Jeb Corliss, the most popular BASE jumper, met with an accident last month. There’s a video of the accident too. He’s now recovering well, but this is what he had to say about the accident:

I was asked in a base jumping forum what happened. This was my response.

Well the answer is very simple. I was flying to close and messed up 🙂 I was going for a black balloon that was basically laying on the rocks and was going to try and kick it with my foot. In order to do this I had to fly low and flat between boulders. My left foot clipped a boulder that dragged me into a flat ledge that I took at the waist at full speed. If I had not clipped that boulder I might have made it, I might have still impacted. It’s very hard to tell from the footage. Everything happens very fast. But when you go for a flight where inches are the difference between making it and not making it well impact is very possible. I knew this and took the risk and paid the price for pushing way to hard. I take full responsibility for my actions and am just happy I still have legs to do rehab on.

This is not my first time getting hurt and it will not be my last. I push it, always have and always will. One day I will die and I just hope that when I do, it will be doing something I truly love…

He articulates pretty much what I and everyone who takes part in adventure sports feels.

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I swear I thought I had linked to Corliss’ post in the past. A search here revealed I was wrong.

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At the other end, is another star: the most popular paragliding pilot and ice-climber Will Gadd. He went through a different journey recently. In this excerpt, he thinks those who compare adventure sports with activities like driving are foolish. (I urge you to read his entire thought.)

I do a lot of presentations about mountain sports, and sometimes share a list of dead friends to remind myself and the audience that the hidden price for the stunning photographs is all-too-regularly life itself. There are 27 names on my list. Not one of those friends died while driving to the mountains. Not one died on a commercial airline flight. To equate the risks of mountain sports to everyday activities like driving or even the chance of death from cancer is completely idiotic. Every friend on my list drove to the mountains a lot, and some even wrecked vehicles and spent time in the hospital from those crashes. But they died doing mountain sports.

To be very honest, I was among the delusional few (many?) until I read the post. At this moment, I don’t know what my philosophy should be. I won’t be surprised if I go back to my comfort zone: That driving a vehicle is dangerous too–I can’t not do potentially dangerous activities if I can’t also not stop driving the car.

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I can see why religious folks like to stick to their delusions. It is comforting at times. It makes you get on with life.

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