Aizhai Bridge/Page 3

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The 2012 Aizhai Bridge BASE Jump Event!


On September 16th, 2012, China held its second ever bridge BASE jump event from the Aizhai Bridge. Almost 40 jumpers from 15 countries participated in the gathering that was officially titled The 2012 First Xiangxi Aizhai Bridge International Base Jump Festival.

The 5-day adventure also included sightseeing tours to the famous ancient city of Fenghuang as well as a visit to the spectacular Zhangjiajie and Tianmen Mountain National Parks. The cliffs and rock formations within these parks are as epic as anything in Yosemite National Park in the U.S. and were the inspiration for the look of the film Avatar.

The BASE jump portion of the event took place on September 16th and was seen by tens of millions of viewers on China's government owned CCTV as well as being broadcast on the giant Hunan Television network. The event actually began on September 15th with an exciting display of balance and athleticism as 2 Chinese tightrope walkers crossed more then 300 meters over the Aizhai canyon. The wind cables that stabilized the tightrope ironically caused a cancellation of the practice jump from the Aizhai Bridge leaving most of the BASE jumpers with just one jump each.

But if the BASE portion of the event left the jumpers hungry for more, the organizers lavish itinerary largely made up for it with multiple nights in 4 and 5 star hotels traveling with a group of the friendliest Chinese student volunteers you could ever meet. The BASE jumpers got a taste of the culture and people of a region in China that few foreigners ever get to visit. They were exposed to a landscape of Hunan Province that has so much to offer with many sure to return in the future with an eye towards taking in more scenery as well as jumping from objects both known and unknown.


Aizhai2012EventLogo.jpg


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Many of the jumpers checked out the Forbidden City in Beijing before the flight to Hunan Province. Image from Denise Sanders.


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Paul Brain, Peter Andexlinger and Michael Greer visit the huge Tiananmen Square. Image by Michael Greer.


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Mick Knutson gets a taste of scorpion at one of the food stalls near the Wangfujing Street mall. Image by Denise Sanders.


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Ken Miller takes a bite out of a cricket! Image by Denise Sanders.


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Henry Boger, Denise Sanders and Mick Knutson. Image from Denise Sanders.


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Michael Greer and Paul Brain prepare to check in for the flight to Changde, Hunan. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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At Changde Airport we were greeted by Xiao Mi from the Unitenex Company and on the right Xiao Hailun (Helen) from Jishou University. Image by Lika.


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Canadian jumpers Bertrand Cloutier and Lonnie Bissonnette. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The jumpers all received specific uniforms for each country they were from. There was a strong showing from Australia and Britain as the organization of the event originally began in 2011 by Australian and former BASE jumper Geoff Ollis. From left to right are Bradley "Patto" Patfield, Ken Miller, Chris "Douggs" McDougal, Gary Cunningham and Paul Brain. Image by Lika.


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Image from Jo Endrerud and Jennifer Dembinski.


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The small town of Aizhai was overrun by thousands of locals on the first day of the event. Image by Henry Boger.


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Hundreds of food vendors lined the main street into Aizhai. Image by Bertrand Cloutier.


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Jumpers Steph Davis and Jay Epstein enjoy a drink at a bar in the historic ancient city of Fenghuang. Steph is also an expert rock climber who has several ascent records in Yosemite, Moab and elsewhere. You can read one of her two books on the subject as well as visit her website and blog at http://www.highinfatuation.com/. Jay is one of the few experts of all things relating to Mexico BASE having organized several trips to the famous Cave of the Swallows as well as helicopter trips to the remote El Gigante cliff wall in Copper Canyon. Image by Denise Sanders.


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Russian jumper Andrey Boldyrev hitched a ride all the way from downtown Fenghuang back to the hotel. He brings his trusty skateboard with him wherever he goes. Image by Denise Sanders.


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Image by Jo Endrerud.


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The beautiful river that flows through Fenghuang. Image by Vados Pupkin.


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A view of the central bridge in Fenghuang. The bar we visited was located on the top level of the bridge. Image by Doug Frutos.


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Image by Denise Sanders.


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Who do you prefer, Bin Laden or Beiber? Anything and everything is for sale in Fenghuang. Image by Kerkko Halme.


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Image by Kerkko Halme.


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Image by Denise Sanders.


SEPTEMBER 15 - AIZHAI BASE EVENT OPENING CELEBRATION!


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Douggs walks through the DeHang Canyon gate to the VIP stage area. Image by Douggs.


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Douggs.


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Image by Adele.


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Adele.


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Image by Adele.


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Image by Adele.


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Image by Adele.


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Image by Adele.


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Brice and Doug Frutos surround themselves with the girls in red. Image by Doug Frutos.


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Time to check out the landing platform! Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Ramón Alejandro gives Bertrand Cloutier the first drop onto the landing platform! Image by Kerkko Halme.


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One of the highest tightrope walks ever took place on the first day of the event with Chinese walker Adili Hoshur and 2 of his assistants walking 300 meters above the DeHang River on a wire 1,400 meters long parallel to the Aizhai Bridge. They had no safety harnesses or leashes to save them if they lost their balance. Adili has already performed at least three other record breaking high wire acts in China including a walk 662 meters above the floor of the Tiankeng Cave in Hubei Province on August 22nd, 2003. Canadian Jay Chochrane crossed over the Qutang Gorge of the Yangtze River on a 402 meter high wire in 1995 and inspired Adili to repeat it again on June 23, 1997 with a much quicker walk time of just 13 minutes and 48 seconds. On October 6th, 2000 Adili also crossed between Mount Zhurong and Mount Furong in Hunan Province on a wire 436 meters high. These are the highest known wire walks in addition to Philippe Petit's famous 417 meter high walk between the two towers of the World Trade Center in New York City on August 7, 1974. In the United States, Nik Wallenda did a 457 meter high walk across the Little Colorado River canyon near Cameron, Arizona on June 23, 2013 with no safety leash.

You can see an entire CCTV produced documentary on Adili's amazing career at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RO7g8bf-PEM Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Adele.


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Image by Chinanews.com


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Image by Chinanews.com


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Image by Chinanews.com


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Image by Chinanews.com


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Image by Chinanews.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The most dramatic moment occurred when one walker crossed over the other. Image by Bertrand Cloutier.


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Cameramen were prepared to capture the practice jumps that would never happen due to a delay in getting the tightrope wind stay cables removed. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Denise Sanders, Suzanne Graham, Steph Davis, Marta Empinotti and Lika Borzova on the south end of the Aizhai Bridge. Image from Denise Sanders.


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Chinese jumper He Baoxian was always busy talking to the Chinese news media. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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U.S. jumper Peter Andexlinger sports one of the many official Bridge Day logos that have been created for the yearly event that takes place in West Virginia. Image by Adele.


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Russian jumper Lika has been to numerous BASE events especially the Kjerag Helliboogie, Voss Extremesportsweek, the Ostankino Tower Event and the World BASE Race among others. She is a member of Team Gravity Workshop and JoyRiders and is sponsored by Skykarma and Skullcandy. Image by Adele.


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Venezuelan native Ana Isabel Dao began to BASE jump with her dad and is one of the few women to have jumped from Angel Falls as well as the even more remote Baffin Island. She is also the unofficial videographer of the Aizhai Event. Her previous videos have won her awards in several film festivals. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Jason Bell has been the organizer of West Virginia's annual Bridge Day BASE event for over ten years. Thousands of BASE jumpers have taken leaps from the famous New River Gorge Bridge since the event first began in 1981. Jason is also an accomplished videographer with BASE footage that has appeared on numerous television shows as well as photos in newspapers and magazines. For the 2012 Bridge Day Event he introduced a special launch platform that he designed and built that catapulted BASE jumpers off the side of the New River Gorge Bridge. Aizhai is the second bridge he has organized a BASE jump event at. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Leander Lacey.


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Leander Lacey is a stunt coordinator from South Africa. Image by Adele


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Gary Cunningham is the head of the Australian BASE association and the organizer of the yearly KL Tower event in Malaysia. In 2005 Gary set a world record by jumping 133 times in a 24-hour period from the KL Tower. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Canadian jumper Bertrand Cloutier. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Los Angeles native and Hollywood film producer Henry Boger. Image by Henry Boger.


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A local policeman admires Brice's matching day-glo chute straps. The Washington State native has jumped the Cave of the swallows and El Gigante in Mexico as well as many locations in Europe and the United States. Image by Brice.


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Image from Denise Sanders.


SEPTEMBER 16 - AIZHAI BASE EVENT JUMP DAY!

After the cancellation of the practice jump on Saturday, the event finally kicked into high gear on Sunday.


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Image by Ana Isabel Dao.


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The morning bus ride to the bridge. Image by Jimmy Pouchert.


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Image by Jimmy Pouchert.


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Once again the jumpers became concerned that the tightrope cables had not been removed. An hour later it was confirmed the wires were no longer within the landing area but the delay caused the broadcast to be pushed back to 3pm. Image by Ana Isabel Dao.


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Image from Denise Sanders.


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Jillian Weber and Paul Brain. Image by Joe Weber.


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Image by Joe Weber.


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Several jumpers check out the south side tightrope platform. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image from Denise Sanders.


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Just 4 more hours till showtime! Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Michael Greer.


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Andrey argues hard and gets approval for a practice jump prior to the televised jump at 3pm. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Patto.


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Andrey takes the first leap of the day! Patto immediately follows him. Image by Adele.


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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A helicopter lands to take Andrey and Patto back up to the bridge. Image by Patto.


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Image by Patto.


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A rare view of the bridge more then 300 meters above the town.Image by Patto.


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Image by Patto.


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Lonnie and Bert enjoy some time with volunteer Xiao Hailun (Helen) who was one of the most energetic and upbeat Chinese girls I have ever met. Image by Lonnie Bissonnette.


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Douggs marches alongside a group of Chinese military personnel. Image by Leander Lacey.


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British jumper Paul Brain and Russian Vados Pupkin. Paul has traveled extensively having jumped in Australia, the UK, France, Norway, Malaysia, Portugal and Italy. Vados is no stranger to China as he has trekked around the country on and off the year prior to the Aizhai event, traveling like a nomad to seek out new cliffs and bridges to conquer. You can see some video footage of his China travels including leaps from the Balinghe Bridge as well as an incredible 7 jumps from the Siduhe Bridge - currently the world's highest span. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com

http://youtu.be/Q-snL4EStmM.


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Image by Ana Isabel Dao.


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Image by Ana Isabel Dao.


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The inside of the custom made "Jumpmobile" by Sunward Equipment. Image by Ana Isabel Dao.


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Image by Douggs.


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Denise Sanders and He Baoxian. Image by Ana Isabel Dao.


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Image by Ana Isabel Dao.


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Image by Adele.


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Image by Adele.


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Image by Adele.


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Image by Adele.


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Adele.


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Image by Adele.


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Image by Lika.


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Ian Chen helps with Canadian jumper Lonnie Bissonnette's wheelchair. Ian was the lead Chinese student volunteer of the event and enjoyed the challenge of interacting with so many foreigners as he is attending college to obtain a degree in travel and tourism. From time to time Ian also had to endure sporadic complaints and frustrations some of the jumpers had. Despite this occasional "abuse", Ian enjoyed the experience so much he hopes he can be a leader again for any future BASE events in China. Ian would finally like to say "Passports Everyone!" Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Canadian Lonnie Bissonnette was the star of the event with his amazing wheelchair BASE jump. An accident at the Perrine Bridge left him unable to walk but did not affect his spirit to keep on jumping! He is the world's only paraplegic BASE jumper to jump from all 4 official BASE objects including a bridge, tower, cliff and building. You can see his website at http://www.lonniebissonnette.com/ Image by by Bertrand Cloutier.


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Image by Bertrand Cloutier.


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Image by Unknown.


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Image by Andrey Boldyrev.


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Image by Andrey Boldyrev.


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Image by Bertrand Cloutier.


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Image by Unknown.


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Image by Adele.


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Image by Unknown.


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Image by Adele.


Click on Page 4 for more Aizhai 2012 BASE jump event images!

This entry has 4 pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
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