SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) – Since the tragic death a 24-year-old Holly Brittsan, there’s been a lot of talk surrounding BASE jumping and the dangers that come with it.
Brittsan was BASE jumping off of Rock Canyon when her jump took a fatal turn. She died before emergency responders could even get her to the ambulance.
But after speaking with avid BASE jumpers, this is a known risk that comes with the thrill.
“It's just one of those factors that sometimes it's going to happen, you just have to be ready for it,” said Suzanne Graham.
Graham is a Utah professional skier, ski jumper, and BASE jumper. While out on a road trip she took a few minutes to speak to ABC 4 by phone.
She admits she gets asked a lot why she BASE jumps and says it’s simply what makes her tick.
“It's something that just makes my heartbeat. It's something that I'm so wildly passionate about. When I don't do it, I just, it sucks!,” said Graham.
But, behind this passion is five years of experience, some 600 sky dives and nearly 500 BASE jumps.
“Our gear is nice enough that I have 100% confidence that it's going to work. It's just sometimes you have deal with something unexpected and you have to be ready for that,” said Graham.
Graham understands that at any moment what happened to Brittsan could very well happen to her.
“And that's the scary part is that it can be random,” said Brittsan.
Graham says Brittsan likely experienced a 180. This is when a chute opens at 180 degress and directs the jumper back towards the cliff. This is a danger that is almost unavoidable and extremely difficult to correct.
“I don't think she did anything wrong. That's the scary part about it,” said Graham.
The Utah BASE jumping community is very tight knit. They’re mourning Brittsan today and protecting her memory as an excellent jumper.
There are BASE jumping clinics to learn how. Most require a minimum of 200 sky dives and up to 500 sky dives before they’ll even consider training you for BASE jumping.