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Most thrill-seekers and adventure-travelers are moderately familiar with BASE jumping, the extreme sport that involves a parachuted jump from a fixed object. But did you know that BASE is actually an acronym that stands for the four categories of objects you can jump from: building, antenna, span, and earth?
Although BASE jumping was inspired by skydiving, BASE jumps are made from much lower altitudes and are considered significantly more dangerous. Experts suggest that you gain experience with at least 200 skydives before even trying to BASE jump. BASE jumps can be performed off a mountain, a building, a bridge, or anything that rises high in the air. It gained popularity around 1978 when a Carl Boenish and a group of expert skydivers leaped from El Capitan in Yosemite National Park using standard aircraft skydiving gear and filmed it for the world to see.
This fringe sport is more popular (and legal) in some areas of the world than others, and some tourism regions have recently emerged as premier BASE jumping destinations. Are you brave enough to give it a try? These are some of the craziest BASE jumping travel destinations in the world.
Troll Wall, Norway
Norway has emerged as one of the most popular BASE jumping destinations because it still allows BASE jumpers on many of the fjords. Troll Wall is one of the best places to jump in Norway because it has one of the greatest vertical drops in Europe – 3,600 feet. Since rescuers have had a difficult time reaching jumpers if something goes wrong at The Troll, only very experienced jumpers should attempt this. The mountain has loose rock and is craggy, but jumpers enjoy absolutely stunning landscape views.
The Jin Mao building in Shanghai has become famous for hosting BASE jumping demonstrations in the past. The building played host to the 2004 International BASE Jump Show, and dozens of jumpers have since made the 1,174-foot plunge. To celebrate the Chinese National Day holiday, 37 jumpers from1 5 countries jumped from the tower in 2004. The tower stands 88 stories tall and is known for having high winds.
Angel Falls, Venezuela
If you’re going to BASE jump, why not do it off the tallest waterfall in the world? Located deep in the jungle of Venezuela, Angel Falls boasts a vertical drop of 2,600 feet. Since the falls are located with a national park, you need to obtain a permit to be allowed to jump off. Angel Falls is known to be a particularly difficult and technical BASE jump. To reach the waterfall, you have to travel about seven hours northeast of Lima, which is typically made via 5-hour hike or horseback ride through the jungle
New River Gorge Bridge, West Virginia
Every year in October, jumpers flock to the New River Gorge Bridge in West Virginia to celebrate Bridge Day. This celebration began back in 1980 and has drawn thousands of intrigued spectators each year as well. The bridge stands about 846 feet tall, and a few hundred daredevils jump off every year. The New River Gorge Bridge is the second-highest bridge in the United States, and the area is popular with rappellers, rock climbers, and whitewater rafters as well.
Perrine Bridge, Idaho
Perrine Bridge is a 457-meter bridge that is located above the Snake River in Idaho. This is the only destination in the United States where BASE jumping is legal without a permit. This bridge is great for both BASE jumping students and experienced jumpers. In 2005 a jumper named Miles Daisher set a world record by BASE jumping off Perrine Bridge 57 times in 24 hours. Another jumper, Dan Schilling, jumped 201 times in 21 hours in 2006 to raise money for charity after being hoisted to the top for each jump.
Mount Thor - Baffin Island, Canada
Located inside Auyuittuq National Park on Canada’s Baffin Island, Mount Thor is an impressive peak popular with BASE jumpers. If you’re looking for the greatest purely vertical drop on the planet, you can find it here while falling a distance of 4,101 feet. Mount Thor was first climbed during the Alpine Club of Canada in 1965 and rappelled in 2006.
Empire State Building, New York City
Extending 102 stories into the sky, the Empire State Building has always been one of the most iconic BASE jumping destinations. But as you might expect, BASE jumping off skyscrapers in New York City isn’t exactly legal these days. Although the last person who attempted it was successful, he was issued three years probation, 100 hours community service, and a lifetime ban to the building when his parachute landed.
Burj Khalifa, United Arab Emirates
Expert BASE jumpers are always looking for the next big thing – a taller building, a more rugged mountain, or the most amazing landscape. Two jumpers were allowed to jump off the tallest building in the world, Burj Khalifa, in Dubai in 2010. Nasr Al Nivadi and Omar Al Hegelan set the new world record for the highest BASE jump on this 2,716-foot-tall building, falling at over 136 miles an hour.
KL Tower - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
The World Championship of BASE Jumping takes place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia each year from KL Tower. The event takes place in September, and jumpers are invited to attend a compulsory briefing before either day or night jumps. Applicants will only be considered once they have completed at least 120 BASE jumps, have made at least 20 BASE jumps within the previous 12 months, and have been actively BASE jumping for at least 2 years.