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Mountain.RU (M.RU): Is Jumping from Ostankinskaya TV Tower (within the framework of BASE festival) a part of training before the expedition to Greenland?
Valery Rozov (V.R.): It is interesting and useful to jump from such a tower. But we have completely different objectives and conditions in Greenland: higher elevation, the absent of good landing place Ė screes and lakes. These jumps from the tower can be considered testing of equipment.
MRU: Why there hasnít been any BASE-jumping done in Greenland before? Is it because of the remoteness of the region?
V.R.: This is one of the reasons. We have a flight via Amsterdam, the ticket alone is very expensive $1800! We have to sail in a boat for three days along the cost, then turn SE Ė a real voyage! Then we arrive in Tasermiut fjord Ė the Base Camp of this region where our summit is situated. Getting there is complicated and expensive. To crown it, the peaks are situated inland, away from the fjord, and their summits are not table-shaped, when there are steep faces with easy approach to the summit from behind.
MRU: Abbraviation B.A.S.E. means Building, Antenna, Span, Earth. So what is the peculiarity of BASE jumping?
V.R. In the very beginning of BASE-jumping history you were considered to be a cool BASEr if you have jumped from all those objects. Now the main difference between BASE and parachute is that you jump from a stable object. Parachute jumper has air streams which he uses as support. In BASE jumping there are no points of support. So BASE is a combination of coordination and concentration skills.
Psychologically BASE is more challenging. You have one parachute, you can open it 2-3 seconds before the landing. Having tried different extreme sports, I think BASE is beyond everything else. May be it isnít the most dangerous kind of sport, but surely the most extreme one because of psychological tension and time concentration.
MRU: How did you start BASE jumping?
V.R.: The first time I saw it, it was some French parachute jumper. He was jumping in the Alps, from some wall, with all his climbing gear Ė practically with pitons. I was impressed!
It was difficult to start doing this sport back in 1995 in our country. But I knew I would do it.
I combine BASE with mountains, jumping in the mountains Ė is incomparable pleasure, itís a combination of several kinds of activity: hiking or climbing in picturesque surroundings, and then intense action. And after it Ė relaxation in some bar with your friends, talking over how you survived this time
MRU: Lately there have been much talking over basersí non-professionalism. Whatís the problem? What should a person do to be ready for a jump?
V.R.: The problem is that nobody can control you. From the moment you make a start you can rely entirely on yourself, you canít be rescued or prompt.
MRU: So, the problems are psychological?
V.R.: Yes. You have to do easy but quick and right movements under a psychological stress. Everyone experiences a stress because of instinct of self-preservation. Everyone experiences fear. But some can control it and make right actions, and others cannot.
And another stumbling point of BASE is its seeming simplicity. Lately BASE has been in the focus of attention as a cool (in fact) sport. It seems that the basic parachute skills are enough to try and do it.
And it can be enough for a jump, but when the poor experience meets an extraordinary situation there happen accidents. Itís difficult to stop people when they want to risk, to become heroes. Actually, there are few places where you can learn to BASE jump. Not many want too take the responsibility.
Very often the beginners are afraid to come to BASErs and ask to teach them to jump. Very often they try to do it themselves, the outcome can be tragic.
MRU: What do you do to shoot a cool jump?
V.R.: In this case shooting doesnít differ much from an ordinary one. The action is being shot from all angles: going, climbing, putting on our equipment, landing, packing our parachutesÖ The main difference is with shooting in the air, it requires great skills.
You have to shoot from 3 or even 2,5 meters away from the other person, itís difficult to fall so close to the object, at a low altitude, and coordinate simultaneous opening of the parachute. Besides your skills you have to trust your partner. While shooting you can overlook the moment when your partner opens his parachute and you can collide. So you have to talk every movement before the jump. Itís very difficult but interesting to shoot BASE.
MRU: Do you prepare somehow for the climbing part of the expedition to Greenland?
V.R.: No special training, just general fitness. I am training all the time, jumping, so I am always on form. We climbed the TV tower (360m) in 18 minutes (but without our parachutes). When I was young, I could gain 500m in the same time.
MRU: You are a Master of Sports in Mountaineering, arenít you?
V.R.: Yes, and besides Champion and Prize-winner of our country in mountaineering several rimes. Iíve been professionally in mountaineering for 12 years. I practically lived in the mountains. The most interesting of my recollections are from the USSR Championships of 1989-92. We had to climb the maximum number of peaks in 15-20 days. The speed was unbelievable Ė we did 8 routes of the 6th (highest) degree of difficulty in 2 weeks. It took us 6 hours to climb Hergiani route on Donguz-Orun, we did it almost without a rope. At those times we had a great team of enthusiasts, top sportsmen: Sheinov, VolodinÖ
I took to paragliding while climbing, I began paragliding in the mountains, then due to my brother I got interested in parachutesÖ
I like to think of something new, to find completely new combinations, no matter how silly they may seem.
Itís difficult to get to ďRed GaluasĒ multy-sport races now, but 10 years ago this kind of combination seemed stupid. Though, BASE jumping will scarcely ever become such a mass kind of sports because of its potential risks, but..
MRU: Are there many people practicing BASE climbing?
V.R.: No, there are not many such people. I heard, somebody has climbed Trango by a descent route and called it BASE-climbing. There have been ascents of El Capitan with BASE-jumping Ė hard, but conditions were different, much warmer.
There havenít been any Big Wall ascents done in real mountains. There havenít been any BASE jumps done in Greenland as far as I know. So it looks like Iíve found my own non-jumped island BASE-jumpers consider it very cool if you find an object and you are the first to jump from it. And itís more then an object this time Ė a whole island Ė the largest in the world.
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