Tandem BASE Jump Experience – Kyli Briscoe
Fear is the obvious feeling to have as you prepare to base jump hundreds of feet off a bridge, but that was not my experience. I felt nothing but anticipation.
Once I had signed my contract, Dave Helton led me over to the Perrine Bridge, where we did a short interview and took some photos with the Snake River Canyon behind me. With my family following us, cameras at the ready, we followed the steps onto the bridge and out to nearly the midpoint.
I looked over the railing at the Snake River stretching below, and the “landing zone” off to the side of it. The people paddling along in neon kayaks were barely recognizable from the height.
I just kept repeating the landing process in my head, which Dave had explained earlier. Grab the harness. Lift the legs. Brace for landing.
Dave set up his jumping contraption, “The Beast”, which allows a direct jump from above the railing, as opposed to an awkward climbing-over-the-railing-while-attached-to-another-person situation. (It also makes the jump a few feet higher, so the initial drop lasts longer!)
Again, he ran me through the whole process and explained everything as he checked all the safety mechanisms. We climbed up the steps of The Beast and Dave did one more check to ensure everything was securely in place and ready for jumping.
This whole time I was faced away from the railing with Dave behind me as a barrier to drop behind us. When the time finally came, we slowly turned 180 degrees.
That was the moment I felt real, actual fear.
I was suddenly staring into the endless empty air between me and the canyon floor. There was no railing, no barrier, and hundreds and hundreds of feet to the ground.
Because Dave is smart and knew that we were at the point of no return, he didn’t give me much time to think. He asked if I was ready and began to count down. We leaned forward and my feet left the platform and then we were falling.
I don’t remember screaming or kicking my legs, but according to the video, that is exactly what I did. For approximately four seconds the thrill of freefall grasped me, and then the parachute released and we were flying.
We glided above the river in some of the most surreal moments of my life. I’ve been to the canyon hundreds of times, but it took on a whole new perspective from that point of view. For the next minute of our landing, I was in complete awe.
Once we landed and unhooked from our harnesses, we made the hike back up the canyon. I couldn’t stop smiling the entire way back. The combination of adrenaline and pride in my accomplishment had me feeling like I could take on the world.
I can’t wait for the next time I Base Jump the Bridge.
If you’re interested in having a similar jump to me, check out Dave Helton’s website, Base Jump The Bridge. Not only is Dave a super fun guy, he does his best to make sure that you are comfortable and secure through the whole process. I highly recommend a jump with him for an unforgettable experience!