Tough Turkeys Flock Over Moab
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Saturday, July 13, 2024
Tough Turkeys Flock Over Moab

Tough Turkeys Flock Over Moab

Five Minute Call
Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Jumpers fly over the red rocks of Moab. Photo by Joe Lohmuller.

Above: Camp participants smile for the camera after landing in the canyon. Photo by Joe Lohmuller.

Skydive Moab in Utah hosted the Second Tough Turkey Wingsuit Camp, organized by Joe Lohmuller, October 20-23. The camp specializes in offering big-way wingsuit jumps into canyons nearby the drop zone. 

A pre-camp event kicked off on Thursday, when 17 people participated in five jumps over Skydive Moab. These skydives focused on formation building and exit techniques while in small groups. At the end of the day, 15 of the participants gathered together for jump six: a big-way formation at sunset into Mineral Bottom Canyon, roughly 20 miles away from Skydive Moab and overlooking the western side of Canyonlands National Park. “Seeing the view of the valley, river and red rock cliffs of Mineral Bottom during golden hour just as the sun was setting was awesome,” remarked participant Clark Robinson, “and to experience it while also building a sick big-way wingsuit formation was next level!” The team landed and celebrated their success at the bottom of the canyon adjacent to the Green River, then loaded up in vehicles and watched the sunset on the drive back to Skydive Moab.

On Friday, the official start of the event, the group was 19 strong and eager to work together after successful jumps the previous day. The morning began with dynamic jumps in 6-way pods, allowing for opportunities to work on transitions and movement around a formation. After a break for lunch, the team began working toward another big-way jump, this time an 18-way with video over the red sandstone towers of Castle Valley, a town 10 miles east of Moab.

After the wingsuiters rehearsed the exit and breakoff numerous times, they loaded Skydive Moab’s Caravan to execute in the sky what they had practiced on the ground. The conditions were perfect: 70 degrees, a light breeze and not a cloud in the sky. When the plane reached jump altitude, 19 wingsuiters moved with precision to form a beautifully colored formation over the desert landscape. Upon landing, they were greeted with high-fives from local spectators and Skydive Moab’s ground crew. Sterling Ellis gathered his parachute and exclaimed, “That was straight out of an action movie!” The group then returned to Skydive Moab and made one more jump, totaling five jumps for the day.

Although sub-optimal weather kept everyone grounded for the final two days of the camp, the group was still thrilled with the overall experience. Cora Masson gave her take on the event, saying, “We had great leaders and a great crew. When the pressure was on jumping into a new LZ, we really nailed it. The backdrops for our offsite jumps were gorgeous, and I loved getting to fly over those magnificent landscapes at sunset!”

As for the future of the camp, Lohmuller said, “My goal is to continue to bring wingsuiters together so they can experience the beauty of Moab first hand and improve their skills in the process. I am very excited to plan the next one and hope to see you there.”

Derrick Pierce | D-40169
Moab, Utah

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