Extreme Adventurer Donald Schultz Reflects on his First Visit to B.C.

Schultz may not have donned the wingsuit, but he did take a leap of faith at the Stawamus Chief.

Donald Schultz is a daredevil, skydiver, BASE jumper and… afraid of heights?

The last thing you’d expect to hear from an adrenaline junkie, avid skydiver and expert BASE jumper is that he’s afraid of heights.


But Discovery Channel host Donald Schultz admits just that, saying he gets very quiet before each jump and needs a moment to go over a mental checklist before BASE jumping, a sport where participants jump off of fixed landmarks while wearing a parachute.


“Every single jump is different. If you start to become complacent and you aren’t getting scared anymore, there’s something wrong,” he says with a laugh.

BASE jumping an exercise in risk management

South Africa-native Schultz was in town last week making media appearances, promoting Red Dragon Apparel, and, of course, hurling himself into life-or-death situations. Though he had planned on jumping off Squamish’s Stawamus Chief in a wingsuit, the weather conditions proved too windy to take the risk.


Instead, Schultz BASE jumped sans wingsuit, which was a slight disappointment for the adrenaline junkie, but a necessary precaution as the wind could have caused the wingsuit to glide out of control.


“Safety is much more important than doing what we want,” says Schultz. “I’d rather be disappointed and safe than take that chance.


Safety has been a ubiquitous theme at the Chief over the last year, which saw several BASE jumpers seriously injured after leaps gone wrong.


And while Schultz argues the number of injuries resulting from BASE jumping at Stawamus Chief has been relatively low, it was enough to prompt Squamish Mayor Greg Gardner to consider banning jumps off the Chief.


Banning would make a risky sport riskier

“Banning it will just push it underground. It will make a difficult sport even more dangerous” says Schultz, explaining that people may choose to jump at night, an infinitely riskier practice.

Schultz and his team BASE jump off the 700-metre-high Stawamus Chief
(Image: Chris Christie)


The solution, says Schultz, is not to shun BASE jumpers but rather to embrace the sport. He points to countries like South Africa and Malaysia that have made a “bustling economy” out of attracting eager BASE jumpers to their cities for daring leaps.


Schultz sees potential in this business model, and adds that the eager Canadian BASE jumping community is “phenomenal.”


“They are very organized and helpful, and they definitely know their stuff,” says Schultz.

Schultz hopes to return to British Columbia soon

It wasn’t just fellow Canadian thrill-seekers that impressed Schultz on his five-day trip to Vancouver and Squamish. The star, who these days calls Los Angeles home, says he was floored by the breathtaking views, bustling social scene, and of course, vehement hockey fever.


“British Columbia is like a greener version of Southern California. I do foresee it becoming a popular travel spot for me in the future,” he says.