July 19, 2019

Interlaken, Switzerland – Canyon Jumping- Channeling my Inner Daredevil

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If you thought skydiving, bungee jumping, or running with the bulls was scary, you’ve never heard of canyon jumping. I hadn’t either until I started planning my trip to Switzerland. Apparently they only do this adrenaline-rushing death defying free fall in two places in the world: Interlaken, Switzerland and Queenstown, New Zealand.

The Original Alpin Raft Company in Interlaken is known for servicing the canyon jump year round, sending a van to pick up the jumpers at their accommodation. Although I am petrified of heights, I had considered making the jump with some of my friends, even at 129 francs a person, which for a backpacker, is a bit expensive. I wanted to mainly make the jump to prove to all of my friends and family back home I could do it, but in the end I decided I may have a heart attack in mid air if I threw myself off of a cliff, and I’m too young to die.

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Canyon Jump Platform

Although Canyon Jumping is not my ideal adventure, my friends were blown away by the experience. After signing a death waver (yes, I’m serious) and walking onto a metal grated platform almost 300 feet in the air, any person would be feeling the fear. One by one my friends stepped into a harness that wrapped itself around their torso, and got a thick rope clipped to the front of them. That’s it, a rope; no professional strapped to your back or a parachute, a single strand of twisted fiber is meant to save your life, that’s reassuring eh?

When it was my friend Jen’s turn she looked at the group of jumpers, waved, walked towards the edge, did the sign of the cross, and jumped. After dropping the 300 feet, a five second free-fall to be exact, the rope swung her quickly through the narrow canyon. From above, her body looked like a rag doll being jolted around; it was one of the most intense things I’ve ever seen. Two of my guy friends actually held onto cameras while they jumped, so they could film the trip down. Don’t ask me how they did it, because if it was me, I would’ve chucked the camera the minute I jumped, glued my eyes shut, and screamed bloody murder, if not throwing up on the way down; yea, I’m that girl.

After the rope comes to a stop, the jumper is lowered to a bridge/ walkway nearby, where all of the daredevils wait until the group has finished taking the plunge. After we returned to our accommodation, I asked her what it had felt like, what had gone through her mind as she jumped off the ledge, and she said, “I literally felt like I had just committed suicide, and wanted to turn around and grab something, anything.”

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Oh Man!

Some other friends spent the weekend on ATV’s, paragliding, snowboarding on glaciers, and undoubtedly they all felt that canyon jumping was the best thing they did. Every one of them. So either I have a bunch of crazy people as friends, or there is some fun to this sport and I just can’t see past the height thing. Regardless, if you are a thrill-seeker this is a definite experience worth crossing off the bucket list.

So, I’m going to leave you with this: It’s recommended to wear bright colors, so that they look better on the photos, but I think it’s just a way for them to identify the body’s when this thrill seeking death trap is over…think about it.

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