“Oh, shit. The security guard is right there!” said HP. We were rounding the stairwell from the parking garage to the main building. I could hear the common Latin music that is played throughout this city. I stepped in front of my friend, and peeked around the corner. I looked back at HP and then ran up the next flight of stairs, just hoping that he’d get the cue. One of my favorite quotes from the late Dwain Weston ran through my head, “Risking it all…for nothing.”
The mission (of going BASE jumping in Medellin) had started at 4:30AM, with my roommate knocking angrily on my bedroom door. My alarm hadn’t gone off. I went to the balcony and told HP to give me a few minutes. Not long after, Mario drove up, blaring Green Day from the radio. I finished getting everything together, my rig, the camera, and all of the needed accessories for a base jump. I went down to the car, and we started through the empty streets of Envigado.
We got to our destination about 10 minutes later. During the drive, we discussed the timeline of the mission. HP and I entered the property from the far corner and stayed back away from the security building. Finding a way down the slippery, muddy hill took way more time than I wanted, and keeping HP in the right spots to keep from being seen without being loud was just a headache.
Down the hill, up another hill, up the ladder and into a window on the first floor of the parking garage, and we were in. We rested for a few moments in a small cement room, and discussed our plan. We started up the stairs, but soon found a barricade. We went down a level, and back up using the car ramp. It may have made us more exposed, but it was better than disturbing anything in the building.
As we got to the main building, we found where the one of the security guards was. He was on the top level of the parking garage. He was listing to some soft music. We ducked back into a corner, and HP explained to me what the security guard was doing. I made up my mind and just ran passed, betting the chances were slim that the guard would look in that direction at that single moment.
We got up into the main building, and for half a second considered taking the elevator. I shot down the idea, knowing that once we got to the top I wanted time to relax and set up the perfect jump. Twenty-four flights of stairs later, we were walking through the open doorway to the roof.
The sun was rising over Medellin. It was bright enough to illuminate the mist that was building over the city. We were high in the hills, so visibility was good still good for us. We had the perfect view of the clouds rolling through the city below. We took a few moments to take in the view, and call down to the get-away driver.
Mario had been waiting for us down the hill. I should have told him to drive around until we called him because the police had been called to come check out his idle car. The police thought he was up to something malicious and didn’t believe him when he said someone was going to jump off a building. They basically wanted him to prove it.
When we got the call that the police were going to watch, I was hesitant at first, but I finally decided it would be acceptable. I geared up, got everyone into position, and then climbed up on the edge of the building. I was so surprised at how solid I felt on the edge. I was scared I might fall accidentally, but my balance was spot on.
I stared down at the corner of the building, trying to figure out the exact steps I would need to take. I started counting.
Wait, I need to look up, not down, when I hit the edge. I looked up and found a spot to look at.
I took two steps and launched myself from the building. I waited a half a second, and then threw the pilot chute that would open my parachute. As I waited for the rig to open, I stared at the ground rushing up at me. I kept everything in position and kept solid. The parachute opened with a crack, and I immediately turned into my landing pattern. There wasn’t time to do anything else.
Two quick turns, and I was landing in front of Mario. The police were a few feet away in the street, amazed. I landed, waved at the police, and started putting my things away. One officer came and took a picture of me. I looked up to see the security guards on the parking level, obviously talking about the jump.
We quickly discussed where to wait for HP, but we looked over and saw him climbing down the ladder. We piled in the car and went to have a nice 6:30AM breakfast on a beautiful Sunday morning.