"Do something everyday that scares you". We've all heard this before but let's face it, it's not as easy to do as it sounds. I mean, I scare myself when I look in the mirror every morning, (especially after a long stint on the big stone) does that count? I scare my mother when I tell her I'm climbing the Prophet, but that's not what the advice recommends. It says do something that scares YOU. And it's great advice. We all need to push our boundaries, our context of what's scary, and why it's scary. I'm a firm believer. I've done some scary things in my time, within reason, and they have always helped me in the long run, helped me cope with other situations better and doing scary things makes you realize that fear is an illusion, but you have to do them first to have this realization. Fear has helped me want to push my context even further again. Safely of course. Being scared doesn't mean risking your life either, it can be talking to a girl, starting a business or learning a new sport, risks are all relative. An R or X rated climb that I do may seem risky to someone as an observer, but to me, it's a calculated risk, and when I see someone like a motocross rider hucking 80 foot backflips, I begin to think they are crazy, and maybe they are a little, maybe we all are, a little. but we take these risks incrementally. Pushing our comfort zone, little by little is what helps us stay alive. To FEEL alive is to BE alive.
On that note, Willy and I decided it was time to take a "time out" from Yosemite Valley climbing and try something different. Since we had to pick up a friend in Sacremento, skydiving in Lodi seemed like the most logical idea. Both Will and I have had a growing interest in basejumping, I say interest in that I am interested in it, but not sure it's for me yet. I hope it isn't, but I can't deny the outrageous looking cliffs people are hucking off, and what looks like pure exhilaration.
So, we drove up, payed our money, signed the waiver, got the harness on, met our pilots, flew up to 13000 feet and jumped, all in about 2 hours. We were not scared at all, (although) these pictures are definitely going to suggest otherwise, ha ha ha. We were excited to fly like Dean Potter, even if we have a 200 lbs Hawaiian man strapped to our backs, we were still soaring through the sky.
In the end, Plummeting at Terminal Velocity was an incomparable feeling.
There was a quick stomach leap at the exit point, hence the face, ha ha, then joy of being free and open, then another mild stomach jolt at 4000 feet when they pull the chute, which was more like a bus than a sports car, big and sturdy, and then more joy as you steer down towards the landing zone dropping into spins both left and right.
If you haven't done it, I recommend it, at least once, if you can. It's fun and terrifying in the greatest way, like a rollercoaster, but much more exposed. In the end however, I can't say that it was entirely for me, but I'll let it sink in a bit. I found skydiving wasn't as rewarding as say, climbing up a rock. It was just fun. I'm glad we did it. I'm glad I extended my scope and got scared and excited, and now I am back in the Valley ready to climb again, I missed it. Here, I can scare myself on new terrain, in a different way each day, in a different arena, and on my own steam without a plane. I do this, because it makes me feel very much alive. But each to his own.
Now, sit back and enjoy these hilarious pictures. Five Ten is the Brand of the Brave, and don't you forget it. ha ha ha!