Wednesday, Oct 29, 2008
On October 7th, a BASE jumper and his partner pled guilty to separate charges in federal court following their arrest after a BASE jump a week earlier. Andrew Gromek pled guilty to a violation of 36 CFR 2.17(a)(3), illegal delivery of a person by parachute, the regulation prohibiting BASE jumping. Gromek was ordered to pay $2,000 in fines. Tracey Hodson, Gromekâs partner, who aided and abetted him by acting as a radio lookout and posing as a hiking partner, pled guilty to interference with an agency function and was ordered to pay a $250 fine. Despite the duoâs extraordinary efforts to avoid detection, including surveillance of the ranger station, scouting the jump location the previous day, using two-way radios, leaving for the jump site under darkness, and completing a backcountry permit stating they were hiking together, ranger Mark Franklin was still able to outwit the two and observe Gromek BASE jump off the 2,250-foot-high Painted Wall, Coloradoâs highest cliff, early on the morning of October 1st. Later that morning, rangers contacted a bewildered Gromek and Hodson as they exited S.O.B Draw and confiscated all the equipment used in the jump. Gromek had attempted to hide all of the equipment and other evidence of the jump in nearby trees prior to leaving the area.