Dumb and Dumberer – How Not to Jump Rope

Somewhere, Dan Osman is proud. Of course, somewhere, Dan Osman is dead, killed jumping almost 1,000 feet on a climbing rope, which unfortunately failed to catch him at the bottom of his jump. But Osman’s spirit is clearly alive in these yahoos, who set up a Tyrolean traverse outside Moab, Utah, and proceeded to jump.

Unlike bungee jumping, where the bungee stretches and slows your momentum and the shock before reaching bottom, rope jumping uses climbing ropes, which, while dynamic, aren’t made for the kind of shock that comes from a huge drop like this. Osman prestretched his ropes to make them more like bungees, but one rope jumper, Bobby Tarver, was killed when he failed to do the same and his rope did its own stretching — right into a wall.

Rope jumping is so crazy, even Dean Potter shunned it. “I did … one jump and I didn’t like it,” he told Outside in 1999. “My climbing has always been about control, so throwing myself off the rocks like that — thinking maybe I live, maybe I die — pretty much freaked me out.” (Of course, times change.)

This video is not, despite the rampant Red Bulling, a Red Bull ad. Even Red Bull might draw the line at hucking cans into the desert. (Or maybe not.) But certainly, this is the other side of “it gives you wings.”

Ah, well, watch it for yourself and make your own judgment. I’m not sure which is more shocking, the flippant attitude toward life and death or filming one’s self drilling holes into canyonlands, tossing cans into the abyss, or trundling living juniper bushes off a cliff. Surely, the statute of limitations hasn’t run out on that yet. The only question is whether this is state or federal jurisdiction…

{ 10 comments…read them below or write one }

  • James Edward Mills

    Thanks for your comments on this Steve. Truly. I was all set to bash this video on my own blog when I decided that maybe I was missing the intrinsic value of an adventure sport I know nothing about. It just goes to show that I have to trust my instincts and call them as I see them. On the face of it the spectacle revealed in this video seem no less innocuous than other death defying sports like BASE jumping, Big Wall free climbing or highlining. But when you drill in so much hardware and display such a blatant disregard for the sanctity of the natural environment it’s hard to look at rope jumping as anything short of self-aggrandizing foolishness. At least when BASE Jumpers, Big Wall Climbers and highliners go splat on the canyon floor there’s a lot less cable and fixed ropes to remove and fewer bolts to pull.

  • sinuhe

    Completely ruined Ennio Morricone’s “The Ecstasy of Gold”… Okay, didn’t completely ruin it, ruined it for a day or two, in fact I’m surprised they were savvy enough to know about such a grand track.

  • Kevin Steele

    Yeah, the drilling and trashing is bad stuff.

    So…I’m celebrating my 20th wedding anniversary tomorrow and 20 years ago today (!) we took 50m climbing ropes to a location just outside SB where…Actually I can’t say “we” ’cause I was blindfolded at the time and was surreptitiously transported to the spot where we climbed the metal framework of the bridge…in any case we jumped at midnight with the new moon. A rope and a looser backup rope, both were well used. We jumped about 10m to the side so there was a bit of an arc. Way fun, scary as hell.

  • Craig Rowe

    The most compelling thing about this video is the realization of just how much gear a Ford Explorer can hold. Impressive.

    Okay, that’s not true; I have plenty to say. But in all honesty, I’m not thinking anything that hasn’t already been thought about this collection of soon-to-be canyon splatter.

    I do want to point out just how gloriously cheesy they appeared with the whole “Red Bull-slam-before-we-jump” gag. I mean, seriously? What, no barb wire bicep tats to flash to the camera? Good luck next time fellas.

    • steve casimiro Post author

      I find myself thinking it’s going to be revealed as an absolutely brilliant parody, but then I realize: not.

  • Andy

    Oh my god–they tied off to the middle of the traverse line. I wonder if they have any idea how much force they were putting on their anchors?

  • Bryce

    while the cans and trashing are bad stuff, all of your comments regarding the jumping itself show how little you all know about the equipment and rigging involved in something like this. While the guys be douchebags, it takes skill to plan and properly, yes properly, rig a jump like this. Forces on anchors and tyrolean lines are completely manageable with proper vector angles and tension. Impact forces are negligable after the shock obsorbsion on the dynamic jump lines and even the beefy tyroleans.

    Your comment “climbing ropes aren’t designed for the shock that comes with suge a huge fall” is completely unfounded and untrue. A 200 ft fall on 200 ft of rope offers signifigantly less shock load than a 4 ft fall on 2 ft of rope. The more rope out, the more dynamic qualities the rope has to obsorb energy. A climbing rope is designed to hold several factor 2 falls (twice as long of a fall as rope is available in the system) before failure. All of these jumps are all well below factor 1 falls considering the energy obsorbed by the tyrolean.

    Anyway, douchebags or not, from a technaical aspect, the idea is sound. Just don’t jump off a 200 ft cliff with 190 ft of rope :)

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