Saturday, March 28, 2009

Ninja Night Highline

Said and I had the awesome idea to go set up a highline at night, and pretend we were ninjas. It would have worked out well, but there were added elements of the incoming blizzard (which dumped 15 inches of snow throughout the course of that night and the next day) and the night time environment, and the fact that I was rigging up the line by myself. It went flawlessly though. I was able to get the line up and tensioned in about an hour, with an extra 10 minutes for tightening. Then it was walkin time! Said crushed it, a noble send for his 4th highline ever, and walked there and back performing many tricks. Larkin also showed up with some big lights so that we could paint the rock with light and get some cool photos. It was a really great time, and even though I left Boulder to rig after a full day of work, I still got home before my normal bedtime. Alright!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

My first tandem skydive!

Nearly a year and a half since my first skydive, I received the opportunity to participate in a tandem skydive. I had never done one before (as I went right into AFF for my first jump), and it was a bit scary.

My friend Boyd just got his tandem instructor rating (congrats dude) and one of the many requirements for this rating is to take 10 practice tandem jumps, 5 of which must be with other experienced skydivers. I met the 100 jump minimum for the ride-along, so Boyd and I geared up and headed to the plane. I rarely get on a plane without a skydiving rig anymore (even when I'm traveling I usually bring my parachute as a carry-on for the cool dropzones in different parts of the country) and it was a little nerve racking to have neither a helmet nor a parachute while getting on the jump plane. But the fear soon subsided as Boyd strapped in my harness and we jumped out of the plane. It was a short freefall, and very sluggish because of the drogue which sits above the tandem group to keep them stable and to slow the falling speed to an agreeable amount (without the drouge a tandem group can easily reach speeds of 200 miles per hour). When you pull the parachute (which simply releases the drogue and uses it as a pilot chute to deploy the main) you go back into freefall for a bit, as the drogue falls away and you accelerate for a bit before the main comes out. It was fun, but unexpected. After that, it was a nice long canopy flight to the ground, where we landed safe and sound.

So for anyone considering doing a tandem jump, do it! It was a lot of fun, and not as scary as I'd imagined. It is a great way to experience skydiving and I'm even more excited about jumping now. Thanks again Boyd for the sweet experience.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Fun Skydiving

I've been in a skydiving phase lately. Pretty much every ounce of free time that I have is spent studying for class or heading to the drop zone. This last weekend was particularly fun. Although I was a bit sick, I've found that freefall is a great cure for the common cold.

One of the highlights of the weekend was the balloon jump we put together. It was my 3rd jump out of a balloon, and this time we spiced it up a little bit.

While the other guys jumped out of the basket, Joe and I decided to get creative and rigged some ropes up to the basket and descended into freefall by rappelling out. When the balloon hit about 6,500 feet above ground level, Joe and I began our treacherous rappel out of the balloon while intentionally forgetting to tie stopper knots. In climbing it is important to tie a knot at the end of a rappel rope so as to prevent falling off the end of the rope. But this is exactly what Joe and I had in mind. We started down the ropes, hanging 50 feet below the hot air balloon, and then rappelled off the end. It was a really cool experience because of the unobsructed 360 degree view of Boulder and the front range. We could see all the northern Colorado mountain ranges, and probably all the way to Kansas. It was a truly spectacular experience. The freefall was fun, and the farmer that approached us for landing in his field wasn't too angry, which was great. It made for a spectacular morning!

Click Here to see the youtube video.

I'm hoping to get to 200 jumps by the end of May so that I can legally and legitimately fly my wingsuit all this summer (although I'm not sure if I can wait that long so it may be when I get to 150 jumps). Only 78 more jumps to go!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Slackline Party

I hosted a wonderful slackline party at Chautauqua Park this past Saturday, and it was quite fun. We had a total of 13 lines up at once, and probably 60 or more people who stopped by to have some fun. It was the most successful slackline party yet, and I'm really excited to see the sport grow to this level. Here are some photos from the weekend: