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Dam BASE Jumping - Ellen Brennan

 
Dam BASE Jumping - Ellen Brennan
Dam BASE Jumping - Ellen Brennan
Dam BASE Jumping - Ellen Brennan
Dam BASE Jumping - Ellen Brennan
Dam BASE Jumping - Ellen Brennan
 
January 12, 2013 - 
 

In the winter it is much more difficult to access the big wingsuit jumps, so right now, I am focusing on the lower objects around town. Lately I have been considering jumping a dam, which is not to far from where I live.  But when jumping an object like this, it is best to get some advice from the locals.

Luckily last weekend I met 2 jumpers who live just below this dam! Guillaume and Jonathan knew all the beta on the access, landing, weather... it seems I had found my guides! And it also seemed it was going to be an adventure :)

We chose the best weather day that week, and decided to go for it! Because it is winter, the only way to access this dam is by skinning up to the top. I was super excited to hear this because I have never gone skinning before, and I really wanted to test out my new gear!  Thankfully I was with some pros, and even though they laughed at me-- a lot, they were great at teaching me the best techniques to getting up the mountain.

Once we arrived on top, I had a chance to- for my first time- see the landing area. It is certainly not a beginner jump. The landing area is quite tight, and you are limited on space for setting up a nice landing pattern.  But with all of my experience jumping in Moab, I felt completely confident that I could do this jump.  In fact- I was far more terrified of the hike out that I was of the jump.

The day was very warm, and the snow was becoming very wet and heavy. While we were scouting out everything from the top, including out hike out- we watched 2 decently sized Ice falls right where we needed to cross to get out. The ice was falling down a gully that wasn't too wide, and it had great shelter on either side, so I felt that we would be able to cross this section fairly quickly, limiting our time of exposure.

Once I felt confident that I would be able to conquer all of these obstacles, I geared up, stepped over the fence, took a few deep breaths... and jumped. I love the feeling I get from a low, sider down jump.  Everything happens very quickly- you see the ground below you approaching quickly, and just before it gets too scary, you canopy opens-- Quickly. Then you have about 10 seconds to set up a landing pattern before you reach the snowy landing area and are overwhelmed with a great sense of joy and satisfaction.

The hike out was at some points challenging. The snow was pretty deep, and the terrain was very steep. We passed through two tunnels, one of which was completely snowed in, and we had to break through the snow, digging a hole that was just big enough for us to squeeze through. Then we had to pass the area of the Ice falls. We passed one at a time, while the other two people kept an eye up for ice, and we safely all crossed.

We finally made it back to the top and relaxed with a nice cup of tea. Then, just before the sun set behind the mountains, we put our skis back on and got some fresh powder tracks on our way down.

 
 
Photo credit: Jonathan Volorio- Video
 

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