Let’s start this post off with some conversions, to make sure those of you that like to do math the hard way can be in on exactly how damn ridiculously tiny this hole in the wall is:
Roughly 2.6 meters translate to roughly 8.5 feet.
Not a whole lot bigger than the wingspan of a wingsuiter flying through, huh?!
The exact measurement is approximate, since the ancient measuring technique of eyeballing it with the aid of a walking stick has not been calibrated to complete satisfaction. Regardless of units used, we can all agree that the area in that rock face that is without rock, is of the itty-bitty variety. For wingsuiting purposes at least.
Italian BASE jumper Uli Emanuele prepared long and hard for this particular jump – over three years in the making. In general he focuses his BASE endeavors on finding places that have not been jumped before and searching out new terrain for flight lines.
This kind of jumping is certainly not for everyone and the margin for error is absolutely tiny. In recent years we have covered quite a few proximity flight related deaths. We are glad this one had a happy ending, and that we can gawk over this spectacular footage knowing that Uli landed softly near cuddly alpacas (or are they llamas?), in stark contrast to the adrenaline riddled jump itself.
There has certainly been some discussion in the community about wether this is a good idea at all, and the motivation behind it. Is it fame? Glory? The ultimate in human flight? Overcoming fears? Plain stupid? Is it giving wingsuit BASE a bad name or is it an incredible display of what a person can accomplish when he or she is willing to prepare and work hard?
I don’t know. I suspect there is no easy, simple answer. I am duly impressed though, and wish Uli a long, safe and happy life chasing his dreams, on his own terms. And now I’m going to watch the video for the 38th time, because that music and the visuals are just incredible.