Frequently Asked Questions
This page is intended for BASE jumpers seeking information regarding Bridge Day 2013. Spectators will likely find more suitable information at the official Bridge Day website.
- What and when is Bridge Day?
- Where's the best place to watch the jumpers, where do I park, when is the bridge closed?
- What are the requirements for solo BASE jumping at Bridge Day?
- Are tandem BASE jumps available at Bridge Day?
- Can I bungee jump from the New River Gorge Bridge?
- What changes did the BASE Coordinator make for Bridge Day 2013?
- What do I get when I purchase a jump pass?
- Do I need to buy a jump pass for each jump?
- How fast do jump passes sell and should I buy one on July 1?
- Will the NPS get my personal information?
- Will you send my Bridge Day jump pass in the mail?
- How is the Bridge Day jump order determined?
- Why attend Bridge Day when jumps at the Perrine Bridge are 24/7/365?
- What do I have to do to start BASE jumping?
- Can I BASE jump without skydiving first?
- I have 100 skydives and want to BASE jump, what now?
- Can I take a first BASE jump course at Bridge Day?
- Is BASE jumping dangerous?
- How do I deal with BASE malfunctions?
- Can I rent gear or should I bring my own? What are my gear options?
- What size parachute should I use?
- Bridge Day Gear Guide - What type of parachute and harness/container can be used?
- Can I share a rig with another jumper?
- Can I jump a round parachute?
- How do I register for Bridge Day?
- What information will the BASE Coordinator need when I register?
- Where do I stay for Bridge Day?
- What's the deal with the rangers?
- How do I pack for a Bridge Day leap?
- Can I pay someone to pack my parachute?
- How can I prepare for Bridge Day?
- What kind of delay can I take?
- How many jumps can I make?
- Can I get video or stills of my jumps?
- When do I need to show up & check-in onsite?
- Can I check-in late Friday or early Saturday morning?
- Can I purchase a jump pass at the Holiday Lodge?
- Can I Ride a Mr. Bill To The River?
- What is the Landing Zone (LZ) like?
- Does the media need a permit to film the jumpers?
- Can my family member(s) watch me jump?
- What items are not permitted on the bridge?
- Why does it cost so much to jump?
- Who is permitted to jump from the diving board?
- Can I get a refund, sell, or transfer my slot? I registered to jump but cannot attend.
- I can't attend Bridge Day, can you send me my T-shirt?
- Is there a rain date?
- What is a "qualified mentor" in regards to first BASE jump training?
- What size pilot chute should I use for specific delays?
- Who are the main BASE gear manufacturers, instructors, and gear renters?
What and when is Bridge Day?
Enlarge pictureBridge Day is the largest BASE jumping event in the world, held on the third Saturday in October every year in Fayetteville, West Virginia (October 19, 2013). The New River Gorge Bridge (NRGB) serves as the launch point where hundreds of BASE jumpers gather for six hours (9am-3pm EST) of legal, safe BASE jumps from the 876' high single arch bridge. Hundreds of vendors line the ends of the bridge selling funnel cakes and T-shirts in a carnival-like atmosphere surrounded by the natural beauty and amazing fall foliage of the West Virginia mountains.
Among the hoards of adrenaline junkies hurling themselves from the bridge, you'll find up to 200,000 spectators peeking over the side of the bridge in awe. Bridge Day is FREE for spectators, but $10 of each jump pass purchase is paid by the BASE Jumping Coordinator to the Bridge Day Commission. Experienced BASE jumpers organize the event, run registration, provide first jump seminars ranging from "exit body position" and "BASE packing" to "how to hold my pilot chute", and they jumpmaster people at the exit point. Tandem BASE jumps are available for those with no parachuting experience while experienced BASE jumpers may elect for a catapult launch. If you're an experienced skydivers making your first BASE jump, you'll be required to attend one of our BASE first jump courses unless you've been trained by a qualified mentor. Don't worry, the Bridge Day staff is always here to help you make a safe, enjoyable BASE jump. Feel free to contact us with any questions you may have.
Where's the best place to watch the jumpers, where do I park, when is the bridge closed?
For spectators, the best place to watch the jumpers is on the bridge itself. There is no charge to walk on the bridge and you can gain access onto the bridge deck from 9am to 3pm. If you walk out to the middle of the bridge, you'll see the platform where the jumpers leap. The same advice applies to the families of BASE jumpers, except that we can give you temporary access to area near the jumper exit ramp at the middle of the bridge for a quick photo or video of your jumper.
If you don't mind walking about 45 minutes or paying a fee to ride down to the landing area at the bottom of the gorge, you can watch the jumpers land or splash down in the New River. There is limited transportation to the bottom for spectators and no food or beverages, so be sure to bring your own supplies. However, shuttles to the landing zone are available to jumpers and their friends/families. Many jumper family members prefer to have access to the LZ in order to carry dry clothes or watch some of the less graceful landings. Don't forget, the bridge is closed to vehicular traffic from 7am-5pm on Bridge Day. There are plenty of food and drink vendors at both ends of the bridge.
The bridge is closed from 7am-5pm (both directions). If your cabin is on the North end and you want to be parked on the South end for the day, make sure you cross the bridge before 7am. The best place to park is usually as close as you can get to the bridge itself. There are designated parking areas, but it usually ends up being one large parking lot close to the bridge. Please count on parking at least a mile from the end of the bridge, but it could be up to 2-3 miles if it's crowded and the weather is nice. The earlier you arrive, the better your chances of getting a good viewing location along the railing. Arrive from 12pm-1pm and you'll find thick crowds. Also, many people who live close to the bridge sell parking spots in their driveways or lawns for a fee, especially those near the first intersection South of the bridge. Good luck....dress warm....be prepared.
What are the requirements for solo BASE jumping at Bridge Day?
- Must register online starting July 1 at 2pm EDT. Jumpers who are not comfortable with internet orders can call 304-933-9330 to register (note that online customers have priority on July 1).
- Must have made at least 100 parachute jumps (skydiving and/or BASE jumping) prior to Bridge Day.
- Must have made at least one parachute jump (skydiving or BASE jumping) in the two years prior to Bridge Day.
- First time BASE jumpers are required to receive some form of BASE jumping training before attending the event. The following choices are available:
- Attend our 3-day Bridge Day BASE Jump Course. This course typically consists of 15-20 jumpers who want advanced training and the ability to pack by themselves.
- Attend our 6-8 hour Bridge Day Introductory Course. This course typically attracts around 50-70 jumpers who want the basics at a reasonable price (or those with tight schedules).
- You can be trained by a qualified mentor.
- BASE jumping specific or approved skydiving gear only (harness/container and parachute). Please reference our Bridge Day Gear Guide before you purchase a jump slot if you have gear questions. BASE rental gear is also available.
- Must be 18 years of age or older.
- Must bring a 2x2 photo (head shot) to the onsite check-in. This photo will be used to make your ID badge, as required by the State of West Virginia.
- Must also check-in and register onsite at the Holiday Lodge located in Oak Hill, West Virginia on Thursday, October 17, 2013 or Friday, October 18, 2013 (please check the schedule for onsite check-in times). If you fail to show up for normal onsite check-in, we may impose a late fee to deter last minute arrivals.
- Must bring a photo ID (drivers license, passport, etc.) to onsite check-in and carry with you while jumping.
- Jumpers who did not register for any Bridge Day between 2002-2012 must also submit their SSN or passport number and birthdate for the State of West Virginia mandated background check. This information will be requested during the checkout process.
- Must attend the jumper meeting held at the Holiday Lodge ballroom on the evening prior to Bridge Day.
- Jumpers will be required to use a minimum 38" diameter pilot chute (4-7 second delays) and a 9' bridle. 42" pilot chutes are recommended for 2-4 second delays.
- No drugs, alcohol, nudity, pornographic material/objects, or loud cussing at the exit point. Thousands of people, including small children, will be watching your every move at the exit point or on TV. Please be respectful of all spectators.
- No cutting in line or jumping our fence at the exit point or bus loading areas.
- No unpacked jumps unless approved prior to Bridge Day (we only have six hours of jumping).
Are tandem BASE jumps available at Bridge Day?
Yes. Moab BASE Adventures and Vertical Visions are excited to announce the availability of 10 tandem BASE jump slots for Bridge Day 2013. Available for the third time in Bridge Day's 34-year history, people with no prior jump experience will be able to make a BASE jump while attached to a highly experienced jump professional. Moab BASE Adventures is the worlds first tandem cliff BASE jumping operation. Located in Moab, Utah, Moab BASE Adventures has developed a jumping technique based on the tandem skydiving method of instruction and they routinely perform tandem BASE jumps from cliffs and bridges.
Bridge Day tandem BASE jumpers will step off the exit point 876' above the New River and experience a two to three second freefall followed by an awe inspiring 40 to 50 second canopy ride and landing in the New River Gorge. After the jump, jumpers will receive dinner and a T-shirt marking their participation in Bridge Day 2013. This is the ultimate rush for those who seek it.
Additional information, pricing, videos, and photos are located on our Tandem BASE Jump page.
Can I bungee jump from the New River Gorge Bridge?
No. There has not been bungee jumping since the 1993 bungee accident and there are no plans for it this year. Contact Vertigo Bungee.
What changes did the BASE Coordinator make for Bridge Day 2013?
The last two years of Bridge Day BASE jumping were packed full of changes with the addition of tandem BASE jumping and our catapult system. We're going to give ourselves time to rest in 2013, so there are no major changes.
- The jumper catapult will again launch experienced jumpers over the railing, but we're opening up this opportunity to a larger number of jumpers.
- Moab BASE Adventures is now running our tandem BASE jump operation and the price has decreased.
- The BASE Videofest is now being sponsored by iLoveSkydiving.org and they've got some exciting changes planned.
- We'll be adding more packing tarps in the landing zone.
- We'll be giving everything a fresh coat of paint (exit ramps, diving board, etc.)
What do I get when I purchase a jump pass?
A jump pass permits registered jumpers to make as many jumps as possible in six hours. In addition, jumpers receive free water rescue, shuttle buses, a T-shirt, free pizza/beer/soda during post-Bridge Day party, seminars, video festival, use of packing tarps/clamps, diving board jumps, etc. A complete list of items you'll receive with the purchase of your jump ticket is located here. Most jumpers will get 2-3 jumps on an average Bridge Day, which means your BASE jumps will cost about the same as skydives (we're not even considering the fact that we feed, clothe, educate, entertain, transport, and keep you hydrated with beer/soda).
Do I need to buy a jump pass for each jump?
No. A single jump pass allows you to make as many jumps as possible in six hours (tandem BASE jumps are the only exception). See the above paragraph "What do I get when I purchase a jump pass?"
How fast do jump passes sell and should I buy one on July 1?
In the last decade, Bridge Day tickets have sold out anywhere from three weeks to three months when using a starting sale date of July 1 at 2pm EDT. Lately, in the midst of a recession, it's been taking about 3 months to sell all 450 jump slots. The reason everyone tries to buy a jump ticket on July 1 at 2pm EDT is due to the fact that early jump ticket purchases get early time slots for jumping off the bridge as well as a better chance to reserve a hotel room at jumper headquarters (Holiday Lodge - where many jumpers prefer to stay). Please note that jumpers who purchase our 3-day Bridge Day BASE Jump Course will be guaranteed the ability to purchase a jump pass regardless of the event being sold out. We always sell all of our 450 jump slots for experienced jumpers, however, this doesn't normally occur until we get very close to the event.
Tandem BASE jump passes normally take 2-3 months to sell out, although we've had an enormous amount of interest in early 2013 due to a CBS News story that aired shortly after Bridge Day 2012. Our training courses do not normally sell out and there is no limit for the class size of our 6-8 hour course.
Will the NPS get my personal information?
Not likely. We've never given the NPS the personal information of any jumper and have never been requested to do so. Per the special use permit that we purchase for the landing area, the NPS does require us to maintain a list of jumpers "in case" they choose to request it, but they've never done so as long as we've been organizing Bridge Day BASE jumping.
As part of our job at Bridge Day BASE Jumping Coordinator, we are required to send new jumper's names, birthdates, and SSNs to the local sheriff for a background check. Of course, we inherited the background check rule from the last BASE Coordinator and there isn't much we could do to protest this requirement other than refuse to jump. After all, it's their event. Personally, I don't know of any jumper that has ever been affected by simply being on a Bridge Day jumper list. The bottom line is that we, too, are BASE jumpers and we're here to protect your privacy.
Will you send my Bridge Day jump pass in the mail?
No, jump passes (ID badges) must be picked up in person at the event. Most jumpers will pick up their jump pass at the Holiday Lodge Oak Hill during onsite check-in October 17-18, 2013. Please see our schedule for exact times. If you purchased the late arrival option, we can mail your ID badge to you early or you can pick it up anytime at the Holiday Lodge. Some jumpers will receive a "shipment status" email followed by a "2nd confirmation" email that will confirm their jump pass purchase and group number.
How is the Bridge Day jump order determined?
In order to maintain fairness to all jumpers, the sooner you register for a jump pass online, the quicker you'll get to jump on Bridge Day. We take all 450 jumpers and divide them into four groups of 113, depending on when they registered. If you register early, you'll more than likely be part of the first group of 113 jumpers. Each group will have unique marks and colors on their ID badges that will permit them to enter the jumper exit area in group order. Your position within your group is completely up to you. If you're in the first group, you could be the first one off the bridge or jumper #113 depending on your position within your group. On the bridge, we'll have tall signs in place that will tell you where each group begins and ends. When everyone in Group 1 has jumped, we'll move onto Group 2 (#113-226) and so forth. If you're in Group 3 and someone you'd like to jump with is in Group 2, your friend must wait and jump with Group 3. To be fair, you can always make your first jump during or after your group is up, but not before). Once all four groups of 113 have left the bridge, there is no jump order (first come, first served) and the lines are often very short. Normally, it takes approximately 35-45 minutes for each group to jump - an average of one jumper every 25 seconds. Group determination is based solely on your jump pass purchase date/time. It sometimes takes three months to sell all jump passes, so don't assume you'll get a Group 4 slot if you registered after July 1.
Why attend Bridge Day when jumps at the Perrine Bridge are 24/7/365?
There are distinct differences in each bridge, as follows:
Bridge Day Advantages
- Taller bridge (876') with longer freefalls (3-5 secs).
- 450 jumpers from around the world.
- Carnival-like atmosphere with up to 200,000 spectators.
- BASE gear trade show.
- Largest gathering of jumpers worldwide since 1980.
- Tons of educational (seminars) and technical information available.
- Water rescue and ambulances waiting to scoop you up within seconds.
- Multiple first jump courses available.
- Great location for East Coast jumpers.
- Plenty of other jumpable objects in local area.
- Custom designed launch platform, diving board, and catapult.
- Lots of other activities nearby (climbing, biking, rafting, paragliding, hiking).
Bridge Day Disadvantages
- Shoreline landing area can be intimidating to new jumpers if the water level is high.
- Only six hours to jump (average 2-3 jumps per person).
- Bad weather could limit your jumps and cause delays.
- NPS sometimes photographs jumpers for possible inclusion into their (harmless) secret database.
- Hotel rooms and other services can be expensive during Bridge Day week.
Perrine Bridge Advantages
- Can jump 24/7/365.
- No NPS or police hassles.
- Large landing area.
- Slow moving large water landing area.
- Local hotels and restaurants offer "BASE jumper discounts".
- Plenty of first jump courses available with limitless jumps.
- Countless local jumpers live nearby and jumps are made almost daily.
- Great location for West Coast jumpers.
Perrine Bridge Disadvantages
- Shorter bridge (486'), shorter freefalls (1-3 secs).
- Long hike or boat ride ($) required to exit the landing area.
- Must jump from top walkway and hold onto handrail (awkward for some).
What do I have to do to start BASE jumping?
First of all, BASE jumping is not for most people. Most experienced jumpers agree that anyone wanting to start BASE jumping must first go to their local dropzone (DZ) and get at least 100 skydives. This is also required for your first jump at Bridge Day unless you opt for a Tandem BASE Jump. Skydiving will introduce you to body positions, canopy flight, malfunctions, canopy landings, and provide you with a basic understanding of parachuting. During your first 100 skydives, you must learn to consistently land your canopy inside a 30' diameter circle. Keep in mind that most BASE jumps offer some of the worst landing areas often strewn with trees, rocks and other hazards and Bridge Day is no different. BASE jumping without first learning how to skydive is not a smart decision and can easily injure or kill you. By skydiving at your local DZ, you will surely meet a BASE jumper who may be willing to help you make your first jump or someone willing to show you the ropes at the next Bridge Day. Also, many of the main BASE Gear Manufacturers and Instructors and a few experienced BASE jumpers now offer BASE first jump courses in the Western U.S. that will safely get you started in the sport. During Bridge Day week, you can also attend our 3-day Bridge Day BASE Jump Course or our 6-8 hour Bridge Day Introductory Course taught by Apex BASE. If this will be your first BASE jump, you'll be required to attend one of them unless you've been trained by a qualified mentor.
Can I BASE jump without skydiving first?
Would a normal person would be willing to go off an Olympic ski jump without learning how to ski first? It's exactly the same with BASE jumping. We highly recommend that you first perform at least 100 skydives and then think about the additional complexity of making a low-altitude fixed object jump. You will also find some resistance from other BASE jumpers and instructors if you do not possess the needed skills and jump experience to safely deploy and land your parachute. While some BASE jumpers have made thousands of injury-free jumps, if you BASE jump long enough (as in any sport), you will surely spend some time in the back of an ambulance.
I have 100 skydives and want to BASE jump, what now?
With your 100 skydives and overwhelming interest in BASE jumping, I can only assume that you've met one or two BASE jumpers in your area or at your DZ. Talk to them, express your interest in learning, and ask them to take you on a simple first BASE jump. You can also take a BASE first jump course from one of the main BASE Gear Manufacturers and Instructors or attend our 3-day Bridge Day First BASE Jump Course or our 6-8 hour Bridge Day Introductory Course during Bridge Day week. In our opinion, the absolute best BASE jump for a first-timer is Bridge Day, held on the third Saturday in October every year in Fayetteville, WV. Bridge Day offers plenty of training, supervision, and guidance that you'll need to make your first jump. Again, you'll need at least 100 previous skydives and you must have made a parachute jump (skydiving or BASE) in the two years prior to Bridge Day.
Can I take a first BASE jump course at Bridge Day?
Yes, there are two types of first BASE jump courses available at Bridge Day. First time BASE jumpers are required to receive some form of BASE jumping training before attending the event. Please visit our Bridge Day First Jump & Introductory Course page. Please note that jumpers who have BASE jumped in the past, but never from the New River Gorge Bridge, are not required to take a training course.
Is BASE jumping dangerous?
Enlarge picture OK, perhaps I should elaborate a little. Of course it's dangerous! Just like any other extreme sport, BASE jumping can result in injuries or even death. Even if you've had extensive training, the best gear, perfect weather conditions, and you're smarter than the rest of the jumpers in your group, you can be injured or killed. Canopy openings are not always predictable and can open facing a cliff wall or towards an antenna. Some of the smartest BASE jumpers in the world have been injured or killed BASE jumping. It's not "if", but "when" you get busted up in this sport, so be prepared and get good medical insurance. It's also a good idea to let your family know what you're doing so they won't be surprised if something happens. Keep in mind that the benefits often outweigh the risks in BASE jumping. I wouldn't trade anything, even a broken leg resulting in a long leg cast, for all the amazing times I've had traveling the world in BASE freefall.
Every BASE jump is inherently dangerous, just as a skydive can be. However, BASE jumping is a bit more dangerous with the lower altitudes and quicker response times necessary to correct malfunctions or land in small confined areas. However, if you're going to make a BASE jump, Bridge Day is probably one of the safest locations to do so. There are experts to teach you, boats to pull you out of the water, and paramedics to cart you off to the hospital if one of those big boulders gets angry at you. Overall, Bridge Day is the ultimate first BASE jump experience because you don't necessarily need an on-heading opening and the water is the softest landing area. With over 450 jumpers making multiple jumps all day, Bridge Day 2002 saw only a few minor injuries (cuts, ankle twists) while Bridge Day 2003 had four jumpers transported to the hospital (all were released later that night with minor injuries). Bridge Day 2004 had four jumpers transported and all released later that day (one broken toe/foot was the only real injury). We were 45 minutes shy of having no injuries at Bridge Day 2008. Just remember the old saying......"You dry faster than you heal". So, if you're not confident that your canopy skills can get you in the landing area, land in the river and avoid possible injury.
How do I deal with BASE malfunctions?
We've got the most comprehensive list of BASE Jumping Malfunctions available. Your additions, comments, and suggestions are more than welcome. You can also check out our webstore for Bridge Day Extremes, also known as the "Best of the Best" and the "Best of the Worst" of 9 years of Bridge Day. This video is packed full of malfunctions, bad landings, and amazing jumps that will educate and entertain any BASE jumper. If you want to learn to pack like a pro, check out the Apex BASE packing DVD.
Can I rent gear or should I bring my own? What are my gear options?
Many jumpers rent gear each year and it's a popular way to gauge interest in BASE jumping without a major financial commitment. Jumpers can rent gear from one of the BASE Gear Manufacturers and Instructors listed at the bottom of this page and my company Vertical Visions also rents a few rigs as well. Bridge Day is a serious BASE jump and you typically only have one parachute, so don't skimp on equipment. Be smart and come to Bridge Day with BASE gear that you'll be comfortable and confident with. The longer you wait to rent gear, the more likely you won't find a parachute and harness that'll fit. Also, DO NOT expect to come to Bridge Day and rent gear onsite (there are NO ONSITE GEAR RENTALS). If you're able to borrow or purchase gear, please don't forget a 38-48" pilot chute and 9' bridle, as they are mandatory. Have fun and enjoy your jump. Here are some gear options:
New BASE Gear
This is your safest option if you have the cash. A new 7-cell BASE canopy will cost you around $1700 and a new Velcro-closed or pin BASE rig is approximately $650. Other prices may include: Mesh slider ($50), 42" pilot chute with 9' bridle ($85), tailpocket ($20-$50 installed, but these come standard on new BASE canopies), toggles ($25-$30), and stash bag ($40). Examples of BASE-specific canopies are the Fox, Mojo, Flik, Ace, Blackjack, Dragon, and Troll. Usually, instructional video tapes are included with new canopy purchases to show you how to pack and there are packing and first jump courses the day before Bridge Day. You can buy new gear from one of the BASE Gear Manufacturers and Instructors listed on this page.
Only approved skydiving gear is permitted. Experienced jumpers who have used skydiving gear at Bridge Day in the past are permitted to use that same gear. Jumpers with unique gear or special circumstances should contact us before registering for Bridge Day. Please reference our Bridge Day Gear Guide before you purchase a jump slot if you have gear questions.
Borrowed BASE Gear
If you have to borrow gear, make sure you jump it a few times from an airplane so you know what to expect and how it lands. You know the old saying about "borrowed gear"...
If you have to rent gear, please contact some of the BASE Gear Manufacturers and Instructors listed below and they'll be glad to help you. Costs are typically around $250-$350 (may or may not include the pack job). If you have a skydiving parachute that works well for BASE jumping (see our BASE Gear Guide), then you can always purchase a cheap used velcro container for around $200-400 on the basejumper.com classifieds. Again, the best method is to purchase new BASE gear if you have the cash, or borrow/rent BASE-specific gear so that you are jumping gear that is designed to handle the rough openings and tight landing areas so common to BASE jumps. Plan on renting gear as close to July 1 as possible.
What size parachute should I use?
This is a very common question. A simple formula is to add 70-100 to your naked weight in pounds (lbs.) to arrive at the square footage of the parachute you should use. For example, I am 6'4" and weigh 230 lbs. I am currently jumping a Troll 305 and my landings are soft and comfortable. Based on our research in Spring 2013, the average number added to the naked weight of a jumper is 86. Of course, there are many variables and all parachute manufacturers don't follow the PIA standard. For example, many jumpers mentioned that Atair canopies are sized slightly smaller than the PIA standard. Without getting too complicated, the following data and graph shows our collection of experienced jumper weights versus canopy sizes.
Bridge Day Gear Guide - What type of parachute and harness/container can be used?
Only BASE jumping specific and approved skydiving gear will be permitted at Bridge Day. Experienced jumpers who have used skydiving gear at Bridge Day in the past are permitted to use that same gear. Jumpers with unique gear or special circumstances should contact us before registering for Bridge Day. If you feel that this list is incomplete, please contact us with any updates. It is your responsibility to insure that your gear meets our requirements. All BASE specific harness/containers and parachutes are permitted. More than 96% of all jumpers utilized BASE specific gear at Bridge Day 2011, so the impact of this requirement is minimal. We're mainly trying to keep the Wonderhogs and Stilettos at the dropzone where they belong. Your gear must be on the list shown below:
9-cells, reserves, high performance swooping, and 100% ZP canopies are generally not suitable for BASE jumping. BASE jumpers normally use only 7-cell F-111 canopies due to their lower aspect ratios and better on-heading openings. BASE jumpers usually prefer canopies that are large in size and slow. While it's true that many reserves were used in the early days of BASE jumping, many people incorrectly assume that they can simply take their 7-cell reserve (which was sized to be as small as possible for the jumper's weight) and use it for BASE jumps. The bottom line is that Bridge Day is a BASE jump and you can die. Why use anything but the best? What is your life worth? Use BASE gear.
|Approved (BASE Specific)||Fox, Mojo, Flik, Ace, Blackjack, Dragon, Dagger, Troll, OSP, Trango, Rock Dragon, H2O, Tektite, Aquila, BaseX, Seven, Feather, Mayhem, or any BASE specific parachute produced by a reputable BASE jumping equipment manufacturer.|
|Acceptable (Skydiving)||Raven, Pursuit, Cruislite, Pegasus, Fury, Sharpchuter, PD 7-cell, Eiff Classic, Triathalon, Stratocloud, Parafoil, Lightning, Lopo|
|Approved (BASE Specific)||Any Apex BASE container (SP/DP/TL/V/Summit), Wizard, Sorcerer, Merlin, Vision, Medusa, Gargoyle, Genesis, WSX-treme, Razor, Helium, Perigee, Perigee Pro, Perigee II, Odyssey, Reactor, Warlock, Bandit, Neo, Moe Viletto (Tailored for Survial Parapack), Edge, Kruse (Rigging Adventures), Exciter, Prism, Raptor, Vertex, Soft Cock, Huck It, Atmosphere, Hybrid, Relax, Zak, BaseR, Bad Seed Diablo, Defiance, Menace, or any BASE specific container produced by a reputable BASE jumping equipment manufacturer.|
We do our best to keep the gear list updated. If your gear is not on the list but it is truly "BASE gear", then you're more than welcome to use it at Bridge Day. If you can, please contact us so we can add your gear to our acceptable list. Thanks.
Can I share a rig with another jumper?
Yes, you can share. A few words of advice: Once the second person to jump the rig reaches the top of the bridge and finds out his/her group has already jumped, he/she can go to the front of the line. If his/her group is not done making their first jump, the second person should get in line at the back of their group. Also, since every jumper must receive a gear check when signing our waiver at the Holiday Lodge prior to Bridge Day, please make sure both jumpers bring the rig through the onsite check-in. In order to obtain a jump pass, each jumper must present at least one rig.
Can I jump a round parachute?
Yes. We see a handful of round parachutes every year and the crowd loves them. Since all intentional water landings are required to have a cutaway system, please make sure your round parachute can be quickly released from the harness in case you land in/near fast moving water or rapids. Since there are Class III rapids near the landing area and round canopies can't penetrate high winds very well, having a cutaway system is essential. Plus, we've had a few rounds land near the rapids in the past.
How do I register for Bridge Day?
Online registration begins on July 1st each year at 2:00pm EDT (18:00 GMT). Parachutist magazine will run ads in their June issue describing the registration process for Bridge Day. The registration fee is nominal considering the opportunity to make legal BASE jumps from one of the best objects in the world. Slots are quickly sold, so be prepared to register as soon as possible. We will only accept walk-in registrations at the Holiday Lodge Oak Hill during onsite check-in ONLY if you've had a previous Bridge Day background check and all 450 jump slots are not sold by the week prior to Bridge Day. Jumper registration money is used for the purchase/rental of four rescue boats, shuttle buses up the hill, exit point setup, cranes, wrist bands, ID badges, launch platforms, T-shirts, jumper fees ($15 each) paid to the Bridge Day Commission, free pizza and beer party after jumping, and many other costs. Go here for detailed costs. You can also check out Basejumper.com for more information on Bridge Day during the June/July months.
What information will the BASE Coordinator need when I register?
At this time, the Bridge Day Commission requires that the BASE Coordinator collect the following information from all jumpers who did not register for any Bridge Day between 2002-2012: Name, date of birth, and social security number (passport number if outside the USA). This information will be securely delivered to the Sheriff of Fayette County, West Virginia who will perform background checks on all jumpers, rappellers, and vendors. If you registered and jumped at a Bridge Day since 2002, no background check will be performed and the above information is not required to be submitted. After background checks are complete, all of your personal information will be destroyed. No jumper information is provided to the NPS. Thanks to 9/11/2001 and public fear, security has been increased at Bridge Day and BASE jumpers will be the only people allowed on the bridge with large containers, hence the background checks. Your information is kept strictly confidential throughout the entire process. Keep in mind that you will be required to show photo ID to the BASE Coordinator during onsite check-in and gear checks on the Thursday/Friday before Bridge Day. You will receive an ID badge that must be worn on Bridge Day so they know you can walk onto the bridge with a parachute. You'll be asked to bring a small 2"x2" photo of yourself to Bridge Day so we can make the ID badge for you. Also, during online registration we'll ask you some basic questions about what type of gear you'll be using and how many jumps you have, mainly for historical purposes but also to double check that you have the appropriate experience.
Where do I stay for Bridge Day?
Probably the best place to stay is the Holiday Lodge Oak Hill. where jumper check-in, seminars, and parties are held from Thursday through Saturday night. We also call this "jumper headquarters". You can also stay at the Quality Inn New River Gorge (1-304-574-3443) in Fayetteville (the closest to the bridge), the Comfort Inn New River Gorge (1-304-465-0010) that is about 4 miles from the bridge in Oak Hill, and the Days Inn near Beckley. Vertical Visions has contracts for 100 hotel rooms and onsite camping that are offered to jumpers on a first-come, first-served basis (jumpers will immediately receive an email containing lodging codes after purchasing a jump pass). For further information, please reference our Lodging page.
BASE Jumper Lodging Suggestions
What's the deal with the rangers?
The New River Gorge Bridge runs over a national park and with that comes park rangers. Most rangers are pretty cool and completely support the event, although there are some that are not very fond of BASE jumpers. Either way, it is a wonderful opportunity to thank the rangers for the hard work they put into Bridge Day and the use of their landing area. Trust me, you'll appreciate the experience and you'll probably find a mutual respect for one another. Anyway, if you stick to the rules and follow their instructions as outlined in the permit they issue us to land in the park, then Bridge Day will be an enjoyable day for everyone. This includes jumping WITHIN the six-hour window (9am-3pm only). If you jump outside this window, or have warrants, you will probably be arrested on the spot. Also, smile for the cameras folks. For many years now, the NPS has videoed jumpers as they land in the landing zone and they might add you to their secret, but harmless BASE Jumper Suspect List
If you plan on jumping any other objects in the area before or after Bridge Day, please be aware that the NPS began staking out the landing zones of nearby bridges in October 2003 while dressed as fishermen, holding video cameras. This was a sting operation to catch BASE jumpers in the act of "illegal aerial delivery", the "law" that the NPS uses against jumpers (originally intended to prevent the resupplying of squatters in the park backcountry). Also, note that it's been confirmed that NPS rangers have paid local hotel employees to snitch on jumpers who make off-season jumps.
How do I pack for a Bridge Day leap?
There are many different pack jobs suitable for a Bridge Day jump ranging from your typical skydiving pack job (not recommended) to a no-slider freepack with brake line modifications. I would recommend first that you ask for packing assistance from an experienced BASE jumper before coming to Bridge Day. If this is unavailable, you can attend the packing seminars available at the Holiday Lodge Oak Hill on the Friday before Bridge Day (also registration day). Probably the best pack job for your first BASE jump is a mesh slider up pack job. Other items to consider before choosing your pack job style are:
BASE specific harness/container
This is the most common setup that you'll see at the exit point because it is proven technology for this type of object. Typical BASE harness/containers utilize a Velcro shrivel flap to hold the BASE specific, large 7-cell canopy in the container. Newer BASE rigs use single pin or dual pin containers that are specifically designed for low air speed openings. If you can afford BASE specific gear, be safe and buy the right equipment for your first BASE jump.
Sail slider/mesh slider/no slider
During a skydive, the slider slows deployment of the main canopy. On a BASE jump you generally want a much faster opening than you would get from a normal skydiving slider because your air speed is low. A canopy that normally slams you on a skydive may very well open fast enough at Bridge Day with its original sail (solid) slider, but most canopies at Bridge Day will benefit from having a mesh slider. Mesh sliders, since they pose less resistance to the wind, come down faster and allow the canopy to open more quickly. Many BASE equipment manufacturers sell mesh sliders and they will be available for purchase at Bridge Day. Make sure you get one that is similar in size and shape to your current slider. You can take delays from 2 seconds all the way to terminal velocity (with proper reefing) with a mesh slider.
Many BASE jumpers use no slider at all, or tie the slider down to the links on the FRONT risers. This gives extremely fast openings, so it's more applicable to lower altitude BASE jumps with delays of no more than 3 seconds. However, the slider plays an important role in keeping the lines under control during opening, and removing the slider greatly increases your chances of a lineover. To get around this problem, some BASE jumpers use special toggles and remove their brake lines from the keeper rings and slider grommets on the risers. This system is called the "Brake Line Modification" and it allows you to completely release the brake lines, thus clearing the lineover. Rear risers can then be used to steer and land safely. There is also a very simple modification called the "tailgate" that can help prevent lineovers on slider-down jumps. Generally speaking, removing the slider doesn't buy you much at Bridge Day and can be more trouble than it's worth, especially for your first few BASE jumps. If you are jumping with your slider tied down to the FRONT risers, note that they are not tied to the rear risers because rear riser turns would be limited by the tied-down portion of the slider. Either way, this is a BASE jump and the only rule is to pull when you get scared. Put on a mesh slider and enjoy 3-4 seconds of freefall at Bridge Day.
Most first time jumpers exit with their pilot chutes in their right hand. This allows a rapid pitch if you feel yourself going head down, and it removes some of the nervousness and worries for first time jumpers. If you plan on exiting with your PC stowed in a pouch, make sure you can reliably find and deploy the larger pilot chute. Most BASE pilot chutes do not have normal handles, so often they are more difficult to grasp. Lots of practice is the key with any BASE jump, especially knowing the gear you've selected. There will also be seminars the Friday before Bridge Day if you need to learn how to hold your pilot chute.
Do NOT route your brake lines outside their guide rings if you're packed slider up. This can actually cause malfunctions, since the slider may not come down at all if the brakes prematurely release and flap around during deployment. This mistake causes problems at Bridge Day nearly every year. My advice, again, is to ask those with more experience and make sure you're doing it right. You only have 8.8 seconds to make it right if you don't do it correctly the FIRST time. If you have to pack on your own, please purchase a packing video from one of the BASE Gear Manufacturers and Instructors.
Can I pay someone to pack my parachute?
Maybe. Vertical Visions does not provide packers in the landing area, although sometimes you'll find jumpers who'll pack your rig for a fee. BASE jumpers typically pack their own rigs, therefore the demand for packers is low. Prior to the event, you can obtain packing assistance during our Friday packing classes at the Holiday Lodge Oak Hill. The use of a BASE packing DVD, sold by us and produced by Apex BASE, will also help you learn to pack.
How can I prepare for Bridge Day?
Practice your BASE exit, canopy accuracy and control, and emergency procedures (water landings, etc.). All of these can be practiced before you come to Bridge Day, however you should have an experienced BASE jumper available to critique and detail your exit leaps. Jumping off the side of a swimming pool to maintain head-high leaps is probably the best training for your exit. When you step off the side of the pool, continue to look forward at the horizon and maintain a body position that is approximately 45 degrees from vertical. Keep in mind that your body follows your head, so if you leave the edge looking down, you will probably end up overrotating and deploying on your back. Keep your arch the entire time with a good head-high exit and you will slowly rotate to a normal belly-to-earth deployment position. If at any time you feel you are over or underrotating - pitch that pilot chute immediately unless you feel you can come out of your rotation in time to deploy safely. In most cases, we say "when in doubt, pitch it out". For the most effective practice exits, try a helicopter or hot air balloon.
Many first time BASE jumpers go head low (no matter how many skydives they have) and risk a malfunction due to bad exits. It's critical to reduce your chances of a malfunction.
For accuracy, you don't need to qualify for a PRO rating. You should, however, be able to safely land your canopy in a 20 foot by 50 foot clearing nine out of ten times. The landing area at the Bridge is small, rocky, and full of trees. Generally there's either no wind or an odd, turbulent crosswind at the landing area. Make sure you practice accuracy on the same canopy you intend to use. You might even want to dust off your PLF skills, as squirrely winds are common in the gorge. Most skydivers have water training, as it is required for the USPA B license. If you have to use the water, just remember that canopies dry faster than bones heal. There is no shame in a water landing, as 28% of all landings end up wet, and the New River is actually our primary LZ.
What kind of delay can I take?
This depends on each jumper, but anywhere from 1-4 seconds is typical for your first BASE jump. If you pitch your 42" pilot chute too soon, there's a chance it will flutter around in the low-speed air before inflating, and this gives it time to wrap around itself or other things and cause trouble. Waiting a few seconds gives you 32 MPH of air speed to work with which is plenty for an oversized pilot chute. Just keep in mind that you can't really take any longer than 7 seconds before you pitch. At this point in time, you have a 50/50 chance of having enough canopy over your head before you impact the water at near terminal velocity. This jump is a maximum 8.8 seconds until impact. For more experienced Bridge Day jumpers, a 3-4 second delay is common.
How many jumps can I make?
Recent statistics show an average of approximately two jumps per person. With a 9am-3pm jump window, it is normal to make anywhere from 1-4 jumps depending on the weather and the number of packed rigs you have. Remember, there are hundreds of jumpers battling it out to make as many jumps as they can on Bridge Day. At Bridge Day 2008, one energetic jumper made seven jumps. At Bridge Day 2012, 12 jumpers made five jumps each while 68 jumpers made four jumps each. It's also very common to have a shortage of jumpers during the last hour of the event.
Can I get video or stills of my jumps?
The Vertical Visions team, comprised of talented photographers who also BASE jump, will be taking photos of every jumper from several locations again this year. Digital images can be viewed and downloaded in our photo gallery approximately 24 hours after Bridge Day. You can also order larger poster size prints or digital images on a CD. A slideshow of event photos will be shown at the post-jump party Saturday night.
Each year, a production company films each jump and landing from multiple angles. An event DVD is often available for purchase at Bridge Day and on their website with delivery around the end of the year. Please visit our video gallery for details of all Bridge Day videos since 1992. Portions of the raw footage filmed at each Bridge Day are typically shown at the Saturday night party. In past years, Will Forshay (Lemmings Videos), Triax Productions, Tequila Shot Films, Tom Sanders (Aerial Focus), Jump Cuts and numerous others have made videotapes of all the jumps made at Bridge Day. Several hours of raw video from the event will be shown at the post-jump party Saturday night.
When do I need to show up & check-in onsite?
All jumpers must show up at the Holiday Lodge in Oak Hill, WV by 4pm, Friday October 18, 2013 unless they opted for our late arrival option. Jumpers will have to show ID to collect their Bridge Day ID badges, which will allow them to jump and gain access onto the Bridge with their parachutes. Jumpers will also have to sign a waiver onsite, undergo a gear check, and fill out some basic emergency contact information. On Friday night at 7pm, there is a jumper briefing in the Holiday Lodge Oak Hill ballroom to discuss the rules of jumping at Bridge Day, amongst other important bits of information. This meeting is mandatory for new Bridge Day jumpers. Please review our Bridge Day schedule for further details.
Can I check-in late Friday or early Saturday morning?
All jumpers are expected to show up for onsite check-in by 4pm on Friday, October 18, 2013. If you've already purchased a jump pass, there are two late onsite check-in options depending on your familiarity with Bridge Day:
For those who have jumped at Bridge Day in the past:
- We realize that some jumpers who purchased jump passes online can't make the 4pm onsite check-in deadline, therefore, we'll re-open onsite check-in from 9pm-10pm on Friday, October 18 at the Holiday Lodge Oak Hill (Room #209). There will be a $35 late registration fee - no exceptions. Our time is very valuable, especially on Friday night! After 10pm, we're done handing out ID badges. If you think you might arrive late, your best choice is to take advantage of the next option.
- Jumpers that are familiar with the onsite check-in process at Bridge Day can purchase our late arrival option to avoid the late check-in fee. We can mail your ID badge to you before the event and you'll be able to show up Saturday morning at the exit point with your gear. If you already purchased a jump pass and would like to explore this option, please email us and we'll send you the paperwork.
- Since you've seen the LZ in the past, please make an attempt to attend our Friday 7pm all-jumper meeting although it's not mandatory.
For those who have NEVER jumped at Bridge Day (regardless of how many BASE jumps you may have):
- Any good BASE jumper will want to walk the landing zone before their jump. Arrive early on Thursday or Friday and drive to the LZ in order to evaluate obtacles, rocks, trees, water levels, and wind speeds. The road to the LZ closes on Friday night.
- It's mandatory for new Bridge Day jumpers to attend our Friday 7pm all-jumper meeting at the Holiday Lodge Oak Hill. If you can't attend this meeting, then you really need to evaluate whether a Bridge Day jump is right for you. If you don't get all the beta on projected winds, water levels, NPS rules, rappelling rope locations under the bridge, etc. then you are putting your life at risk as well as the continued success of the entire event.
- If you are making your first BASE jump, you must have a mentor or take one of our training courses. We won't even consider giving you a jump pass unless you've met this requirement - regardless of your story.
- We realize that some new Bridge Day jumpers who purchased jump passes online can't make the 4pm onsite check-in deadline, therefore, we'll re-open onsite check-in from 9pm-10pm on Friday, October 18 at the Holiday Lodge Oak Hill (Room #209). There will be a $35 late registration fee - no exceptions.
- If you missed the Friday 7pm mandatory meeting, then we might be able to find a staff member who can go over the meeting notes with you after you register in room #209 (mentioned above). This staff member may charge you a fee. You'll also be required to walk the LZ in the morning, which will possibly delay your jumping until later in the day.
Can I purchase a jump pass at the Holiday Lodge?
Only if we're not sold out already and you registered for a Bridge Day event since 2002, then you can purchase a jump pass onsite. Please visit us at the Vertical Visions jumper registration table at the Holiday Lodge Oak Hill.
Can I Ride a Mr. Bill To The River?
With the advent of some amazing new tricks often practiced in the sport of BASE jumping comes some concern from the organizers of Bridge Day. New tricks such as "Riding a Mr. Bill Down to the River" are not appropriate for Bridge Day according to the NPS. The NPS has mandated that you must attempt to deploy a parachute during your jump. Believe it or not, jumpers have held onto other jumpers until splashing down into the New River below.
What is the Landing Zone (LZ) like?
The LZ at Bridge Day can be intimidating for some new jumpers, but is considered to be "typical" for most seasoned BASE jumpers. Nonetheless, after inspecting the LZ firsthand, most new jumpers become very comfortable with it and the river is always an out if you come up short. The LZ is a gravel covered, mostly flat parking lot located on National Park Service (NPS) property below the bridge. If the New River water level is low, the shoreline will be exposed, offering a 20'x150' slightly angled runway that is fairly easy to land on. If the water level is high, you are left with two small areas to land. The main landing area is approximately 25'x75' while the smaller, less used landing area is 20'x50'. Don't forget, the river is always the softest area to land. There are several trees, small boulders, and a few hundred spectators near the landing area which have to be accounted for as well. Data shows that 71% of all landings are safely made on shore while approximately 28% are into the water. More photos of the landing zone are posted in the Landing Zone page.
Does the media need a permit to film the jumpers?
In order for the media to bring large cameras onto the bridge, they must obtain a media pass. For further information on obtaining media passes, please review the information located on our Media page. If you want to bring a small video or still camera onto the bridge, then a media pass is not required.
Can my family member(s) watch me jump?
Yes. Spectators can walk onto the bridge for free and get as close to the jump ramp as possible. Jumper family members who wish to take photos inside the fenced area around the jumper exit ramp will be permitted to do so for a very short period of time. While waiting in line, family members should stay close to the jumper and ask our staff member (the guy who guards the gate) for permission to enter the jumper exit area. Our staff member will likely give you permission to do so until the jumper has left the bridge. Do not overstay your welcome as our staff members routinely patrol the jumper exit area looking for people without proper credentials.
What items are not permitted on the bridge?
The following comes from the Bridge Day Commission: No backpacks, coolers, folding chairs, or large handbags. No dogs. No bicycles, skates, skateboards, strollers, or wagons. No weapons, fireworks, illegal drugs, or alcoholic beverages. You may ride your bike or walk down into the gorge, but keep in mind it is 4+ miles to the bottom and that you share the road with motorized vehicles. Have fun and we'll see you at Bridge Day.
Why does it cost so much to jump?
For starters, the local Chamber of Commerce charges us $15 per jumper each year (about $6000). Hmmm, shouldn't they be charging the spectators? Also, approximately $3000 goes to water rescue, $3300 in T-shirts, $1000 in transportation (vans), $2500 in pizza and beer for the party, $5000 went to the new exit ramp, $1500 in ID badges, $500-$1000 crane rental, conference room rental, competition prizes, advertising, internet fees, credit card fees (3%), phone calls, hotel rooms for staff, monthly meetings in Fayetteville, and THOUSANDS of man hours in labor. I almost forgot.....the NPS raised their landing zone fees from $660 to more than $2500 plus unknown travel expenses. I won't even mention that the NPS is now forcing us to purchase a $1,000,000 liability insurance policy. Add it all up and there isn't much leftover for all our hard work.
Who is permitted to jump from the diving board?
If you have the skills to right yourself after flipping from the diving board and you're wearing a helmet, feel free to jump the diving board. We won't be checking your logbook, so we trust that first and low-time jumpers will have enough common sense to perform at least 25 BASE jumps before they leap from the diving board.
Can I get a refund, sell, or transfer my slot? I registered to jump but cannot attend.
Unfortunately, jump slots are not refundable or transferable and no credit will be provided for future events. In past years, we were kind enough to offer refunds to jumpers who couldn't attend until we found ourselves overwhelmed with 40-50 refund requests in the weeks prior to Bridge Day. Jumpers were buying and selling slots like scalpers at a concert. Needless to say, we're already very busy in October and issuing refunds costs us time and money. By the time refunds or transfers are requested, we've already processed your order and prepared your ID badge and T-shirt. And we've already factored you into the purchase of food and drink for the party, shuttle rentals, water rescue, insurance, etc. In the past, we also had a big problem with people showing up on the day before Bridge Day wanting to use their friend's jump pass. We spent valuable time sorting out the mess, deleting jumpers from the database, and adding new ones. We even had jumpers call a few days before the event to check the weather forecast so they could decide to either attend the event or ask for a refund if the forecast was bad. Recently, we decided that we're going to make life a little simpler for everyone and not permit refunds, transfers, switching slots, or credit. So, if you plan on buying a jump slot, please plan on attending. We do offer refunds for military personnel who find out they're being deployed. Please review our Bridge Day refund policy for more details.
I can't attend Bridge Day, can you send me my T-shirt?
With more than 75 no shows every year for various reasons (injuries, family, work, etc.), it takes a substantial amount of time and money after the event to mail everyone their T-shirt. When Bridge Day is over, we'd prefer to relax for a few months and try to remind ourselves of what it's like to get eight hours of sleep each night. However, you can obtain your T-shirt if you have another jumper pick it up for you at Bridge Day (you must notify us via email well before the event).
Is there a rain date?
Unfortunately, no. In 2011, the BASE jumping organizer submitted a plan that would accommodate a rain date in a simple and effective manner. The plan addressed situations such as excessive winds and/or rain, high water in the landing area, and jumping stoppages that result in everyone not making at least one jump. The DOH denied our plan in September 2011. Bridge Day normally sees good weather and we often jump through high winds and light rain. However, odds are that we'll eventually have an issue. When that happens, feel free to read through all our rain date documentation.
What is a "qualified mentor" in regards to first BASE jump training?
If you're a first time BASE jumper and you have been or will be trained by a mentor in preparation for Bridge Day, please list your mentor's name and email address in the comments text box when purchasing your jump pass. Qualified mentors should be experienced BASE jumpers with 100+ BASE jumps performed from a variety of fixed objects. Your mentor must have attended and jumped at Bridge Day in the past. By purchasing a Bridge Day jump pass, you authorize us to contact your mentor to verify your training and your mentor's BASE jumping experience.
What size pilot chute should I use for specific delays?
Consolidated Rigging recommends the following:
0-2 second delay = 46" ZP
2-4 second delay = 42" ZP
4-7 second delay = 38" ZP
7-terminal = 32" ZP
Most jumpers will benefit from a 42" PC at Bridge Day.
Who are the main BASE gear manufacturers, instructors, and gear renters?
|Apex BASE||Asylum Designs||Consolidated Rigging, Inc.||Morpheus Technologies||Paul Iglin|
|Ulster County Containers & Canopies||Bad Seed BASE||Snake River BASE Academy||Mark Kruse (856-217-9778)|