Meet Nomadic BASE Jumper Jordan Kilgore: Would You Jump Off a 90 Story Building?

By Mark Wiens 3 Comments
BASE Jumping Jordan Kilgore
Can you see the 2 little specks in the sky? They’ve got about 5 seconds to keep falling.

Would you leap off the top of a 350 meter tower, relying solely on an ultra-lightweight piece of fabric to cushion your fall?

I can honestly tell you, that’s about the LAST thing I’d ever desire to do…

But one of the great things about humans is that we each have our own set of interests, pursuits and passions; We’re all people, but we’re all so unique.

My good friend Jordan Kilgore and I met long time ago, at a time when both of our families were living in DR Congo.

At that time we were running around the jungle climbing trees, eating random fruits (luckily we never ate anything poisonous), shooting birds with makeshift slingshots, and constructing forts from bamboo poles and palm branches.

When the conflict escalated in Congo, we both migrated to Nairobi, Kenya, and attended the same international school.

BASE Jumper: Jordan Kilgore
BASE Jumper: Jordan Kilgore

Years later Jordan moved to Morocco, and after graduating from high school, we both re-united in the United States (as our relatives are both in the same city).

He initially took up sky diving and eventually that led him to his current BASE jumping passion.

What is BASE Jumping?

BASE is actually an acronym, representing Buildings, Antennas, Spans (which includes elevated bridges), and Earth.

Take your pick, strap on a parachute (canopy), jump, deploy, and finally land in a suitable space.

Ok, it’s a little more technical than that, but you get the idea, and YES, it is dangerous.

335 meters in the sky... I'm not very comfortable at ALL!
335 meters in the sky… I’m not very comfortable at ALL!

Here I am trying to eek out an authentic smile.


I was honestly scared out of my mind to be so high.

Happy to be harnessed
Happy to be harnessed

But I did feel a lot more comfortable being harnessed up, strapped in, and locked into the rope.

So how did I end up on top of a 90 storey tower?

Kuala Lumpur is the home of an annual BASE Jump event that takes place at the Menara KL Tower – at 421 meters (335 meters at the deck where they jumped), it’s the highest structure in Malaysia.

Living in Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur is not hard to reach, so when Jordan contacted me, I was able to combine a visit to the city along with a visa run.

Level with the top of the Petronas Towers
Level with the top of the Petronas Towers

Those are the tippy tops of the Petronas Towers, the two highest twin towers in the world, and iconic landmarks in Kuala Lumpur.

I was able to get a photography pass for the KL Menara BASE Jump event, allowing me to watch the action up-close and personal.

Jordan Kilgore taking a leap!
Jordan Kilgore taking a leap!

Even after seeing so many jumpers jump, the thought of it all still gives me chills up my spine.

BASE Jumping in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
BASE Jumping in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

And while it’s terrifying to me, it’s such an amazing thing.

Just like SCUBA diving, humans are in NO way equipped to swim under water like fish or to fly through the sky like birds – and yet with the assistance of a few devices, both activities are possible.

KL Tower BASE Jump 2012
KL Tower BASE Jump 2012

Still, I couldn’t help but be a little freaked out watching every jump.

Can you see them flying through the air?
Can you see them flying through the air?

Can you spot the two guys holding hands in the air?

They are about to push off each other and then release their parachutes.

Jordan Kilgore
Packing a parachute, not to be taken lightly

As a BASE Jumper, you don’t get a second chance. Pack a parachute wrong, fatality could result.

That’s the reason they pack their parachute precisely each and every time – when you’re falling through the air, your parachute is your life.

It takes about 20 minutes to pack a parachute.

BASE Jumping: An ultimate adrenaline rush
BASE Jumping: An ultimate adrenaline rush

Jordan travels around the world, BASE Jumping, and doing what he truly enjoys.

For myself I can’t say I’ll ever participate in an adrenaline activity like BASE Jumping – I like my solid ground and my spicy Malaysian food.

But it got me thinking.

We all have our own interests, and if we are all motivated to do what we do best, we each get our own dose of adrenaline.

I’m a food lover – pursuing different cuisines from around the world is my passion, and when I have a great meal shared with people from other cultures, that gives me a rush.

What about you?