After an arduous climb up to the top of a waterfall or massive cliff, are you feeling brave enough to take a flying leap from the peak of your destination? How about if it means that you have to jump through narrow crevices into icy cold waters, risking your life because of the height of the jump and the chance that you’re going to pummel straight into the side of that cliff? Some crazy people out there aren’t afraid to take these chances, or are at least brave enough to overcome those fears. Here’s a look at nine of the places where they go to do those insane jumps.
La Quebrada Cliffs, Mexico
La Quebrada Cliffs: Cliff jumpers aren’t all crazy and appreciate that it’s much safer to jump into a deep lake or a waterfall’s plunge pool. But in Mexico they do things differently: seemingly health and safety was of little concern when someone decided to turn the La Quebrada cliffs into a diving spot. Not only do cliff jumpers here have to contend with all the usual variables, height, rocks, wind, but they also have to account for open ocean swells filling up and draining out the water levels. In other words, if your cliff jump was badly timed you stand a good chance of hitting something other than water.
But it doesn’t stop there! A group called the La Quebrada Cliff Divers perform cliff jumps nightly, in the dark. They make it look easy, especially since they jump with torches to put on a really cool show. In reality, however, it’s anything but easy and they’re risking their lives every time that they jump. Some of the jumps these guys pull off are just insane: there’s not much more you can say about it.
Wolfgangsee: When I watched these videos of cliff diving at Wolfgangsee I was literally gobsmacked: what type of person considers cliff jumping from these extreme heights a ’sport’? Suffice to say the divers at the Red Bull Wolfgangsee Cliff Diving contest really pushed the envelope with incredible dives from mind-blowing heights of around 100ft. Fortunately, there are various jumps so you can scale to the top and leap into the waters below or you can work your way up to that kind of true fear.
Ponte Brolla, Switzerland
Ponte Brolla: This is a popular cliff diving spot in Switzerland but that doesn’t mean that it’s for the average cliff jumping tourist. It is a spot that’s best for professionals as evidenced by the fact that the World High Diving Federation held their European Cliff Diving Championships here last summer when participants performed somersaults, flying leaps and armstands to the delight of the audience. Not all has been pretty here, though: Ponte Brolla has been the site of several serious accidents among professional divers. The height of the jump, the jaggedness of the rocks and the iciness of the water all combine to make this a very dangerous cliff diving spot to risk your life.
Red Rocks Park, Vermont
Red Rocks Park: It’s not just the icy chill of the waters here that make this a dangerous (but popular) place to go extreme cliff jumping, there’s also the 80ft plunge straight into the water below. Many of these jumps are between narrow rock walls, adding to the already stratospheric danger levels. One jumper here landed parallel to the water after a ninety foot jump, breaking his back and requiring a six-month recovery after surgery!
Tar Creek Falls, California
Tar Creek Falls: It takes a long time to hike up to the top of the 70ft waterfall, so you’re exhausted before you even make the jump. While it’s considered quite a high jump, what really makes it dangerous is how the layout of the land makes it difficult to jump more than a few feet away from the side of the cliff and risk slamming into it as you fall.
Angora Lakes, Nevada
Angora Lakes, Nevada: Some people make it look easy to somersault off of the sides of 70ft cliffs at this Nevada cliff jumping spot, but some unfortunate people also don’t walk away unharmed. This has got to be one of the most insane and outright dangerous places to cliff jump but at least you can fit in a backflip on the way down!
Lighthouse Park, British Columbia
Lighthouse Park: Most people visit Lighthouse Park in British Columbia to check out the massive trees that grow in the forest and down on the waterfront. However, more adventurous people flock to Lighthouse Park to check out the massive jumps that are possible off the cliffs and into the lake.