Archive for January 7th, 2010

I probably would never take any hints for doing anything from watching Wile E. Coyote cartoons but when I see films of people in wingsuits stepping off sheer cliffs and soaring like rockets at 150 MPH only several feet from the face of the mountain, all I can wonder is Where did they get this idea?

Were these guys sitting around, eating bowls of cereal at four in the afternoon,watching cartoons and when the image of Wile E. in his 1950’s wingsuit came on the screen, thought, “That is so cool!  Let’s try that!” ?

I kind of hope so.  That means there’s still a possibility for rocket-powered rollerskates out there.

The first time I saw any video of these fearless fliers, it was a guy buzzing by the Giant Jesus on Sugarloaf down in Rio.  I couldn’t believe my eyes.  The guy was a streak going nearly horizontal across the sky.  Amazing.

Currently, the flights generally last a little over a minute until the flier opens his chute and sails easily to the ground but there are many who trying to develop suits that would enable them to glide to the ground without a chute.  That would probably allow for longer flight times.  Zowie!

I can’t even imagine standing at the precipice of a cliff, looking over at a couple of thousand feet of a sheer granite wall, let alone wanting to step off it with only a nylon suit and a giant set of cajones to take me to the bottom.  I am enthralled by their daring and ability to overcome the primal fear that must be present when they raise that first foot before the leap.  I don’t know that I’ve ever experienced anything near that burst of adrenaline that must be throbbing through them at that point and as I watch them from the safety of  my chair, I am both excited by their adventurous spirit and disappointed by my own.

It make me wonder.  Are these guys crazy? Or are  many of us too bound to this earth by our own fears?  Could I ever take that step?

Take a look at this before you decide if you’re willing to take that step.  It’s from the film, The Sharp End, which documents this type of flying and other extreme rocksports such as free-climbing without ropes and which comes highly recommended by my nephew, Jeremy, who dabbles in rock climbing out West.

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