I have one brother, a younger brother named Mark. He and I are very close. We grew up cliff jumping the rivers and lakes of Northern California.
Though all cliff jumping involves risk, most of our jumps were relatively sane.
I was always the one who took the bigger risks. But when I returned home for summer after my first year of college I quickly discovered that my brother had become the bigger risk taker. Our adventures together (cliff jumping, downhill mountain biking, snowboarding, etc.) now included regular warnings from me to “be careful” and “tone it down.”
The craziest jumps I ever did happened one day, 13 years ago, at China Wall. After doing both the sprint cliff jump (you have to jump at a full sprint in order to clear the cliff slope) and the tree jump that day, I decided never to jump China Wall again. The next summer a guy from our high school died from jumping China Wall. Ever since (and since getting married and having kids) I’ve decided to not jump anything higher/riskier than the Big T in Folsom.
Last Wednesday my brother jumped Red Rock during vacation in Santa Barbara. In the picture above you can see Mark standing at the top of Red Rock right before he jumped. Notice how small Mark looks and how big the cliff looks. Red Rock is 80 feet high, twice the height of the Big T.
My brother admits that he finally learned his lesson. This jump didn’t go well for him. The force of impact (and landing at a slight angle) gave Mark a compression fracture on his T-12, thoracic spine vertebrae. After 3 months of rest he’ll be back to normal. Things could’ve been much worse. When I lived in Santa Barbara I heard stories of people being paralyzed, or killed, from jumping Red Rock. I’m thankful for God’s grace on my brother’s life.
Below is the video that was taken of Mark’s jump. I asked Mark if I could post this video/story.
Here’s the whole point of this post: Don’t Do This! Look before you leap. Be a good steward of the body and the loved ones God has entrusted to you.