This project was inspired by a decade long deep friendship formed between two of the early BASE jumpers who met working on a short documentary film consisting of at the time a who's who of early BASE jumping. One of these jumpers was Jonathan Bowlin, a well known big wall rock climber who became a great friend, and over time true soul mates, ultimately separated by a great tragedy.
This project and website founded by:
JD Walker - BASE #37, AZ BASE #1, Grand Canyon #1
Being at the right place at the the time in southern California during 1981/82, during the formative first years of BASE jumping, a number of friends were jumping off of the then being built Crocker Bank Building (now the Wells Fargo Building) was inspired to try it myself. Jumping regular skydiving gear, slider down, lines figure eight'd in the tray, short bridal with small pilot chute and somehow got away making my first successful BASE jump, despite a 150 degree turn and striking the building. This was a lone jump with no assistance on a busy Friday morning (9am) landing in the traffic on Flower St without getting ran over or caught by the cops. A few weeks later on Memorial Day weekend 1982 my buddy Nick Bender BASE #33, went to jump a 1,000ft smoke stack in Arizona that we heard about. We climbed it in the dark Saturday morning and jumped from the 750ft level landing in a scrap pile of metal causing many cuts and bruises, but not so bad as to prevent us from driving to Lake Powell, AZ the next day and jumping off the 700ft bridge behind the dam, where upon we were arrested. We had to spend the remainder of the weekend in jail, waiting to see a judge on Tuesday morning, who sentenced us to time served and $168 fine. Soon after we attempted to jump a 400ft cliff Nick had found West of Phoenix, but were winded out. I returned in early July 1982 and jumped the site completing my BASE cycle, where upon I called Carl Boenish and told him of my adventures and received my BASE number (#37). Thus began my BASE jumping career.
Over the next Decade, I became hardcore, constantly scouting for and jumping new objects, of which there were numerous cliff sites in the Southwest United States which my buddy Nick and I pioneered and helped many jumpers from all over the world obtain their cliff jump for their BASE number. During these early formative years of BASE jumping, I was constantly seeking ways to make our gear better and safer, dedicated to BASE jumping versus traditional Skydiving gear. Along the way I met a lifetime's worth of individuals, who inspired me in many way. After many years of this lifestyle with a young family (wife + 3 kids), I had to get serious and more stable having to get a (real) job with good insurance which came in real handy more than once, especially after the event that inspired this project - the accident that killed my dear friend Jon and horrifically injured me.
You don't appreciate your life, your ability to walk or even see, until you have been through the trauma of being in a wheel chair, a life of surgeries, physical therapy and most recently, severe vision loss caused by a rare neurological optic disorder. Imagine you fly, drive, ride motorcycles etc... and you wake up one day, out of the blue, and that is all gone (On the bright side it's gonna make a great song). I am so grateful to be alive, to be able to walk, to be able to enjoy my family, my buddy Jon got robbed of these things at too early of an age.
I hope you enjoy this site, the story and the music.