The Swiss Alps are beautiful at this time of year and the perfect place for being an adventurer, particularly for wingsuit human flight BASE jumping. I’m in the heart of the mountains right now getting current in my wingsuit after a short lay-off over winter. Currency, in this environment, is about staying safe and competent. And, if you want to be the best you can be, it’s absolutely mandatory in any environment.
I’ve based mysely in the Lauterbrunnen Valley, sandwiched between the famous ski resorts of Wengen and Murren. Despite the strength of the Swiss Franc, the slopes are bustling with skiers. I stick out as a different sort of adventurer, one without the hard boots and a board or skis on my feet.
There’s lots of snow here which makes it even more of an adventure. There was a big dump just before I arrived and I’ve been hiking to the exit point with crampons on. My crampons are instep crampons – not the full length versions. They might not give me quite the same grip and I fall, slip and slide more, having to exercise more caution, but they suit my purpose better. I need to be able to wear a crampon under my wingsuit and a full length crampon simply won’t work, so that’s the trade off.
I’ve been jumping from an exit point called the High Nose. It’s about 1,900 feet above the valley floor. That’s high enough for a wingsuit BASE jump with some decent flying time but it’s not one of the ‘big’ jumps out there. It’s an exit point that I’m used to and comfortable with; it’s a great place to re-gain my currency.
On my first couple of jumps I just took it easy. There’s no need to rush into things – this is about currency. I had time to ease back into it. I normally like to fly this jump with a hard line against the rock face, just inches from it. This time I stepped out and pushed it into clear air, feeling the suit inflate and starting to fly. I flew close to the rock but with a much larger margin for error.
Over the next few jumps I worked on my exit, my position , my technique. I eased it closer, gently. I wasn’t flying perfectly but I was getting current and in control enough to do so. I posted an un-cut, un-edited point-of-view video on Facebook of one of the jumps – it’s worth a look.
Part of the jump is the journey. It’s an adventure and part of the adventurist nature of this sport. After the big dump of snow I found myself trail blazing – I knew where I was going but there was no path to follow. At times I was knee deep in snow; sometimes chest deep. It was an epic adventure and absolutely part of an amazing journey.
Over the last few days I’ve achieved my goal. I’ve had some great jumps from the High Nose. I’ve got current, working on my technique. Without a doubt there’s more to do and more to learn- there always will be.
I’m now taking a couple of days out before heading to a higher, more impressive mountain in Italy. I’ll be blogging about that soon.
There’s a couple of pictures of the journey and the jumps below – please click on them and enjoy the show.
Staying current isn’t just about wingsuit BASE jumping. It’s applicable in all parts of life, whatever it is that you do. If you strive to be the best you can be then currency is absolutely, one hundred percent, mandatory.
Question: How do you stay current?