Wingsuit flying is not an everyday past time activity. Like many of other extreme sports, proximity flying is not for the faint-hearted. It’s also not something you just dabble in, like a hobby or a sport per se, it’s a way of living life. There’s something special about extreme BASE jumping, but wingsuit flying simply takes the crown as the top extreme activity out there. The incredible thrill, the terrifying speed, and awesome locations are simply unmatched by any other sport.
Just like every other type of BASE jumping, wingsuit flying is all about the location: you’ll need to find a great spot to jump from. Obviously, you can jump from a plane, but that kills almost all the excitement. Let’s face it, wingsuit flying needs a steep cliff, a gorge or a deep canyon like a fish needs water and video footage, which can easily be captured by action cameras, like the Polaroid Cube.
The best wingsuit flying locations have some things in common: they are mountainous areas which feature anything from steep slopes, ravines, and cliffs, to deep canyons, gullies and valleys. Preferably, you should go for an area that has most of them – they all make the jump truly unique and exciting. Just like surfers who are always chasing the best waves to ride, wingsuit flying enthusiasts are on a constant lookout for the next great ravine or canyon to fly through.
Let’s check out some of the most exciting wingsuit flying destinations in the world:
- Mont Blanc – France
Standing at 15,778 feet above sea level, Mont Blanc is the highest peak in the Alps and attracts thousands of hikers and adventurers each year. Most of them, however, just climb the peak, take a selfie, and go back to its base (obviously, on foot). Wingsuit flying enthusiasts, on the other hand, scale the top of the Aiguille de la Republique (The Needle of the Republic), more than 11,200 feet high up in the air. After an exhausting 8-hour climb, daredevils turn their helmet cameras on and make their jump. The descent, sometimes reaching speeds of up to 100 mph, takes just 3 minutes to complete and takes them just 20 feet away from the rocky cliffs.
- Jungfrau – Switzerland
The Swiss Alps are dotted with hundreds of high peaks, deep valleys and spectacular cliffs, many great spots for wingsuit flying, but Jungfrau is often regarded as the best place to jump from. The Maiden, as it is known in English, is more than 13,000 feet high and overlooks the massive Swiss Plateau, a relatively low flat ground. The first section of the jump takes daredevils along an almost vertical cliff of about 150 meters and then over the moderately wooded slopes. The total flying distance is more than 3,400 meters, making the Jungfrau jump the longest wingsuit flying experience in the world.
- Stryn – Norway
Norway’s rocky fjords and high peaks attract tens of thousands of tourists every year. There are literally tens of excellent wingsuit flying locations across the country, but a special peak in the Jostedalsbreen National Park takes the top spot. The jump starts with a vertical drop of more than 200 meters, takes you over a breathtaking waterfall and continues over a crystal clear mountain lake. The whole experience last just under 2 minutes but the views are simply extraordinary, especially if the weather is sunny (a somewhat rare occurrence in this area).
- Yosemite National Park – United States
Both Yellowstone and Yosemite National Parks have some great wingsuit flying destinations, but a special spot in Yosemite is simply mind-blowing. Taft Point, just west of Glacier Point, offers fantastic views towards the Yosemite Valley and El Capitan. The great fissures are fabulous jump points and, every year, tens of wingsuit flying enthusiasts come to take a plunge. At its highest point, the vertical drop is more than 700 feet, making it a perfect jumping location. The winding valley, with its multiple geological formations, makes the flying experience truly unique. Although the fall is considered relatively short, only 2,700 meters, the unique landscape makes up for it.
Flaviu Mircea is a photographer and daredevil who loves sharing his thrilling experiences with his readers. If you would like to learn more about Flaviu, you can check out his Google+ profile.