Fear: I LOVE conquering my fears. Each jump in BASE Jumping presents me with a bit of fear that I must overcome. This has helped me in every day life in so many ways. Life is so much easier when a fear becomes a simple hurdle that I’ve already leaped over time and time again. Speaking in public, Interview for a new job or sponsor, or even talking to that pretty girl across the room… how do these things compare to jumping from a cliff? They don’t… they’re so much easier.
There are many people in this world running around trying to pay bills. Afraid of falling behind, afraid of getting ill, afraid of their spouse not loving them. Confrontation of these fears gives you strength to overcome, to push on through. For years I’ve taught Skydiving to beginners and taken people on tandems. Each time we go through the same steps… anxiety during paperwork, gearing up, flight to altitude and the walk to the door. No matter how fearful each person is 90% of my students have released their anxiety and found enjoyment instantly upon leaving the aircraft. Sure endorphins and adrenaline are a large part to blame, but you receive those chemical reactions when you make a difficult decision or solve a complex issue.
Overcoming Fear! BASE Jumping in one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Norway!
Let’s talk about the 10% that didn’t release their fears upon jumping. I’ve asked each one when they didn’t enjoy it to the fullest, and stated they wouldn’t do it again; “Do you regret doing it?” I have not once received a “Yes, I wish I hadn’t!” I do think their is a difference between those who are pushed over the edge so to speak, and those who sought out this adventure themselves. For example: A friend convinces you to come out and do the jump… you didn’t really want to do something so outrageous. From peer pressure you say yea why not. You land hard and break your ankle… or worse. It is highly unlikely from that state of mind you would have any positive thoughts toward this event in your life.
I have known first jump students who came to this sport on their own accord. Who have made mistakes early in their career and some who have been injured on their first or second jump. They knew that this was something they wanted to do… that the first jump was scary, but they did it. Their injury is only a reminder that it is dangerous and they need to learn more before they attempt it again. Your experiences in life are all filtered by your state of mind. If your friends want you to join them… make sure it’s your decision to proceed and love that moment you conquer your fears! It feels great! I promise
Also Remember: Skydiving and BASE Jumping are not for everyone. Participate with caution and at your own risk!
Less then 24 hours ago, I fell more then 30 meters from a mountain. My body is wrecked, but I was fortunate to walk away without a broken bone in my body. Anyone can probably imagine what it feels like to fall from something. Only someone who has taken a fall like this can understand what goes through your mind. I now have over 1000 BASE jumps, and not one of them prepared me for an experience like this.
Our intent was to Speedride from a spectacular mountain in the West Coast of Norway. In the end I was the only one who flew from the mountain, sadly via helicopter. When we arrived to our intended launch point… we discovered winds not favorable to our cause. The Ice Glacier beneath us offered a nice place to do a few practice launches before hiking to our plan B. At this point we made a terrible choice to continue hiking with our parachutes in hand.
20 meters from the peak, I found my feet not under my control. Quickly I scrambled for a new foot hold utilizing my free hand to find balance. Instantly I realized I was going for a ride, completely unaware of what was to come. My initial reaction was silly… Protect the parachute so not to damage it. Miliseconds later the ledge foreshadowed what was to come. I tossed the parachute over head and tried to grab the rock to my right. My hands and shoulders could not take the force created by he speed I had generated and I fell 10 meters to the slab below.
During the initial fall, I was struck by disbelief. “I can’t believe this is happening to me right now!” “what will be next, am I dead?” The impact was absorbed through my feet and spread out through my belly, chest and elbows. Quickly I rolled over to see what I could do to stop this acceleration. Unfortunately I was greeted by my second drop… 15 meters to the next slab. A bit of acceptance had crept into mind… I’m falling, how do I stop? How do I reduce the damage each fall?” I found myself much more relaxed and able to respond to the situation.
After the second fall I carved my own path down a icy patch running into a pile of knee high boulders. I was able to absorb the impact through my legs and put an end to the this terrifying moment.
The steep mountain terrain I was falling through was a blessing despite the speed it generated. The angle of the slabs that I fell onto certainly reduced my impact preventing further damage. My attitude and experience in high stress moments allowed me to be calm and relaxed reducing the damage of the event. For many years I felt indestructible, throwing caution to the wind. As you grow and gain experience you find yourself grateful that foolishness can often be overcome by confidence and experience. With anything you can be lucky and get away with making mistakes… until you don’t. I will not make this mistake again. I am so grateful for the experiences I have, and the opportunity to continue these adventures. All my love to my friends that were there for me at this time, in the past and the future. I am truly a lucky man!
When a friend or loved one dies in an extreme sport or activity, you often hear “Well at least they died doing what they love!” For the record… I do not want to die in BASE Jumping or Skydiving or any other extreme sport I partake in. I have many aspirations outside of my extreme lifestyle… Wife, kids, and heaps more traveling. That being said; If I do die “doing what I love.” I will not be kicking it in the after life wishing I had not gone on these great adventures. That moment before impact I will have more fulfillment then a lifetime of work, television, and taxes.