Getting into the world of BASE jumping could easily be considered both the worst and best decision I’ve ever made in life. That being said, I feel extremely happy about the introduction of a new adventure and passion, accepting whatever consequences may come from this choice. One of my defining character traits is that I love and appreciate life for all its dramas, both the ups and downs, and I do my best to fully accept all spectrums of the experience. With this new chapter, I’m hoping to experience unique elevated perspectives and explore greater opportunities for world travel, community bonding and gain a better understanding of my mind and gravity. Although obvious before every jump, there exists the lingering reality of femurs shattering, friends cratering and life expectancies being cut short. As terrible as that may sound, I fully understand there are no guarantees in this sport, which accurately describes the very nature of what ‘living’ has come to mean for me over the years… I wouldn’t define myself as an adrenaline junkie by any means, although I do embrace the natural high from time to time, but the real reward and conquest is in overcoming your fear and celebrating the minds ability to push through hard circumstances. Accepting your potential fate while on the edge of a cliff, bridge, building, etc. and distilling it all down to a fast paced moment of focused flight feels incredibly liberating and freeing from a culture that insists on safety nets, insurance policies and supposed guarantees. The sensation of falling and being saved by your own canopy is all very fleeting and a matter of trust, so it reminds me of a condensed lesson in a greater appreciation for the life experience. To make the best of the adventure and enjoy every passing moment no matter how short or prolonged it can be!
Joey California pulling low for a water landing
What I can say confidently so far about this new reality shift is the over all experience of momentary flight and relaxation is absolutely unparalleled to anything I’ve yet endeavored in my 28 years of living. The free-fall in space is mind blowing, the sound and feeling of air rushing past your body exhilarating, and the quiet canopy flight pure joy; adding to the delicious icing layer of this mouth watering cake. In pondering other methods to get my adventure fix, maybe crack-cocaine would have been a better life choice for a multitude of reasons… I’m sure the the longer high would comparatively outweigh the heavy repercussions of potentially ending your life so quickly, but somehow smoking from a glass pipe and having rotten teeth seems a less glamorous and more dangerous decision at this particular junction… Anyway, I stray from the points at hand so let me bring it back to the present. As a new jumper in this sport, I respect the learning curve and am staying highly aware of my own intuition and comfort levels. This honesty has rarely led me astray in perilous situations so I’m hoping to maintain a consistent ‘on heading performance’ with this mind set throughout the journey.
Moments before a 5 front flip TARD aerial
Often around this time of year I find it pretty difficult to stay indoors for too long, let alone commit energy to being on my computer regularly. Once the birds begin chirping again, the sun shines high in the sky and the psyche becomes contagious amongst friends, sitting in front of a digital screen seems a daunting task when countless adventures beckon from outside. Despite procrastinating interweb updates, I assure you life has been extremely active and fruitful for the past many weeks. Since returning to U.S. soil from 5 weeks in the southern hemisphere, many projects have been accomplished in Moab as the Monkeys continue pushing the limits of extreme shenanigans with every passing day. The high standard of desert adventure has expanded exponentially with a slew of new awesome projects going down! Amongst them; a new tower highline was established and walked (the 25th of its kind in Moab), an 80 meter rope swing was pioneered and jumped, the Colorado River was slacklined across during a spectacular white water rafting/climbing trip, a new revolutionary space-station was invented for BASE jumping, tent lounging and other forms of chilling (see photos), and lastly I began working as the assistant cameraman in the making of a new climbing movie (with Chuck Fryberger Films). These examples represent the tip of the iceberg for all the Moab Monkeys, as we’ve recently been doing more professional shoots and televised performances abroad and in the states. In short, the PSYCHE dial has steadily been cranked up to 11, with few moments of rest between rigging and de-rigging projects constantly. The proud resume goes on but in keeping this post short and sweet, so as to get outside sooner than later, I’ve provide some visual evidence of said shenanigans to explain what my words cannot… I only expect life to continue raging with this momentum through the coming hot months, as we all collectively plot and scheme new ways to push the limits of outdoor adventure. Stay tuned for new updates along the way, it’s sure to be a bumpy and exciting ride!
- Screen Grab by Kyle Berkompas of Chuck Fryberger Films
Few words, more images…
Urban Jungle Highline: As the last week of our trip slowly comes to an end, the team was able to get permission to walk between two apartment buildings in downtown Niteroi as part of a Brazilian TV show. This projects was a test of creative rigging in an unfamiliar terrain of concrete structures and constant noise. The rooftop scenery from this line was incredible and represents, for many of us on the Moab Monkeys team, our first urban highline.
Andy Lewis walking between buildings in Niteroi.
New addition to downtown Niteroi’s urban scenery
18 stories above the concrete abyss
Marcio Cardoso getting the first Brazilian crossing of Niteroi’s new urban highline
Ezequiel Ruete taking in the noisy exposure of the urban setting
Improvised and creative rigging in the urban environment
Return to Tartaruga: The crew returned to walk Tartaruga Sinistra and Scott, Andy and I were proudly able to establish the first 3 walks of this 47 meter long beast. Many of the local Brazilians gave their best to it and will be returning soon with vengeance in mind.
Scott Rogers getting his send on the longest highline in Brazil, weighing in at 47 meters long and very exposed.
Andy Lewis getting the POV GoPro shot for our video edits to come
Allan Pinheiro walking amongst the clouds
Week three in Brazil is coming to an end and the Moab Monkeys met up with “Lucky” Luke and some other Brazilian BASE jumpers to explore the urban jungle of Rio de Janeiro. This week’s episode includes some building BASE action and some new highlines above downtown Niteroi. The buildings will go unnamed, as frankly we don’t even know what they’re called. The two highlines shown include the “Sweat Shop” at 17m, established by Allan Pinheiro a few years ago, and “Sol Opressor” which is a new line in the 45-50m range. Enjoy this week’s episode and keep your eyes out for more! The Monkeys have one more week in Brazil and we’re preparing for our biggest project yet!
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The Moab Monkeys have officially launched the first video edit from our adventures in Brazil, and it’s scheduled to be one of many more coming your way! Scott Rogers and I are excited to be extensively documenting this experience, in picture and video format, so that the rest of you can hopefully be inspired by our actions and give some support to our monkey missions by watching, subscribing and sharing the YouTube channel. In the first week of our highlining and BASE jumping expedition in the southern hemisphere, we’ve been raging around with the awesome locals here and completing many adventurous pursuits. Amongst them, we repeated the Classic Gavea Stone highline, which was established by wingsuit/BASE professional Hugo Langel Van Erven in 2006, and we also opened a new highline atop the Four Summits above the city. The line was entitled “Brazilian BBQ” in the end and was successfully rigged and walked in a loose fashion due to the sketchy anchors we had to utilize… Andy Lewis got the first walk and I followed in step with the second crossing. It was established on all natural anchors, on one side using a sturdy tree on the edge of a cliff and a bush/shrubbery slowly ripping from the hillside (backed up 4 times to sturdy foliage for redundancy sake). This line was positioned in a beautiful location with the city of Rio in the backdrop and the beautiful salty ocean alongside it. The statue of Jesus could also be seen from the line in addition to other famous landmarks such as the Sugarloaf and other noteworthy natural and urban features. More ideal anchors would have of course been preferred, but when adventure rigging in the hot and humid jungle by steep rocky cliffs, beggars can’t be choosers. You ultimately take what Mother Nature gives you and hope for the best, backing up all your anchor points the best you can.
In addition to all the balanced feats accomplished so far, such as the waterline near Favela da Vidigal and highlines on Pedra da Gavea, Andy Lewis, Scott Rogers and Hugo have been BASE jumping from various points atop the 2,800 foot tall granite monolith almost everyday. This trip so far has been action packed and the Moab Monkeys are proudly raging hard! Watch the video to get a better idea about what we’re doing down south and the creative pursuits we’ve been pursuing. Andy’s impromptu BASE landing is sure to make you laugh and sigh with relief… Hope you enjoy the short film, please subscribe to us at Moab Monkeys on Facebook for progressive updates on the trip and of course to our YouTube channel which is sure to flourish as missions get bigger and Brazil gets hotter.