On the morning of September 16, commercial housepainter Danny Weiland strapped on a chute, climbed over the railing of the 486-foot-high Perrine Bridge in Twin Falls, Idaho, and jumped. After touching down at his landing area, he pulled off the BASE rig, clambered back up the nearly vertical canyon wall, rode a bike to the middle of the bridge, and jumped again — and for the next 24 hours, he kept doing it. When it was all said and done, Weiland, 31, had leaped from the iconic span 61 times.
“I’ve been painting for 10 years, so I deal with monotonous repetition pretty positively,” Weiland quips. “It can be a good thing.”
The record for the most BASE jumps in one day is held by National Guardsman Dan Schilling, who flew off the Perrine Bridge 201 times in 2006. But Schilling used a crane to transport him back to the top. Weiland, a part-time fitness trainer, was after a more challenging variation: the most unassisted jumps.
“I work in the fitness industry,” says Weiland, “so the allure of hiking that much vertical on top of making that many jumps hits closer to home than just getting hoisted up.”
On the appointed day, more than 20 friends and volunteers supplied him with food, repacked his rigs, and returned his bicycle to its starting point. Early on, he landed in the Snake River instead of on land, and a friend had to bolt to a nearby sporting goods store to buy Weiland new sneakers. Later, during a climb back up, he had to wait 20 minutes after an unexpected encounter. “It’s 2:30 in the morning,” he says, “and I’m throwing sticks and dirt at a porcupine to get him out of my way.” But it was his stomach that came closest to doing him in. “After eight hours, I didn’t have much of an appetite,” he says. “My body was like, ‘I don’t know what you’re doing, but I’m not super-stoked about it.’ I would put something in my mouth and get a gag reflex.”
A second wind after his 30th jump helped Weiland cruise to the finish line, breaking the previous unassisted record — 57 jumps, made by Miles Daisher in 2005 — by four jumps. In total, Weiland climbed the same distance (29,000 feet) as if he’d scaled Mount Everest.
Toward the end, Weiland added one more twist. In June, his friend and mentor, John Van Horne, had died while BASE jumping in France. On his 58th jump, Weiland hoisted himself over the railing, pulled out a handful of Van Horne’s ashes, and tossed them off the bridge. “I said, ‘We have one last jump together,’ and that was the one that broke the record,” Weiland says. “It was a very special way to do something that was already cool.”
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