Monday, March 28, 2011

Mexico BASE with Damien Dykman

By Damien Dykman

Beautiful mountain deserts would be a good 3 word description of Nuevo Leon, Mexico. It's only a few hours away from Texas and an easy drive from Houston, home of Gee and David, my partners in crime for this trip. But wait, I should be a little more cautious using those words given all the sad events happening in that part of Mexico. For us gringo, apart from having to pay a "muelta" in cash, here and there, to a local corrupted cop, it really wasn't that bad. Maybe when it really gets bad, you can't tell the story... I just hope things will get back to normal, those people are so nice, they really deserve a little more peace.

First stop, la Popa. One of the classics. The hike is steep but if you pay attention, there is a trail marked with yellow dots, all the way to the summit. The exit point, is right there, next to the cross made out of 3 pipes welded together. Gee and I did a 2 way flying our wingsuits but quickly realized that the air was turbulent and the winds strong over the LZ. Opening over the LZ was a bad idea. Gee went straight to the alternate LZ, down wind from the main one. I decided to stick to the plan, but the wind was too strong for me to move forward. Luckily, I had a graceful landing in the boulders, between bushes and cactus. A few minutes later, we joined David who was watching the jump with Ezequiel, the ranchero who owns the land and old friend of Gee.

The 2nd cliff on the list is a few hours away and requires to go through Monterey. The local soccer team was playing: so barely any traffic! We made it to the mountains above at night and took possession of our local cabin. After 2 hours through the bushes and cactus, we got to a little pass where David set up the camera to have a side view of the jump.

An additional 20 min took us to the Exit point where Gee decided to be the wind dummy. The cliff is amazing: massively overhanging limestone cliff. The tricky part is if you decide to fly into the canyon in which case, you need to clear the narrow section to be comfortable to open and land on the beach down the river. But how to we get back to the cabin from this gorge? Just follow the river and 1 hour later we were "home", ready to enjoy a local meal. But David made it back at least 2 hours later, beat up and dehydrated. It took him 5 hours to go down, twice as much as going up! Obviously, the new alternate route he tried is not to be repeated!

Our third and last day didn't allow enough time for the exploration of an other cliff that Gee had scoped on his last trip. Never mind, we went for that same beautiful cliff again with David shooting from the bottom this time. Similar conditions than the day before, but more light due to our early start. What a blast again. But no time to chill, Houston is a long drive back.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Flocking at Lodi January 2011

Check out these cool shots from the bigger then life Team Member and PRO Cameraman, Jhonny "Madusa" Florez.
Just click the Flocking picture to go straight to the Gallery Slide Show.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

"Courage in Sports Awards" features Team Ill Vision!

Team ILL VisionBy Ed PawlowskiTeam ILL Vision

The "Courage in Sports Awards" is an annual one hour program that will air nationally on CBS November 14th at 2pm PST and 5pm EST. The show will honor and profile athletes who have demonstrated exceptional courage, character, and perseverance in the face of great challenges in order to succeed in their chosen sport.
Past honorees have included professional athletes like former Olympic gold medalist Muhammad Ali, 7-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong, and current MLB All-Star Josh Hamilton. But, the heart of the program lies in the stories that Team ILL Visionoften pass us by and go untold each year. From individual athletes and coaches, to teams and organizations, these unique stories possess the rare ability to inspire hope in ways that few others can.
Intersport Productions was looking for a some of the best wingsuit pilots in the world when they called Ed Pawlowski of WestCoast Wingsuits , and Team Ill Vision fit the roll 100%.
Team Ill Vision will be an abstract element in the show, somewhat helping tie the show Team ILL Visiontogether. Shooting the preparation, the ascent, the jump itself, the flight, and the landings are all of what they were looking for.
In the program Team Ill Vision explains an encompassing story arc of what it is to overcome a fear and persevere.
We hope you enjoy the show!

Team ILL Vision

Team ILL Vision

Team ILL Vision
Team ILL Vision
Team ILL Vision
Team ILL Vision

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Wingsuiting the North West Coast Terminal Cliff

Team Ill Vision members and friendsBy Damien Dykman

Summer's too hot? What about those mountains up North of the West coast to get a little fresh air? Four of us and our close friend Arnel Sanchez decided to go for a quick weekend trip before the end of the season. Not the perfect place for a first wingsuit BASE, but decent enough given his experience wingsuiting and BASE jumping. With Tom and Bill, two friendly locals, we had a good crew going.

Saturday, the weather was great. Low winds, cloud patches. Perfect conditions for Arnel's attempt. But first, you have to earn it with a healthy hike. From 3 years ago, I had remembered it as a mellow 2 hr hike...

Well, at least it wasn't too hot. Perfect hiking conditions. At the exit point, Bill and Tom opened the game by a sweet 2-way to show the visitors how it's done. Brian, Jimmy and Dingo followed with a red & purple 3-way, so that they could shoot ground footage of Arnel's first.

Dingo, Jimmy and Brian exiting with their wingsuits
I could feel a bit of tension, but mainly concentration. He was ready to do it. Last radio contact with the boys at the bottom to make sure the cameras were rolling. Arnel did a powerful push that got him flying almost immediately. He took a nice conservative line, carving right towards the dry part of the lake where we land. What a great smile he had on his face after landing, walking towards the rest of the group!

After a quick hike back to the car, we went for a great lunch in the local post office / grocery store / hardware store / restaurant. From the campers hanging out on the lake People to the local shop owners, everybody seemed so nice and friendly.

We took a digestive hJimmy from Team Ill Visionike... back to the exit point. That one felt even longer... but again, it was worth it! Though, we had to wait for maybe an hour for the fog layer to clear before being able to jump.

The following day, conditions weren't as cooperative. Good thing there's a small cliff in the vicinity. And what a good excuse to relax instead of going for a long hike again!

To end-up the weekend, our buddy Doug and 2 of his friends took us for a night bungee jumping session from a 200+ ft local bridge. Super quick to set everything up. How do you get back up? Well, what do you think the pickup truck is for? We'll pull from right back on the bridge!