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base jump


The Call came at 3 am

The Call Came at 3 am

The call came at 3 am and it was a zinger.  The voice at the other end of the line said something along the lines of 'how would you like to jump off the Royal Gorge Bridge?'.  Now that got my full and undivided attention, grogginess be gone.  I was receiving a once in a life time offer.  Bungee jumping off the Royal Gorge Bridge is illegal, but every now and then the jump is legal, for only a few days.  Go Fast, an energy drink company, will take out insurance on the bridge to run the Go Fast Games and create a festive swirl of adrenaline activities which include Base Jumping, slack lining, jet suit flights, bungee jumping, etc.  I am not sure exactly how many Go Fast Games have been run but it appears to be 5-7 times and definately not every year.

I had been jumping and helping crew with Over the Edge Bungee (out of Stanley, Idaho) to help fill my adrenaline needs.  We had discussed the 1,053 foot (321 meter) Royal Gorge Bridge as the ultimate destination while packing bungee cords, carabiners, etc.

Over the Edge Bungee had been asked to run the bungee jump at the 2008 Go Fast Games.  I would help on crew, take photos and film, and of course, would be an amazing experience I will never forget.  It also appears to have been the latest, but, hopefully, not last, Go Fast Games.

I have a previous blog story on our Go Fast Games adventure so I will share the recent discovery of a slideshow I had tried to put together after the event. It was on a seriously inadequate lap top that had trouble with the project.  It essentially had problems with just about everything.

About a month ago I was offered a much newer lap top. It works.  Bells and whistles included.  While scanning my photos I  came across the  unfinished slideshow, laying dormant in a corner of the Go Fast Games file.  

An opportunity to relive a grand time and to finally share with others.  Enjoy!
Link below:
Music by Sittser



20 Second Therapy Session

20 Second Therapy Session
I lifted my left leg and swung it over the roughly 4 foot high railing that seperates the spectators from those with a death wish, or those with a wish to live life to the fullest.  It was an odd feeling as my dangling leg stretched to find purchase on the wood platform that had been inserted just a few minutes ago.  I lowered myself down to the platform, now assuming a truly unique and somewhat freaky view off the harrowing edge of 486 foot high Perrine Bridge in Twin Fall, Idaho. 

Perrine Bridge in Twin Falls, Idaho

With the railing at my back, I was one step to free-fall and the river.  To prolong my 20 second therapy session, I requested an additional photo.  Not just a regular snapshot of Dave doing his first base jump but I wanted something a bit out of the ordinary (as if leaping off a bridge is ordinary).

No Longer a spectator

Ok, so while I was attached to my trusted friend, a 1 inch piece of webbing that secured my harness to the bridge, I inched toward the end of the jumping platform.  Man, what a sick view! 
Despite the nerves, it was a unique spot to be as I leaned forward and snapped some history with my Canon Rebel and  handed the camera back to Summer Eldridge, a bungee jumping friend, who had come out to watch me test gravity off of another really high stucture.   

On the Edge once again

In his book, Extreme Fear, Jeff Wise shares that while most of us try to avoid stress in the course of our daily lives, it's the stressful, emotionally intense memories that will live with us the longest. 
This bonus bucket of stress was compliments of Tandem Base, the only company in the world that offers tandem base jumps.  They had just opened up this heart in your throat opportunity just a handful of months before I would be traveling through the area.  I have had some special moments attached to a bungee cord at the Perrine.  I have swan dived off the bridge a couple of times,  been thrown off (pall bearer toss) and now a new chapter in my life, a base jump.   I had wanted to join the base jump crowd for many years.  True story, but the script had no plot, no storyline and no hope of reality until tandem base jumping arrived in Idaho.  Base jumping has a gravity cousin called Sky Diving.  In Base, instead of exiting a perfectly good airplane (or at least one that flies) you are bounding off of a bridge, antenna, span or earth.  No time to flail for a back up parachute, so get it right the first time.

Topsy Turvy feeling

Speeches were rather short while on the platform.  A quick clip to the amazingly tall, Mark Kissner,  and an unclipping from the webbing that was temporarily connecting me to the railing while I climbed over and took the "I was there" photos off the end of the platform.  After we sauntered to the edge, I was told to let gravity do its thing and gradually lean forward.  hmmm.  Guess I'll check that theory out. 

Theory worked, and we dropped with staggering speed.  The parachute was quickly deployed and a quick veering to the right and then the left, with the side of the canyon looming to our side brought us into the landing zone.  Therapy Session success. 

There are 3 common routes for exiting the canyon.  The climbing option in which you ascend straight up the canyon wall, the hiking option, in which you follow the river to a turn around point in the road, or the boating option which will drop you off at the park. 

Ribbons for those who had leaped off the Perrine without a parachute or bungee cord

The 50 foot climbing section is not terribly hard but can be a little intimidating for someone who doesn't climb much.  A short note from a base jumping page encourages those on the climbing route to be careful because there are spots on this rock where falling could certainly mean serious injury or death. Point taken. 

I spent a lot of quality time on the bridge taking pictures of the beauty that encompasses the canyon, the Snake River far below and the desert that engulfs the area.  It was an incredible sight to absorb but the real experience and the memories that will always be cherished were the more stressful, emotionally intense moments of hoisting myself up and over the railing, making my way to the edge of the platform, a lean and a flight. 

Climbing option out of the canyon

View looking toward the west side of the canyon

My leap on Youtube:


One of the views from the Perrine Bridge



An Opportunity at 124 Miles Per Hour

An Opportunity at 124 Miles Per Hour

"An Opportunity at 124 miles per hour"

A dramatic, inspiring site perched high above the Arkansas
River, the Royal Gorge Bridge is a popular spot for tourists
to death-grip the railing, and take a heart thumping view to
the river 1,053 feet below. I have a special fondness for
bridges. For four days every year adrendaline seekers descend
upon this special bridge for base and bungee jumping, slack
lining, rock climbing with a few jet pack flights thrown in for
good measure.

With a call at 3 am I received the invite to participate in the Go
Fast Games by my friends at Over the Edge Bungee. I wanted
to be part of the unique experience by working on the bungee
crew. Of course, I was also there to jump. As a person with diabetes, I have chosen to live life as fully as possible. I am not sure how many is in my quota, but this will be one notch in my 'adventure' quota.  

The crew and I have shared the long-lasting dream to leap off of what is probably the ultimate gravity experience on the planet. So, when Over the Edge Bungee was invited to be the sole bungee company working the festival, I knew this was my ticket to adventure.Ticket punched and harness in my suitcase, I made my way to Canon City, Colorado.

This was not the first time I had spent time on the Royal Gorge
Bridge. As a child, the Nevins family had made an excursion
to the bridge. I don’t remember much about the visit except that
there was a definite cloud of fear while on the bridge. Never
did I envision (nor did my poor parents) jumping off the
highest suspension bridge in the world. Come to think of it, I
have spent a large chunk of my life doing things that would not
be on most people’s lists. Sometimes life presents unusual
opportunities and sometimes we need to say yes.

Not wanting to loaf around and allow fear to permeate, I made
sure that I would be dangling from bungee cords on the first
day. The Go Fast Games are four days of intense craziness
held at the end of September. You have to be invited in order
to participate in all the activities except our bungee gig. It
was a real highlight to assist over 80 people make the leap of
a lifetime. It is my guess that almost half of the group, who
were from distant points all over the globe, were first-time
bungee jumpers. In my jumping career, I had started off
slowly (all of 95 feet on my first jump), working up to
loftier bridges. These participants were not messing around.
The novelty of the event truly hit home when I found out that
less than 100 people had ever bungee jumped off this structure,
before we had arrived. It is illegal to jump the bridge unless
it is during the Go Fast Games.

Early on the first day of the Games I climbed over the railing
and onto a platform that had been created for our time on the
bridge. What an amazing place to be! Was I nervous?
Standing at the end of a platform over 1,000 feet above the
River, ready to do my best imitation of a torpedo and fall at
Terminal velocity (124 miles per hour), I had some anxious
Thoughts. But thankfully the anxious-meter was low and I
was smiling. Gravity works exceptionally well at the Gorge
and I had a grand leap. Another phenomenal memory
forever stored into the brain bank.