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Jonathan Miller

Guillaume Beck posted this message to: BASE jump

Just passing the word. Most you you may already read this :

"I am writing this because I am concerned about the very real threat that now exists to the future of legal base-jumping in the Lauterbrunnen / Steckelberg valley.

The many recent fatalities and accidents have again raised eyebrows and sparked the ongoing debate about whether or not basejumping should be allowed in the area.

This same debate has been going on for years now. - Nothing to be concerned about some may say. However, in the past few weeks these fatalities and accidents have attracted the interest of the Federal Office of Civil Aviation. They have also given strength to the many local businesses that do not support but who actually oppose base-jumping in the Lauterbrunnen valley.

Last week there was an incident that affected Air-glaciers helicopter service - A group of "fairly new" and not so experienced base-jumpers failed to call air-glaciers to ask if it was clear to jump- they also failed to visually check the airspace before jumping. They jumped just as a helicopter was taking off and passing below the exit of Lamousse. This resulted in the chopper pilot having to react instinctively and turn the helicopter to avoid the jumpers. There were tandem masters and their passengers on board who actually caught it all on camera. The deployed canopies were within 30 meters of the helicopter. The helicopter pilot was visibly shaken and very angry. When he landed he made an official complaint and incident report.

Yesterday afternoon there was another incident that affected the Shilthornbahn cablecar company. This also involved the same group of "fairly new" and inexperienced base-jumpers. They were on the high Ultimate exit, while there was a storm passing through the valley. The winds were quite freaky and very strong- coming down the valley from Lauterbrunnen direction, towards Steckelberg. They must have been around 60mph. Two of the jumpers exited and pulled low- both had canopy issues on landing. The last jumper then jumped and was blown into the cable-car cable. He was pulled into the mechanism and suffered very serious head injuries-including a broken skull as well as a broken back.

It is a well known fact that while air-glaciers have generally supported the base-jumping activities in the Lauterbrunnen valley, The Railway/ cable car company does not.

I would like to remind new base-jumpers and even experienced base-jumpers who may not jump here all the time, that there are not many places in the world that supports and allows legal base-jumping. Especially when there is an airfield and so many other 'air-activities' going on in the same air-space. This is a rare thing that should be appreciated and protected.

The Lauterbrunnen valley is not a place to do a first-base course or learn to base-jump! However, it is a a great place for intermediate jumpers to very quickly gain more experience and hone their skills. It is also a place where experienced jumpers can come to get current again after a long break or before the season starts.

The local doctors and Police have been very supportive of Base-jumpers and have always defended base-jumping in this valley. However, now they are getting fed up with all the fatalities and incidents. They keep a detailed log and record all the fatalities and accidents involving the doctor or police. They feel as though we have had long enough to prove that we can regulate ourselves and jump responsibly here in the Lauterbrunnen valley. There is now a general feeling from the local population that the base-jumping activites in the Lauterbrunnen valley may very soon come to an end.


Be safe on your jumps and please respect the local rules. It would suck to loose a playground like this.

Blue sky.

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