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About the New BASE Wiki.

Understanding

This page is a chapter in 'BASE Wiki Getting into BASE'

Understanding BASE: You might be reading this because you are considering to get into BASE. Before you do anything else, make sure you understand what BASE is. Most BASE videos and images make the sport seem easy and fun. A nice parade of jumps performed by graceful athletes, backed up by a pumping soundtrack and sunny weather. How hard can it be...? Right?

Wrong!

BASE can be a great sport and can be incredibly rewarding on a multitude of different levels. It is also one of the hardest things you will ever do and can very easily turn into your greatest nightmare! Obviously, you can die doing it. You also will stand a good chance of serious, possibly permanent injury. Read the BASE Fatality List! Each and every person on the list thought they were ready and able to make that jump. Study the Fatality Statistics, incidents are not limited to one area or type of jump. Read them both all the way through, then read them again, and again. Still want to BASE jump? It gets worse; the dangers and drawbacks of BASE extend far beyond your own death.

You may not die because of a BASE jump, you may just be seriously injured. What if you do get injured and find yourself in a hospital bed for six months, or a wheelchair, or on life support? What if you are unable to ever walk again, unable to feed yourself, or unable to breath on your own? This stuff doesn't just happen to "other" people you know, there is a good chance it will happen to you, especially if you are in a rush to get into the sport. Can you handle the increased possibility of this happening to you that your entry into BASE will bring?

You will make friends in the sport, and possibly lose them; people you know and love might die on their next jump. You may have to watch that happen. Can you be the one to tell your buddies friends or spouse or mom that they "didn't make it"?

Granted, it is possible that none of the above will happen to you, BASE jumping does not guarantee injury or death, it just greatly increases the possibility. One thing is guaranteed though, BASE is not easy! It takes a lot of effort for each and every jump. Jumping off of an object is the easy part, it's everything that happens up to that point and afterwards that can be difficult!
  • Are you ready to lose sleep to make night jumps? You will be at work the next day, overdosing on caffeine just to stay awake.

  • Have you considered what will happen when you get arrested on a less-than-legal jump? You could end up in jail, be forced to show up in court, pay hefty fines, have a permanent record, and be unable to enter certain countries for a long time.

  • How are you going to deal with being forced to climb down for the tenth time because security showed up, the winds got worse, or something just didn’t feel right? Can you deal with disappointments?

  • Are you going to be able to drive for several hours to an object, jump, and then drive back again; all for one jump? Objects don't come to you, you go to them, and that can be very time consuming.

  • Do you have the money to spend on BASE? Unlike skydiving, you don’t have to pay for plane rides up. Nonetheless, most jumpers agree that BASE is more expensive than skydiving.

Last, but not least; are you ready to handle the confusion and misunderstanding from the non-jumping people around you? While a few may understand and support you, there is a good chance that some your friends and family-members will be disappointed, upset or even get angry with you for being selfish. BASE has ruined many a relationship.

Why?

Given the above, why would anybody consider BASE jumping?

That is a great question. Only you can find the answer, but when you do, don’t stop asking the question. Even the most experienced jumpers still wonder from time to time what drives them to go over the edge.

There are as many different reasons to get into BASE as there are jumpers. Some do it for the adrenaline rush, others for the serenity at an exit point. Some are in BASE for boogies and meeting other great people, while others prefer solo jumps. Some get video of every jump and brag to anybody they can find, others keep their BASE career a secret for all but their closest friends. Some do it because they want to fly like a bird, while others enjoy plummeting towards the earth like a brick. Some do it for the adventure, some do it to scare themselves, some do it for the sake of mankind, and some just do it because it is a lot of fun.

There is no "right reason" for getting into it, what is important is that you try to understand what BASE is, what it means to you, and that you continue to refine this definition throughout your jumping career.

Understanding

The fact that you are reading this website is a good first step, but there is lots more to read, discuss and think about. Some argue that you won’t truly understand BASE until you’ve gone over the edge. Or in the words of the late Hunter S. Thompson:
The edge… there is no honest way to explain it because the only people who know where it is are those that have gone over.
Fortunately, there are many things you can do to figure out if BASE is what you are looking for. The first step is to make sure you understand the dangers, the physical and emotional impact BASE can have on you and everyone around you.
  • Consider some of the scenarios above; is BASE worth dying for? Is it worth getting injured for? Are you ready to get arrested, ready to fall asleep at work, ready to climb down off of an object for the tenth time?
  • Are you willing to make great new friends, and then see them die?
  • Analyze the risks of the sport. BASE is a dangerous game with very little room for error. It is a near certainty that you will injure yourself at some point, and not unlikely that you might die.
  • Read the BASE Fatality List carefully.
  • Check the Forums often and read through the old threads, especially the incident reports.
  • Talk to your Friends and Family. Mentioning BASE to them before you even start will help you gauge how they are going to react once you actually do it. Since their reaction won’t be as strong when you’re just considering it, it will allow for better discussions.

Then, consider more practical things that can help you understand what BASE can be.
  • Read this entire website. There is a ton of information here that will help you figure out what BASE is.
  • Check out all the [wiki category="Resources"]other resources[/wiki]. Beyond this website there is a ton of information that will help you learn more about BASE without actually doing it.
  • Participate in the forums and ask your questions. Most BASE jumpers there enjoy answering questions, as long as you show you have done your research first by looking at available resources.
  • Skydive to get the necessary canopy and gear experience, as well find out if you are capable of dealing with high-stress situations.
  • Be Groundcrew for other BASE jumpers.
  • Do something else like mountaineering, climbing, rigging, platform diving, and so forth. The cross-overs will prepare you for BASE, but also teach you more about what BASE is about.

Giving Back

Another thing to consider before you get into BASE is what you can do to help BASE be a great sport. Our sport is rewarding because of the people that put in a lot of time and effort to make it so. Think of the people that offer first jump courses, the people that organize events, the people that open up new objects and share them, the people that mentor new jumpers, the people that write about BASE and share their knowledge, and all the BASE jumpers worldwide that always offer a place to stay to any visiting BASE jumper from anywhere in the world.

This sport is only as great as the people in it. The last thirty years have been incredible. The future can be just as bright if not better! Be creative, participate and give back.


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