Dire Straits ~ Back to the Edge
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In summer 2020, accomplished skydiver and BASE jumper, Hans Donner attempted to open a new exit in a remote corner of North Wales, alone. 'Dire Straits', the exit he named lived up to it's name. He "should've gone right". But he chose left. He shattered his leg in a moment of bad judgement. His is a story of mental grit and determination, overcoming adversity: from crawling out and driving himself to hospital, to the gruelling recovery (nearly losing his foot) and overcoming the psychological barriers to getting back to the edge where it happened before...Accompanied by Mountain Man BASE team mate, Dave Gallagher, a photographer and psychologist studying extreme performance, he attempts to face his demons. Will he overcome his doubts and fears and jump once again?
Not for the faint of heart, the film pulls no punches, viewers of a nervous disposition may want to step back from the edge...
Hans and Dave collaborated on the idea to tell the story of Hans' fateful jump and the painful road back to BASE jumping.
Hans hoped to be back jumping by the start of 2021 but rehabilitation, whilst ahead of doctors' expectations, was still proving to be frustratingly limiting as Hans didn't have his cage removed until February.
Lockdown restrictions also hampered plans to return to the scene of the accident.
The intention was to return in stages, with an initial visit back to Pistyll Rhaeadr to capture Hans' reaction to being back there.
Nevertheless, on returning to the scene, Hans felt that he was ready to go for it, even though he had not long since gotten back to weight bearing on his leg.
Hans elected to jump an exit called 'Funky Cold Medina' that he formerly opened in March 2019 with fellow team member, Jase (and Dave providing safety support) and which overlooked the infamous and very technical 'Dire Straits'.
Dave and Hans have had many discussions about what it takes to come back psychologically from 'Dire Straits'. An article emerged from this which can be read in the Autumn issue of SUMMIT magazine (British Mountaineering Council). The psychology of extreme performance and overcoming adversity can yield insights that anyone can relate to in the current times.