How dangerous is BASE jumping?

If you’re an adrenaline “junkie”, you’re always looking for new adventures to get that rush. Maybe you started out as a runner, and did a fair number of races, but then it just became boring after a while. Or maybe you like to go skiing during the winter, and then you adapted to it and that became boring too.

One of the ultimate “highs” is to jump from an airplane. I haven’t done it yet, but I hear its an amazing feeling.

Arguably even more extreme than sky diving is BASE jumping, which involves jumping off of tall buildings, antennas, spans, and earth. If the BASE jumper starts from a high enough altitude, they may even use a wing-suit to fly their way down toward earth before parachuting. Some sky-divers do this too.

As incredibly fun as these activities are, how dangerous are they?

According to Stavanger University Hospital, Norway, in How dangerous is BASE jumping?


During an 11-year period, a total of 20,850 jumps (median, 1,959; range, 400-3,000) resulted in 9 fatal (0.04% of all jumps; 1 in every 2,317 jumps) and 82 nonfatal accidents (0.4% of all jumps; 1 in every 254 jumps). Accidents increased with the number of jumps (r=0.66; p=0.007), but fatalities did not increase, nor did activation of helicopter or climbers in rescue (p>0.05). Helicopter activation (in one-third of accidents) in rescue correlated with number of accidents (r=0.76, p=0.007), but not climbers. Postmortem examination (n=7) of fatalities revealed multiple, severe injuries (Abbreviated Injury Scale score>or=3) sustained in several body regions (median, Injury Severity Score 75; range, 23-75). Most nonfatal accidents were related to ankle sprains/fracture, minor head concussion, or a bruised knee.


BASE jumping appears to hold a five- to eightfold increased risk of injury or death compared with that of skydiving. The number of accidents and helicopter activation increases with the annual number of jumps. Further analysis into the injury severity spectrum and associated hospital burden is required.

This seems extremely dangerous. Far more dangerous than anything I do. I wonder to what degree does the death-defying aspect make this “fun”. If somehow the danger was removed from BASE jumping would it make the sport less fun for some people?

If anyone reading this has tried BASE jumping or sky-diving, please tell us about your experiences.

6 responses to “How dangerous is BASE jumping?

  1. I jumped out of airplanes 11 times. I sprained my ankle once. Of the 11 jumps, about 5 were a crazy rush; and, because I didn’t do it often enough, the last 6 were terrifying. On all of them I felt great afterward for the accomplishment and I really liked how quiet it was floating through the sky. But honestly, after a few decades of ruminating, those last 6 that were terrifying did some damage. I get sweaty hands whenever I fly, even in commercial flights. You might want to start with the sky diving and go from there….have fun!

  2. Thanks for your comments! I’m not surprised that an adventurer like you has gone sky-diving many times. Sorry about your ankle, I hope it is all better. You are inspirational. Sky-diving seems like an amazing experience. Any advice for overcoming fear for those new to sky-diving?

  3. Reblogged this on Sykose and commented:
    Great read on why we do what we do..

  4. Yes, to overcome fear of sky-diving, like just about anything else, requires frequent activity and exposure. With each new jump you not only get better, but relaxed and comfortable. Have fun!

  5. As an extreme sports “junky” the feeling of doing dangerous activities gives a person an incredibly unique rush. I have completed just over 30 skydives, 5 of which were solo jumps and the experience is like none other. Skydivers and base jumpers know that there is risks associated with what they are doing but the rush for many is just to high. With many of the worlds best BASE jumpers dying over the last few years such as Shane Mcconkey and most recently Mark Sutton shows that for many the perceived reward outweighs the associated risks

    • I have no problem whatsoever with people doing these activities so long as they are aware of the risks. Fortunately, it seems just about all of them are.

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