite such a narrow mouth to that chamber. Majilis al Jinn is a single chamber cave with three openings at the top, with an interior measuring 310-225 m (1017-738 ft) and a domed ceiling measuring 120 m (393 ft) high.
The first video comes from three months ago, courtesy of the Skydive Dubai team. The videographer and producer, John Falchetto, documented the setup, as Skydive Dubai team members Matt, Chris, Noah and Mike actually jumped into the cave with just a parachute on their backs.
Noah was the first to jump, and he decided to backflip into the narrow mouth of Majlis al Jinn before almost immediately yanking on his chute’s cord as he lazily drifted to the bottom of the cavern’s chamber.
The second video features British world class climber, alpinist, BASE jumper and overall adventurer, Leo Houlding. Leo jumped the Majlis al Jinn a couple years ago as a part of the British reality adventure series, “Take Me to the Edge,” which he hosted.
Both the Skydive Dubai group and Leo completed a cave jump unlike any other.
Cave of Swallows, Mexico
The Cave of Swallows is an open air pit in Mexico’s municipality of Aquismon in the San Luis Potosi State. The cave itself was formed by water erosion along a fault in the limestone forming a conical descent. The Cave of Swallows has been known for longer than some of the other caves featured here. It was discovered in 1966 by T. R. Evans, Charles Borland and Randy Stern.
The name does not derive from the feeling of being swallowed by the earth whole. No, the Cave of Swallows is named after the birds who nest along the cave’s walls and fly out of the upper opening to search for food during the day.
The mouth of the cave forms an elliptical shape measuring 49 by 62 m (160 by 203 ft) wide and is undercut as you go down. The actual chamber of the cave measures 303 by 135 m (994 by 442 ft) wide.
It’s a 333 m (1092 ft) freefall drop from the lowest side of the opening, with a 370 m (1,214 ft) drop from the highest side, which makes it the largest known cave shaft in the world and the second deepest pit in Mexico. New York City’s Chrysler Building could fit in the cave. A person without a parachute would take almost 10 seconds to free fall from the cave opening to the floor below.
In February of 2004, the Phoenix Fly team traveled to Mexico for an expedition of BASE jump outposts in Mexico. Obviously, the Cave of Swallows was their focal point, but they weren’t planning on jumping without a parachute.
The Phoenix Fly team members jump in tandem and one after another, so you get the perspective of free falling into the cave while someone is falling right on top of you.