9 of The Most Insane Places on Earth to Try BASE Jumping
The term BASE is an acronym that describes the various fixed things that you would leap from; a building, antenna, span and earth. The concept is somewhat similar to sky diving in that you are in still wearing a parachute, but you’re jumping from altitudes much lower than you would jumping from a plane, so the amount of time you have to pull the chute before minute zero probably makes this the most dangerous sport you can do. Think you’ve got what it takes? Well hold up a minute. Experts say just because you’ve been skydiving once or twice, doesn’t mean you’re ready to BASE jump. The most accomplished BASE jumpers claim you should have a minimum of 200 skydives before you make your first BASE jump attempt. That’s a lot a wear and tear on your tactical wallet.
There are a few things you might want to do first before you hop a plane to Dubai and fling yourself off of the world’s tallest building. Ask permission! BASE jumping is not a legal sport in many places in the world for various reasons including the danger factor, but also, the fact that it draws crowds can cause extra safety concerns. But, if you’re a seasoned Jumper, somewhere like the Burj Khalifa might be amenable to experienced jumpers bringing publicity to their property in the post-pandemic travel era. Back in 2010, two jumpers were given permission to jump, and they set a world record for the world’s highest BASE jump (2,716 feet) going over 136 miles an hour. Needless to say, you'll want the slimmest wallet stuffed tightly in a zipped compartment for this adventure.
Idaho, United States
This might be a great place to take your first jump for a number of reasons. Sitting above the Snake River in the state of Idaho, the Perrine Bridge stands at 457 meters high. It attracts BASE jumpers from all across the North America and the world, because it’s one of the only places on earth, you don’t require a jump permit. So pack that tactical wallet, but don’t stress about crazy costs. A world record was set for number of jumps when Dan Schilling leaped off 201 times in less than 24 hours back in 2006.
Urban jumps are not for the faint of heart. There’s little room for error, and the crowd is significant. The Jin Mao building is one of Shanghai’s tallest buildings and it’s well known for having high winds. This 1,174 foot jump saw dozens of jumpers during the 2004 International BASE Jump Show. So, if you think you’ve got the stomach for it, take the elevator up 88 stories and enjoy the city of Shanghai at your feet.
If you’ve travelled, you know that not only do the Swiss have a reputation for pulling dangerous, death defying feats, they live up to that reputation. Lauterbrunnen Valley is an excellent place to experience your first BASE jump, not only because of the hair-raising 2,600 drop, but because Switzerland is home to some of the most epic BASE jumping schools in the world. The cliffs in this valley see hundreds of BASE jumpers during peak season, of all abilities and ages.
Angel Falls, Venezuela
You want to brag to all of your other BASE jumping buds? Take a flying leap off of the world’s tallest waterfalls and you’ll instantly give everyone FOMO. This jump takes some serious commitment, top notch gear and some serious climbing skills. First, you have to climb up through the jungle for several days, then scale a rock face, all before you reach your launch spot. Once you do, it’s probably one of the most, if not, the most beautiful and thrilling jumps you’ll ever do. Enjoy the 3,212 foot plunge!
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
While countless BASE jumpers have been prosecuted for sneaking around and illegally leaping off of buildings all over Asia, the Kuala Lumpur Tower in Malaysia has marketed itself specifically to jumpers! The KL Tower as it’s known, hosts an annual BASE jumping event that attracts more than 100 jumpers from all over the world. Kuala Lumpur is known as the BASE jumping capital of the world, so if you’re thinking of diving (pun intended) into this realm, this is definitely a bucketlist spot to tick off your list. The tower can see high winds, much like the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, but it’s much easier to get permission to jump here most times of the year.
West Virginia, USA
BASE jumping in America’s National Parks is highly illegal, however, there are a few places, mainly bridges, where it is allowed. The New River Gorge in West Virginia is one of those spots. Jumper have been gather here in October of every year to celebrate Bridge Day since 1980. At a modest 846 feet, this jump pales in comparison to some of the other famous spots around the world, but it does draw a fun crowd, and you’ll also be in the company of rock climbing enthusiasts and rapellers. If you’re looking for a place to kick off your BASE jumping career, this might be the perfect spot for you.
Garhwal Himalaya, India
Novices need not apply. This jump is only for the most experienced and most death-defying jumpers in the world. Absolutely any kind of sport that takes place in the Himalayas, the highest points on earth, requires athleticism, critical thinking, nerves of steel, and the possible equipment money can buy. The 21,850 foot summit makes pretty much every other jump around the world look like you’re jumping off the monkey bars at the playground. As you’ve probably already guessed, this is not an easy jump point to access. It requires significant planning, and mountaineering skills. But if you’re up for the challenge, nothing will top this thrill.
The Dolomites, Italy
There isn’t a specific spot to jump, but if you ask around the BASE jumping community, they share with you some of their favourite spots. This mountain range, because of it’s various peaks at different altitudes, it’s considered a great spot for intermediate jumpers who have a few jumps under their belt, but aren’t quite as advanced as those leaping off of Angel Falls. This is also a great spot to have your thrills, and spend the rest of your time having a less adrenaline-thumping holiday. Bring your tactical wallet though, the views are spectacular, the food and wine is incredible and with so many places to jump, you may not want to come home.
Alright, so let’s go over a few things before you plan your next death-defying BASE jumping holiday! If you follow social media, there are plenty of jaw-dropping jump locations around the world that you’re going to be tempted to try out, but remember, BASE jumping is extremely dangerous, and highly illegal in many parts of the world. National Parks, World UNESCO Heritage Sites, and places that have significant religious or cultural significance are not places you should be BASE jumping. Plus, you could be prosecuted. So stick to legal spots, make sure your gear is top notch, and understand that the more experience you have, the better your chances of survival so you can tell those unbelievable stories when you get home.