Mario Richard Dies in BASE Jump Accident
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 moabbaseadventures.com.
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.