Thursday, July 23, 2009
Friday, July 10, 2009
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.
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Asylum brought out demos of their new canopies, the Seven and the Feather. Everyone was stoked jumping newly designed canopies at will.
If I leave anyone out, forgive me it's been over a week now.
Everyone who showed up was treated to free boat rides and a dinner or lunch from Team ILL Vision's Avery Badenhop who coordinated the teams event.
I believe the Asylum group, including Blake, Nikki and Chris and others took over eight students to their own edge for first time BASE jumps. And, continued to jump as hard as they could for the entire time, learning to pack and progressing on their instructor laid out skill sets. Fun to watch and be a part of their challenge and triumphs. Nothing like watching a first timer make that commitment to actually jump. The energy is hard to describe and easy to get caught up in. Happy.
The more seasoned jumpers were insatiable and hiked to the top forgoing the boat ride in favor another quicky. Many jumps were made on an unpacked parachute. The "Unpacked Parachute Jump" method ends the days of that annoying packing. We can all thank Shane McConkey for eliminating the tired and worrisome experience of having to pack.
It was an excellent celebration of summer as July 4th approached. Visiting jumpers just showing up for some BASE jumps rotated through the weekend. At one point I know I counted more then 30 BASE jumpers.
The locals were in full force as well. Some of the locals who showed up were Abbie from Spatual Rigging and Snake River Skydiving, Sean, Tanner and Holly.
Also making an appearance from France, please meet Matt Gerdes and Liv Sansoz. Two rock star celebrities from France. Keeping a low profile with Matt totally dedicated to teaching Liv to BASE jump. These two are a hard core adrenaline duo. Just check out their web pages. You think we live it up?
It was a great time had by all complete with plentiful jumping and an abundance of friendship. A nice summer reunion back to the roots of what we do, JUMP!
From Team ILL VISION, Thanks to everyone for all the smiles and good times.
I was going to upload some pics but there are just too many. To see a whole bunch in just 3.5 minutes, put your earphones in, close your imaginary cubicle door closed and check out the slide show below.
Make sure to check out Harry's facebook profile and The Teams Facebook profile and Tag yourself and your friends.
To see ALL the photos check out the Gallery over 400 in all. I'm sure there is one of you in here.
Comments are greatly appreciated.
Jimmy's network never seems to stop growing.
This last trip to the Potato bridge, post coming soon, Jimmy brought a bunch of new helmets from a buddy in the water, snow sports industry. A company Call SHRED READY!
Again, more hard core adrenaline junkies working together.
The lids worked and looked great. Low profile, not in the way of anything and even came with a small sun visor lip that was barely noticeable but did truly keep the sun out your eyes. Sure to be a hit with the BASE jumping crowd.
Check out Jimmy's quick write up here, has pictures too!
Rock On Jimmy! Team ILL VISION hopefully will be styling these new lids on our next adventure!
Thursday, July 2, 2009
Photos: Will Viktora
For many Thanksgiving is reminiscent of gathering with family, over eating and watching college football. For several members of Team ILL Vision a unique tradition has taken shape in recent years. Due to the great distances that separate us from our families, a new destination has quickly become the norm – Moab, Utah. With an amazing landscape decorated with red cliffs not governed by the National Park System, this place has a reputation for being a BASE jumper’s paradise.
As were preparing for our annual pilgrimage to the desert last Thanksgiving, I received a call from long-time friend, Seth Warren. For the past few years Seth has been working on a project called "Oil & Water" and his on-going mission has been to educate the world about renewable energy sources and ultimately reduce society’s reliance on petroleum. He's driven from Alaska to the tip of South America in a 1987 Japanese fire truck powered by vegetable oil sharing his message with countless school groups and politicians. The underlying theme of this leg focused on the value and importance of water in the natural environment, which foreshadowed the "Nature Propelled" theme of their next big trip, now well underway.
This second phase of the journey shifted focus from the rivers to the sky where "air" took center stage. After a week of filming with hang glider pilots near the Grand Canyon, Seth was looking for a finale to this segment before moving on to the next. At this point fellow Team ILL Vision member, Damien Dykman, Frenchman Arnaud C., and myself joined the party. What followed were 3 entertaining days of bouncing down the back roads of Moab in the fire truck and BASE jumping from many of the area’s most classic cliffs.
A second movie including this and other airborne, palm-sweating footage is in the works and is scheduled to debut in early 2010. The “Nature Propelled” film documents Seth’s journey, the people he encountered, the relationship these sports have with the overall health of the earth, and the responsibility we all share as inhabitants of a fragile natural environment.
For all you of on Facebook you can check out the trailer of their upcoming film here at Elements Tour.