Friday, July 10, 2009

Team ILL Vision Goes to Switzerland

Recently, I travelled to Switzerland on a mission from Marty at Asylum Designs. First order of business, deliver a new logo Seven to Ueli Gegenschatz, a Swiss Red Bull jumper . And second, jump the hell out of the new Feather, a lightweight version of the Seven from Marty.
After a short train ride from Zurich I arrived in Lauterbrunnen in the Swiss Alps near Interlaken. Lauterbrunnen is surrounded by cliffs ranging from 1,000 to 2,000 feet. Easy access to the cliffs from trams and trains make it a haven for BASE jumpers from all over the world and tourists as well for the magnificent scenery. I quickly met up with Ueli at the Horner pub, and after excitedly hooking up his new canopy he invited me for a jump and off we went. Less than a day in Switzerland and already jumping a sweet 2,000 ft cliff!
Over the next 12 days I jumped as much as possible,making fifty jumps total. The weather slowed me down a few days, but I quickly made up for it as soon as it cleared again. I did over thirty jumps on the Feather, which performed even better than we had expected, and the rest on Seven. Both canopies have a monster flare, extremely slow sink rate, and long glide. As I did more jumps, what amazed me most was the consistency and how easy it is to control the opening speed, even with spectra lines on the Feather. The quick deployments were planned, and soft buttery ones are easy to achieve by rolling the nose more.
All the jumps were amazing, but the two that stand out are a jump from the Eiger, and my final jump of the trip. I was invited up the Eiger by Julien Boulle and Geraldine Fasnacht, both very experienced wingsuit jumpers in town for the Nissan Outdoor Games . We made our way up and around ice covered rock and waited three hours for clouds to clear, time spent talking, laughing, and thinking about jumping through the clouds rather than finding our way back down. Finally the clouds cleared and we quickly jumped. We flew together down through whispy layers of clouds that melded with patches of snow on the alpine below. One of those dream jumps that still gives me shivers when I think about it.
The last few days Avery, Jhonny, and I spent jumping as a team working on flying together, and getting good photos and video. The jumps were great, and we had a great time cruising around the valley looking for mischief and tagging cow bells with Ill Vision stickers.
We finished up the last day with a jump from klettesteig or via ferratta, named for the steel ladder that you climb down to the exit point, and on the advice of a local went to a restaurant at the end of the valley where we feasted on traditional Vienna Schnitzel.
Avery and I had to get up early to catch our flight, but as I was packing the nearly full moon was shining on one of the walls above. The serpent was hungry and I grabbed my rig and ran for the train to Wengen. After reaching the exit I sat for a long time smoking a cigar and gazing into the valley below. The moonlight lit the waterfalls pouring into the valley silver, and the snow covered glaciers at the end of the valley glowed. One of the many amazingly beautiful sights I have been lucky enough to see since starting this sport. The jump was surreal, I relaxed and watched the wall in the moonlight accelerate past and flew out over the valley pulling high to enjoy the view on my last jump of the trip.

Ren Huschle

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