On January 18, 1981, two adventurers, Phil Smith and Phil Mayfield, parachuted from the top of a skyscraper in Houston, Texas. With this jump, they became the world’s first BASE jumpers—the first people to successfully jump from all four of the extreme sport’s namesake structures—buildings, antennas, spans, and the Earth.BASE jumping only gained a name in the 1970s, but daredevils have been using parachutes to jump off tall structures for much longer. In 1966, skydivers jumped off the famous peak of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park, California. (Cliffs and mountains are the “Earth” in BASE jumping.) Today, BASE jumpers have plummeted from the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world; an antenna tower near Chernobyl, Ukraine, nicknamed the “Russian Woodpecker”; the Sydney Harbor Bridge (a “span”) in Sydney, Australia; and even a peak in the Andes, Cerro El Plomo, Chile.BASE jumping is incredibly dangerous and often illegal. One study, conducted in 2002, found that one of every 60 BASE jumpers died as a result of the jump. The National Park Service briefly issued permits for BASE jumping from places such as El Capitan, but banned the practice after less than a year. Jumping from buildings, antenna towers, and bridges (spans) is usually prohibited, because of the financial and physical danger to nearby residents, workers, or commuters.
Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry adventure Noun
exciting or unusual experience.
structure through which electromagnetic signals are received.
to prohibit, or not allow.
steep wall of rock, earth, or ice.
Encyclopedic Entry: cliff commuter Noun
person who travels between home and work.
reckless or daring person.
extreme sport Noun
non-traditional athletics that are often considered dangerous.
having to do with money.
forbidden by law.
device which allows a person to glide down safely from a great elevation.
the very top.
official, written permission to do something. Sometimes called a license.
to fall sharply.
to disallow or prevent.
person who lives in a specific place.
very tall building.
system of organization.