ELKO – A second BASE jumper has died in the Ruby Mountains this summer.
Shortly before noon Tuesday, a 38-year-old Las Vegas man was BASE jumping in Lamoille Canyon near the Thomas Canyon Campground wearing a “wingsuit” and a parachute when he crashed into rocks and died.
David W. Wessels and other base jumpers were on the east side of the Lamoille Canyon jumping from the elevated cliffs, according to the Elko County Sheriff’s Office.
“Several of the base jumpers had conversations the night before and that morning about the elevated dangers of jumping off a certain area due to the fact Lamoille Canyon is known to have dramatically shifting upslope and downslope air currents along with the sheer rock cliffs in the area.
“David followed shortly after another man who had jumped from what was described as a safer area. David was unable outfly the talus and collided with the rocks near the bottom of the cliff.”
Members of the Elko County Sheriff’s Office, El-Aero and U.S. Forest Service employees recovered his body. Next of kin has been notified.
“The Elko County Sheriff Office and the U.S. Forest Service would like to remind people of the unpredictable weather Lamoille Canyon can produce,” the agencies stated Wednesday.
This is the second base jumping fatality this year. The first happened on June 12 under similar circumstances.
Daniel J. Ristow was wearing a wingsuit and a parachute when he jumped just before 10 a.m. and collided with the rocks near the bottom of a cliff.
“BASE” is an acronym that stands for four categories of fixed objects from which participants can jump: buildings, antennae (referring to radio masts), spans (bridges), and earth (cliffs).