5 reasons why people jump off tall things for fun

Dr. Omer Mei-Dan, an orthopedic surgeon at the University of Colorado-Denver, is one of the few to actually conduct scientific studies about the sport. Mei-Dan looks at mortality rates and whether there is something mentally different about those who find plummeting like a brick a fun pastime.

What makes Mei-Dan unique is that he’s a BASE jumper, as well, which is kind of mind-blowing since the discipline of medicine seems so far from the perceived craziness of taking a flying leap.

His investigations underline the danger of the sport. Here’s the sobering conclusion of one of his studies:

  • “Almost all active BASE jumpers witnessed the death or severe injury of another BASE jumper. Although direct comparison with other sports is difficult, we believe the results of this study suggest that BASE jumping may be the most dangerous extreme sport.”

Given all that, here are the five top reasons BASE jumpers say they do what they do:

5. It’s cheaper than skydiving

You don’t need a plane and since you have no emergency chute, you save money on your rig. (That being said, the training required to become a BASE jumper is not cheap).

BASE jumper Fred Fugen, from Red Bulls Soul Flyers team, leaps from Torontos 1,815-foot lt;a href=quot;http://www.cnn.com/2013/10/03/world/cn-tower-fast-facts/quot;gt;CN Tower lt;/agt;in May.Andy Lewis jumps from the 900-foot-tall Titan Tower, the highest of the Fisher Towers, in October 2014.French jumper Vince Reffet leaps from the 920-foot-tall open deck of the Kuala Lumpur Tower during the annual International Tower Jump in September 2013.Russian extreme-sports star Valery Rozov jumps off the north face of Mount Everest in May 2013. He leapt from an altitude of 23,687 feet, according to Red Bull, which sponsored the event.Australian Chris McDougall jumps from the top of Al Hamra Towerlt;stronggt; lt;/stronggt;-- approximately 1,355 feet high --lt;stronggt; lt;/stronggt;in March 2013.Cedric Dumont jumps from the top of Perus Gocta in August 2012.A BASE jumper descends from the Baling River Bridge in Anshun, China, in July 2012. Thats when China held its first-ever BASE jumping event from the suspension bridge, which is considered one of the highest in the world.Fred Fugen, Vince Reffet and Jean-Phi Teffaud enjoy a March 2012 jump in Les Gorges de la Bourne, a canyon formed by the Bourne River in southeastern France.Valery Rozov prepares for landing after a wingsuit jump from the Grand Pilier dAngle, a nearly 14,000-foot-tall buttress on the southern side of Mont Blanc in July 2011.Cedric Dumont jumps off the Avaz Twist Tower in August 2008, shortly after its construction that same year.Gary Connery jumps off the London Eye Ferris wheel in November 2006.Years before lt;a href=quot;http://www.cnn.com/2012/10/14/us/skydiver-record-attempt/index.htmlquot;gt;his historic 2012 space jumplt;/agt;, Austrian daredevil Felix Baumgartner lept from the arm of the 98-foot-talllt;stronggt; lt;/stronggt;Christ the Redeemer statue in December 1999.  01 base jumping landmarks RESTRICTED02 base jumping landmarks03 base jumping landmarks04 base jumping landmarks05 base jumping landmarks06 base jumping landmarks07 base jumping landmarks08 base jumping landmarks09 base jumping landmarks10 base jumping landmarks11 base jumping landmarks RESTRICTED12 base jumping landmarks RESTRICTED

4. Great friends and awesome parties!

BASE jumpers are a small, tight-knit group like no other. It’s a “here today, gone tomorrow” thing, enhancing the friendships and, of course, the parties. There is an unwritten rule that a BASE jumper’s couch is always open to another BASE jumper.

3. You get to fly like Superman

Utilizing what’s called a ram-air design and Bernoulli’s principle, most wingsuits are designed to create lift, slowing the BASE jumper’s downward plummet to 30 mph but creating forward speeds of 300 mph or faster. That’s a fancy way of saying they allow you to fly like Superman.

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2. A different way of thinking

Scientific studies have found BASE jumpers score much lower on the HA scale (harm avoidance) — a feature that prevents most of us from jumping off a cliff.

….And the No. 1 reason BASE jumpers say they go over the edge…

1. It’s so darn peaceful!

That first step off the edge is a doozie — but it’s also almost completely silent. Marta Empinotti — one of the world’s pre-eminent BASE jumpers — describes it this way: “Once you step off, nothing in the world matters. I think that is the only time you are 100% free.”

Jump out of a plane and you’re instantly blasted by wind and noise. But BASE jumpers say the first few seconds are astoundingly peaceful, describing the overall experience as almost spiritual.

So after reading this, if you want to add BASE jumping to your bucket list, go ahead. But you might just want to put it last.

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