Brave or Dumb? A Cliff Jumper’s Dilemna

This summer I have been made aware of a few deaths of cliff jumpers.  We’re not talking about divers far away in Acapulco but about one in the Boundary Waters and two in Lake Superior.  I’m sure there could be more but the fact remains people die and get hurt jumping from cliffs into the water.

One article I read criticized the government in Canada for not having signage at the top of a cliff stating the danger.  One would think danger was implied when jumping off of a cliff into a freezing cold body of water sixty feet below.  I don’t think there needs to be signs on every cliff warning people not to jump.  There’s no lifeguard, there’s not a diving board and there aren’t pictures depicting smiling faces of others who have jumped at the top of the cliff so why would someone assume it would be safe?

It’s never 100 percent safe to jump off of even a small cliff in the BWCA. If something happens and you don’t pop back up then it’s a long ways for your companions to get help. If you wear a life vest then there’s still a chance you can get hurt either landing wrong or scaling back up the cliff to jump again.

I admit we do jump from rocks into the water in the BWCA.  However, it isn’t until we’ve checked the depth of the water, looked for hazards and then sent the biggest person off first to see if they touch bottom.  The kids joked that Mike was down under the water so long they thought he enjoyed a meal of rice while in China.   We know there is risk in jumping but we also know how much fun our kids have doing it.

I’m not a big adrenaline junkie and I’m not very brave when it comes to jumping off cliffs.  I do think a person needs to be smart about jumping and needs to accept the responsibility and danger in doing so. No one is going to put signs in the BWCA to warn against jumping from cliffs so be smart and safe and I’ll keep both of my feet on the ground.

Cliff jumping in the BWCA

Boundary Waters cliff jumping

BWCA Fun

Boundary Waters Cliff Jumping

Boundary Waters Cliff jumping

Cliff jumping in the BWCA

Cliff jumping on Saganaga

Jumping into the BWCA

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  • Still getting cold at night on the Gunflint Trail. 21 degrees for a low. At least there aren't any bugs yet.

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