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Risers updated

by BASEwiki

Risers on a BASE rig (as shown to the right) are generally constructed from wider Type 8 webbing, rather than the narrower Type 17 webbing used in skydiving mini risers. Additionally, the risers are built so that the 3-rings face inward (“integrity risers”) rather than outward, as is more common on skydiving rigs.

The choice of both material and riser configuration is based on strength considerations. Type 8 webbing has a tensile strength of 4000 lb, while Type 17 has a tensile stength of just 2500 lb. The choice of riser configuration is a trade-off; integrity risers are stronger due to the absence of the grommet present in most skydiving risers. They can reduce the mechanical advantage of the 3-rings, however, and make cutting away impossible if the riser covers have not released. In the BASE environment, strength of the risers is paramount, while mechanical advantage is never important and the riser covers are always released in a cutaway situation (see below).

Toggles are generally attached to the riser by a strip of velcro, though some systems use a snap instead. Systems employing a snap have the advantage that the snap can be designed to release only when pulled in a very specific way, reducing the probability of losing a toggle on opening. On such systems, it is important that the jumper be thoroughly trained (to the point that it becomes completely natural) in the motion needed to release the toggles, since they may need to be released quickly in a high-stress situation. Most cyclists who use clipless pedals have memories of the difficulties of performing even a simple, but unfamiliar, motion in a high-stress situation; this is why velcro attachment is more common.

Cutaway systems

Most BASE rigs are equipped with a cutaway employing three-rings similar to those found on a skydiving rig. The handle is generally hidden behind the right main lift web as shown in the accompanying image, so that it cannot be accidentally pulled. Despite the lack of a reserve in most cases, there are several reasons for the presence of a cutaway system:

  • If the jumper lands in trees, or the canopy becomes hung up on a post, the canopy can be cut away once the jumper has secured himself. This can simplify extraction of the canopy, or make a quick escape possible (when necessary) with the loss only of the canopy, and not the container.
  • If winds or water begin to pull the canopy (and jumper) into a dangerous situation, it can be cut away and retrieved later.
  • If the canopy needs to be swapped to another container, such as a skydiving container, or another canopy needs to be swapped into the container, this switch is made much simpler if a cutaway system is present.

The presence of a cutaway system, however, also means that the canopy can be released accidentally while in flight. The rings, loop, and cable of the cutaway system, in particular, should be inspected every time the rig is checked before a jump. Even cutaway systems carefully inspected by a rigger have, on very few occasions, released accidentally in flight.

For this reason, some jumpers elect to have a harness built with risers integral to the harness (ie, sewn in or part of a continuous piece of webbing) or attached by L-bars , or to disable the 3-ring system by threading a quick link through the white loop. The use of a rig without a cutaway system makes accidental cutaway impossible, but negates the advantages above; jumpers choosing to go this route should be particularly careful when jumping near water, and may elect to use another rig or not jump at all in some circumstances.


Submitted by BASEwiki on 2007-06-08 | Last Modified on 2010-04-16

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