Base Jumping – Brave, selfish or stupid?

As I sit in the comfort of my lounge with my feet up on a bean bag, I’m watching the programme Men Who Jump Off Buildings; I feel physically sick.

These are adrenaline junkies who parachute jump from fixed objects such as buildings, statues or really high mountains and cliffs.

What is Base Jumping?

Base Jumping - Brave, selfish or stupid? 1
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Base jumping in the UK is a secretive sport, often done in the middle of the night to avoid being caught by security and police.  It is not illegal but very often the jumpers can be charged with trespassing.  BASE is an acronym which contains the major groups of objects used in jumping:-

B – Building

A – Antenna

S – Span

E – Earth

The jumper begins by packing their parachute into a closed container, then jumps from their desired object and opens their parachute to stop the fall before gliding to a chosen landing spot.

The lowest “safe” jumps are heights of 100ft, but this depends on the size and weight of the person jumping, because of how quickly they will fall.

Forming my opinion

When I started watching the programme, I thought the men involved (though there were probably women doing it) were basically stupid or slightly unhinged.  Seriously, who in their right minds wants to jump from a building unless its burning or falling in the name of fun?

Then as I got into the programme and saw the preparation and planning which went into each jump, I could see their passion for it, how seriously they take it and saw how brave they must be.

At times they were jumping from sites illegally, after one jump the Police arrived and the jumper said: “I’m going to kill the Pilot, this isn’t the landing ground is it?” This of course highlighted just how bad security is in some places because the jumpers were merely dressing up as security men then walking into buildings (the new Wembley Stadium for instance) before commencing a jump.

It could have been worse

On one jump, the guys’ parachutes opened facing the wrong way and threw him into a wall before he crashed on a roof and broke his ankle badly. After breaking my ankle a few times, this made me feel really queasy.

When they went to Austria and Switzerland where they were jumping from heights over 2000 feet.  On their final day, they decided to do an unscheduled jump and it went wrong again.  The jumper who had previously broken his ankle had another more serious accident.  His parachute cords twisted as it was released meaning that he couldn’t control his parachute.  He landed very badly and was lucky to be alive with two broken ribs, a punctured lung and a badly broken elbow.  A year later he was still not back to full recovery.


Both of the men who the programme featured on were married, though neither had children yet.  Do they think about their partners when they do these jumps? Perhaps their partners are adrenaline junkies too?   I understand that this was probably who they were before they got together with their partners, but what about their families?  Their parents and siblings? We don’t live our lives to please our families, but the interviewer did speak to one mother who said she hated what her son did and was waiting for the fateful call.

When they spoke to one of the women, she was genuinely shocked to hear her husband announce that the thought running through his mind before he jumped was “I could die”, then he laughed (but she didn’t). They will be insured, yes but money doesn’t replace someone you love.

Thankfully, my husband isn’t an adrenaline junkie and would never do anything like this, though accidents can happen any time, any place some people love dicing with death.  So I go back to my original question, are they brave, stupid or selfish? Personally, I think they are a little bit of each; they have bigger balls than me, that’s for sure!!

21 thoughts on “Base Jumping – Brave, selfish or stupid?”

  1. You haven’t researched BASE jumping enough to answer the question of “are they brave, stupid or just downright selfish?”, nor to ask it in my opinion. Watching one television program does not provide enough knowledge on the sport for someone to make a blanket social commentary. “Everybody dies, but not everybody lives.” Living a life of fulfilling your passions with no regrets is brave, but far from stupid or selfish.

    • Thank you for your comment but actually I didn’t ‘just’ watch a programme I read three sites on the sport too. If you read the post again you will see that the post is a question designed to ask others opinions on the sport. My opinion is that they are all of those things as is the case in most extreme sports but that is just my opinion and one that I am entitled to have – clearly why i’m happy sitting on my bum doing crafts and playing with my children. The main jumper on the programme said himself that he considers it stupid and selfish at times because of the effect on his family but still he loved to do it.

      • I would appreciate knowing which three sites you read on BASE jumping where they lead you to your opinion. True you are entitled to your opinion. There are those who would consider bringing a child into an overpopulated troubled world selfish and stupid as well, but don’t necessary make social commentary to their annoyance with the offending individuals.

        •, and – clearly you are a Basejumping fan which is great for you but you still fail to understand that my post is asking a question “are they brave, stupid or selfish” – you are in the Brave camp. The jumper on the programme thought he was actually quite stupid and selfish. My opinion is mine and mine alone, I was asking for other peoples thoughts on the sport – so far on my blog and on twitter you seem to be the only person who finds my post offensive, probably because my posts are mainly read by family orientated people. The idea of a blog is a place to air your thoughts and feelings, to write about whatever your heart desires – if someone wants to read it and comment then that’s brilliant. I appreciate your comments even though you have taken my post somewhat to heart.
          Bearing in mind that my blog is mainly about being a parent I think its safe to say that you won’t be visiting me again as you won’t be wanting to join in my selfish stupidity at overpopulating the world. I guess we could all just stop having children then there will be no mankind to throw ourselves off tall buildings and everyone will be happy!

  2. Both of those last things! Stupid and selfish! (I’m going to add on suicidall!)

  3. There is no denying these guys are absolutely stupid in my opinion, jumping off a bulding! Pah! never! lol. Other things yes, that NO!
    I personally couldnt be with someone that did that, I couldnt let myself fall in love with someone who might kill themselves doing something they love. A forum I belong to called 28days later which is about urban exploring also features alot of base jumpers and there was a great deal of discussion over a death very close to christmas of a base jumper in Sweden I think it was. Ultimtaley people have and will die doing this sport but clearly it doesnt stop them!

    • Thank you, I think that is a very worthwhile comment. Some people seem very upset by my post but if we all had the same thoughts and opinions it would be a boring world. At the end of the day, if people want to jump off buildings then the comment of a couple of Mums isn’t going to stop them either.

  4. My concern is about the medical side of this. Who pays the bills for these people when they injure themselves??? The NHS cannot give many cancer patients life saving drugs so why should it fund healthcare for injured idiots???

      • For someone who claims to not have any intentions of offending, your ignorance is showing again.
        “How very true, but they don’t think/care about things like that!”
        Giving answers to questions you know nothing about. If you truly read the three forum sites you claimed to have, you would know that their is jumpers insurance and that you must also purchase a search and rescue card when jumping in Switzerland.
        I wasn’t having an off day, I was merely shocked that in this day and age anyone could be so ignorant to say that they were “annoyed and physically ill” at the site of another person participating in a sport.
        With all the murder, hungry, rape, war, death and destruction taking place in this world, you take time out of your precious life to make quips about people who enjoys sports. People who travel the globe, whom are far more understanding of other cultures for doing so, who work towards preserving the environment and to top it off don’t take time to sit around on the sofa rotting their brains and bodies as they watch television and judge others via the internet.
        You have no idea what BASE jumping is, yet you continue with your uneducated comments as if you understand and then scoff what does a couple mummies opinions matter. Lady you have that right, the more you comment the value goes down.
        Question should be, “mummymatters is she brave, stupid or selfish?”

  5. I didn’t watch the programme but have watched similar ones in the past and I don’t understand why they would do it, but then I don’t understand why people bungee jump and parachute out of aeroplanes either – because that’s not the sort of person I am. I don’t, however, think they are stupid because they actually plan their jumps and make it the safest they can. Both the accidents you mention were caused by issues that I am assuming can happen with any type of parachuting!
    And for what it’s worth I thought this was a well written post and enjoyed reading, it’s opened up some interesting discussion and in my opinion you don’t have to be an expert on a subject to talk about it – it’s just a shame it seems to have offended some as I know thats never your intention so keep doing what you do! xx

    • Thank you, I think that is a very fair comment and as you say I haven’t done the post to offend anyone. Perhaps they were having an off day!?!? xx

  6. I have no objection to anyone doing extreme sports – whatever floats your boat. And as you say the men in this programme didn’t have children, their partners presumably don’t object so whatever, it’s their life, as long as they’re not putting unnecessary pressure on overstretched emergency services around the world, who cares?
    But what I find hard to understand personally though is how parents can take part in extreme sports, knowing the risks – and they do. The point is that when you become a parent (or at least, a good parent) you have to stop putting yourself first. You have to put someone else first. That’s the deal.
    As far as Cynthia’s comments go – well, the point is this is your blog, you’re entitled to your opinion, so not sure what part of that she’s not getting.

    • Liz read what you wrote, “The point is that when you become a parent (or at least, a good parent) you have to stop putting yourself first.”
      So are you suggesting that parents who participate in high risk sports are not “good parents”? Who decides who is a good parent and who isn’t? You?
      If you smoke, are obese and drink alcohol, but don’t participate in high risk adventures you are a good parent?
      And what kind of drain on the insurance/medical industries is having obese, smoking, alcoholic individuals placing on the the rest of society?
      My point is that if you are going to express an opinion at least have the integrity to research the topic.

  7. Cynthia,
    First, get your facts straight. I’m a journalist and the former Editor of the UK version of Shape magazine. I’m guessing you’ve heard of Shape, right? One of the biggest selling fitness magazines in the US? So I do know my stuff, and I know ALOT about extreme sports.
    As I said, I believe that good parents put their children first. That means not doing anything that might endanger their lives and shorten their time with them. It doesn’t have to be either or, Cynthia. Whether it’s extreme sports, or drinking or eating themselves into an early grave, or smoking until they’re riddled with cancer – anything which risks leaving their children without them is, in my opinion, downright selfish. Are you really going to argue with me that endangering your life when you know you have children to provide for and care for makes you a good parent? I know you’re biased Cynthia but take a step back for a minute and think about what you’re saying, will you?
    The point is that this is Mummy Matters blog and she’s entitled to her opinion. I’m entitled to my opinion. Let’s agree to disagree and move on – because frankly, ‘lady’, you’re coming across as a bit of a troll.

    • Wow, impressed by yourself much?
      Still doesn’t make you the almighty and worthy of judging who is a good parent and who isn’t? I didn’t realize being an editor qualifies one to set the standards for parenthood. There are some who would say being a working mother makes you selfish. Quality over Quantity.
      You know your stuff? So how many Base jumpers are you friends with, have in your family, buried?
      I was correct before, this is a comedy blog.

  8. Cynthia, you’re either deliberately misunderstanding and misinterpreting comments on this blog in an effort to be contentious, or you simply don’t understand what is being written. Don’t you have anything better to do?

  9. Or perhaps you don’t understand? Oh wait, you know stuff.
    The hypocrisy of some of the comments made on this blog must be a joke. It’s a parenting blog for Mom’s who are so narrow minded they are “annoyed and physically” ill by other human beings, yet can themselves use words such as “stupid and idiots”. Is that what you teach your children, to point at the pierced and tattooed girl with the pink hair and announce, “Is she stupid or what?”
    By all means let’s make social commentary and point out all the “stupid” people in the world who are different in appearance or chose to live their lives differently. The let’s continue to assume we know the answers and perpetuate falsehoods by spreading those misconceptions.
    You know Liz, just because you think you are right, doesn’t make other people wrong.
    Thank you for educating me on what a blog is, what it’s used for, I’ve learned so much from you fine upstanding ladies. I’m sure your children are all just as perfect as you are.
    Actually, I’m done now Liz. Research over, time to write.
    Enjoy your lives in a bubble.

    • Thank you again for your comments, you have definitely turned this into a comedy blog and given us “fine upstanding ladies” a giggle for the evening, such a far cry from our boring “bubble” lives of raising our perfect children.
      Now do excuse me I need to go and sit on my fat ass in front of the TV and find a new programme to write about so I can annoy someone else. Its probably time you took a running jump anyway?

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