Mario Richard Dies in BASE Jump Accident

Mario Richard BASE jumping in Europe.

8/19/13 - Mario Richard, husband of rock climber Steph Davis, died August 18 while wingsuit flying in Italy's Dolomites.

Richard and Davis arrived in Trentino, Italy, in the beginning of August. They made numerous jumps, including off Trieste Tower and Monte Agner. On August 18, they took a cable car to Sasso Pordoi to make a wingsuit flight off Sass Pordoi. Something went wrong in-flight, and Richard hit a cliff close to the Piccolo Pordoi towers just minutes after Davis successfully jumped. Rescue party members retrieved his body soon after. He was 47.

Richard had more than 7,000 skydives and 2,000 BASE jumps under his belt. His interest in jumping started with a childhood fascination of parachutes and plastic soldiers. He took his first skydive jump in 1988 near Québec City (he was born in Canada), and from there he was obsessed. He became a full-time instructor in Québec City. "I was doing anything that kept me jumping..." he wrote on

In 1991, Richard performed his first BASE jump from the 875-foot New River Gorge bridge in West Virginia. Soon after, he began compiling BASE equipment and "started to jump everything that was high or low enough around my home town." He then moved to Florida, where he started working for Vertigo Base Outfitters (later called Apex Base); he learned how to sew and build systems and equipment for BASE jumping, while the sport was gaining popularity.

In 2000, Richard relocated to Moab, Utah, with the company. "Moab is the perfect playground for this sport, and so few jump spots had been discovered at that time," he wrote. "The entire place was ours to discover."

Richard and Davis married in late 2011, and ran Moab BASE Adventures, which offers jumps and training for new and experienced jumpers, tandem BASE jumping, and rock climbing guiding services.

Below, a short video of Richard and Davis climbing and jumping from Castleton Tower, near Moab, several years ago.


Previous Comments

He died like he at the interface of life and death in an attempt to understand what life really is. He achieved what he wanted, I do not pity him.

major - 02/14/2014 3:15:48

Cheap 2013 nfl Hats 100% Guarantee - 11/14/2013 9:02:29

Steph --- I heard with the rest of the team at HPP of Mario's death. While you shared only 1 short day and evening with the team, your inspiration is long lasting - teaching us to reach for more than is front of us. I know you miss Mario but hope there is some consolation knowing he was engaged in his passion. For all of us at HPP (and especially myself), I wish you well -- and "may his memory always be for a blessing"

David Schillinger - 09/28/2013 11:03:33

Steph - We just heard this tragic news in our office this week at HPP. You gave an amazing inspirational talk to our group of 100 Drs in Nashville back in April. I know that your husband and best friend died doing what he loved best. May the memories of what you shared together and your friends and family surround as you continue to live your dream. Thank you for the stories you shared w/ us. I can just picture your dog running down the mountain to meet you ... Live life to the fullest - that's what you taught us! My condolences and thanks, Ingrid

Ingrid Bennett - 09/26/2013 2:42:22

Steph, I met you at our Medical Directors Conference last April (HPP). Your story was amazing. You and Mario lived your life to the fullest, knowing the dangers but enjoying one another every second of every climb, of every jump. May he rest in peace, and I wish you the best of life after him. God Bless you both!

Sal Abrams - 09/25/2013 2:13:52

In the Story for Stopping the Four Errors it says: Do those who fall to earth from the peak of a high mountain Enjoy happiness in space as they are being destroyed? If they are constantly racing toward death from the time they are born, How can living beings find happiness in the time in between?

Bala - 09/16/2013 2:24:51

Heartfelt condolences on the passing of a good man. Losses like these hit you like a ton of bricks. I hope Mario's loved ones take time to grieve and not rush it. What a life this has been, and Mario died like a man doing what he loved.

Alina - 09/10/2013 9:47:49

Dear Steph, I did not have the chance to meet you, but my heart goes out to you and Mario's family. Please accept my most sincere condolences and be sure that Mario will always be with you as Marc still with me. Marc's Gilbert sister

Christine - 08/25/2013 7:04:14

Sincere condolences to Steph, Mario's family and loved ones... I'm sure we've all lost someone near and dear to us, and no one has the right to judge, especially at a time like this. Just like you learned in grade school -- if you have nothing nice to say, please, don't say it at all. As a bystander to this whole ordeal, I'm sure no one wants to hear it. RIP Mario -- You continue to be a source of inspiration. "Can't keep my eyes from the circling skies, Tongue-tied and twisted; just an earth-bound misfit." -- Pink Floyd, Learning to Fly.

Tree - 08/22/2013 11:41:33

I'm sorry for your loss, Steph.

Sean - 08/22/2013 9:31:13

Who cares if it is safe or not. It is quite evident on that day, in that place it was not safe for Mario. But, he died doing what he loved to do and one thing in life is guaranteed and that is death will come to us all. So live the way you want and enjoy it, whether it be long or short.

Tom - 08/22/2013 2:43:14

Please be respectfull. No place to share hard opinions, when someone passed away. Compassion is always meedeed, even when values and beliefs differ.

Wyatt - 08/22/2013 1:17:02

A true show of character and dignity. Classing up the place. I really hope that when your time comes, the community behaves better than you trolls have here.

Craig Childre - 08/22/2013 8:46:16

oh and, lafayette, "in this beautiful country called the usa", craig has a constitutionally codified right to not only be offended by your comment, but to reply in kind. the first amendment is not a one way street, chucklehead. if you do not intend your criticisms of "extreme" sports to be directed at any specific individual, than take a hike, @sshole; you're on the comments forum for a specific individual that recently left this mortal coil, and for the folks he left behind. you are WAY OUT OF LINE.

robert davis - 08/21/2013 11:56:35

i am not sure how the per capita numbers play out, but i get the sense that base jumping, and wingsuit flying are less dangerous than being a child actor. to do a decent statistical analysis, one would have to consider the amount of time engaged in either activity, not just frequency, amplitude, or longevity of "career". i think most base jumpers and wingsuit flyers have more "saturated careers" than most actors. probably more rewarding lives as well. of course, unlike the commentators from the chickensh*t gallery, i admit that i could be wrong. my guess would be that the commentators from the chickensh*t gallery have less rewarding lives than child actors – but less rewarding for a far greater duration... "wow, the food in this place is terrible!"  "yeah, and the portions are so small!"

robert davis - 08/21/2013 11:44:04

@Craig Children . Calm down little girl, like I said, it's an OPINION. Do you know what they say about OPINIONS ? They're kind like a&@ holes, everyone has one and they stink. I'm a fool and speak of things I know nothing about? I could say the same about you, but I'm not ignorant enough to make a character judgement on some randomn stranger. I was making a GENERALIZATION about people who do extreme sports. Not directed on any specific individual. Again, my OPINION. In this beautiful country called the USA you do not have the right to not get offended by my comment. Maybe you can cry like a baby and the editors will delete my comments or better yet the whole thread

Lafayette - 08/21/2013 8:04:07

Death Wish? What a joke! Layfayette seems you know little of our 'dare devil' lifestyle. I don't know any climber or jumper who is interested in meeting death. Understanding, we all do our best to avoid it at every turn. Those with the death wish are jumping off the Golden Gate with no chute. You are a fool, and speak of things you have no understanding. My sincerest condolences to Steph. I can't imagine the cycle of emotions you suffered waiting for Mario after touchdown.

Craig Childre - 08/21/2013 4:06:28

It's a dangerous endeavor, and the laws of statistics may caught up with you eventually, but he did do a lot of jumping off high places, must have been a great feeling!

Jamie - 08/21/2013 3:23:09

Je connaissais assez bien Mario, ayant été aussi parachutiste à un certain moment dans ma vie. Mario était toujours de bonne humeur, un passionné de la vie et de ce qu'il faisait. Il était le meilleur dans ce sport. Sa mort laisse un énorme vide dans beaucoup de coeurs présentement. Je souhaite mes plus sincères sympathies à son épouse Steph et à sa famille.

Anick Lord - 08/21/2013 2:25:53

Even if the flat landers will never understand it, Some people are just born to fly! Mario will continue to serve as an inspiration to all that knew him.

bigred - 08/21/2013 1:20:55

Climber3: you are sick and need medical attention.

Sabine Airieau astrophysicist - 08/21/2013 7:10:55

I've jumped and taught with Mario in the 90's and I'll always remember his spirit, enthusiasm and passion. A true inspiration to us all. My heart goes out to his wife and both families.

Louis X. - 08/21/2013 6:49:25

We miss you Mario!!!

Aussie Dan - 08/21/2013 6:15:12

Rest in peace mario We'll all miss you brother

Joe - 08/21/2013 12:37:35

steph, i offer my condolences and sympathies to you and to everyone else in whose life mario was a part. i would like to have met mario- he obviously lived to such great depth and breadth as you have, wringing many lifetimes of experience and aesthetic out of one mortal existence. i know that you will continue to cover that great depth and breadth. please be well, and with a ration of fear– but only a ration. your bro from long ago-

robert davis - 08/20/2013 11:23:54

I don't agree with Janet but I do agree with Ted. Sorry Steph and Mario, Kris.

Kris - 08/20/2013 10:58:56

To climber3, you are right life is short and precious, none of us know when our time is up, so please, turn to God your Creator now, Jesus said, "I am the way the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me" Condolences to Steph and Mario's fam...

John - 08/20/2013 10:52:47

DEATH is the great equalizer, the only difference that will give you hope Steph is if you know Jesus Christ the Son of God as your personal Lord and Savior, and I pray that Mario did, but Steph, now is your chance to turn to God!!

climber3 - 08/20/2013 10:49:01

Base jumping is a sport of kings and lions. I didn't know Mario, but I've shared his passion. A man that follows his dreams, wherever it takes him, is a man indeed...

Fred - 08/20/2013 10:26:33

One of the most talented skydiver I ever jump with. He lived his life With passion thats the most important! All my thoughts to his wife, Rejean and his entire family. Ben Goyette

Ben Goyette - 08/20/2013 10:05:42

Steph, I know of you from your smiling face. It has brought me joy and as I have seen the images of Mario-I see the joy in him also. Not everyone is blessed to have such great spirit. Every time I see videos of your jumps or your photos, I feel it is a great celebration of life and freely rejoicing with the mercy of nature. I am sad for your loss and pray that your grief will not hold you back but that you are able to carry in your heart the knowledge of the love he felt for you and what he was doing. Please do not bother with negativity of others and instead surround yourself with those who love you.

Suzanne Lossing - 08/20/2013 10:04:33

Steph, I have known you only through our short interactions online, but I have always been impressed, as many others have voiced, with your love of life and your passion for living and doing good. I am sure Mario also held the same love of life and values. Here's hoping that the many beautiful, life-living moments you both shared together will bring you comfort at this time. The climbing community, and outdoor community at large, have their thoughts, prayers, wishes and love turned towards you at this time.

Gina Begin - 08/20/2013 8:38:46

Getting out of bed in the morning has a statistical probability of death. Certainly less than attempting to climb Everest, or climbing at your local crag, or base jumping and wing suiting. In the end, death is the great equalizer, no matter how you live your life. Living your life with passion is a life well lived. My condolences.

Ken Ryder - 08/20/2013 8:13:38

Rest in peace and lots of hugs for Steph

Sid - 08/20/2013 8:07:22

Hi All, I have been so unfortunate to have seen this fatal jump at pordoi. Made a few pics just before both Steph and Richard jumped. I want to express my sincere condolances to Steph, family and friends. Stay strong.

berthil bosch, Netherlands - 08/20/2013 6:24:12

Many condolences Steph. As for janet and jed, you need to shut your fucking mouth. Nobody cares about you or what your opinion is. Didn't your mother every tell you if you have nothing nice to say don't say anything at all.

Thomas - 08/20/2013 6:12:14

Janet is right. Base jumping is not a sport, its a fancy form of russian roulette. In sport, safety systems should be deployed as backups, not entertainments. Mario Richard's death, like that of Herve le Gallou, is a simple demonstration of the law of large numbers. A young death is always sad, but people who, for fun or profit, live their lives as public spectacles aren't entitled to special sympathies when their bad choices catch up with them. My only prayer is for Mario --I hope that for you and your loved ones, your jumps were worth it.

Jed - 08/20/2013 5:08:10

R.I.P. The thoughts and prayers of the entire climbing community go out to Steph Davis, as well as their family and friends.

Jim Columbia - 08/20/2013 3:53:48

Mario was one of my PFF instructor in Quebec City, back in 2001. A true inspiration to me and everyone around. My sincere condolences to his wife, family and many friends. Blue skies.

Max - 08/20/2013 3:42:12

Thoughts and prayers to Steph Davis, and their friends and family. This reminds me of when Shane McConkey passed away. It is always the best souls that go before the rest of us. Shame on you Janet. I feel I can safely assume you are the type that lives a mundane life of boredom and bitterness. You have no right to tear down a life lived to its fullest, because you cannot understand it. It is above you.

Dustin - 08/20/2013 3:38:31

I still can't beleived it. All my thoughts are with you Steph, Rej , family and all friends here in Québec and through out the world.

Richard Lavoie - 08/20/2013 3:29:35

So sad. As I read in stephs"learning to fly" mario had a perfect track record, Never once got hurt base jumping. Its so sad to hear his only bad jump ended so tragically. Steph has now lost 2 husbands(one to divorce), 2 more than anyone should have to lose. Janet: your comment is inappropriate for this time during a woman's crisis. BASE jumping isn't stupid, it may be dangerous and risky, but its not stupid.

Spence - 08/20/2013 2:51:35

All our prayers go out to you this day, such a beautiful short life we have...

Four Rivers Institute - 08/20/2013 1:58:44

Steph, I am so sorry for your loss. I'll keep both of you in my heart.

Paul Fish - 08/20/2013 1:48:35

Hi Steph, my husband and I met you in Moab in May this year. Both you and Mario are his inspiration. We are thinking of you and still reading your second book. You guys live your lives to the fullest and that is what most people need to learn from you! Take care! Hugs and kisses.

Michelle Morend - 08/20/2013 1:26:33

Dear "stupid" Janet: Fuck you very much!

Volker - 08/20/2013 12:59:54

In Reply to a post writen by Janet..."This is what happens when you do stupid things..." Janet...YOU ARE STUPID. You obviously have NO idea of what your talking about. And what a great post to publish for the family to read. Enjoy your day JANET.

Bill P - 08/20/2013 12:53:27

To Climbing Mag, please remove comment from Janet on the top of the list, clearly a heartless person. My condolences go to Steph and Mario's family... Stay strong...

Debora - 08/20/2013 12:48:08

So sorry for your loss Steph! I loved the way you captured your friendship and love with Mario in Learning to Fly. Thinking of you and wishing you better days ahead.

Jennifer - 08/20/2013 11:28:18

This is what happens when you do stupid things...

Janet - 08/20/2013 10:34:21