Record-breaking US daredevil Nik Wallenda has made history again by walking across the Grand Canyon on a tightrope, 457 metres above ground over the world-renowned landmark, informs Yahoo News.
“I’ve had a dream to be the first person in the world to walk a tight rope directly above the Grand Canyon,” Wallenda said in a statement on his website. However, it was noted that the gorge he crossed was not actually part of the Grand Canyon.
Nik Wallenda’s vertiginous feat came little more than a year after he crossed Niagara Falls from the U.S. to Canada on a 2-inch-thick cable, covering a distance of about 1,800 feet at a height of about 180 feet. But on that crossing, he wore a harness – unlike Sunday, writes the Las Angeles Times.
‚ÄúLiterally, when he finished [Niagara Falls], when he was asked at the end of it what he wanted to do next, he said, ‚ÄėI want to do the Grand Canyon,‚Äô‚ÄĚ Wallenda‚Äôs manager, Winston Simone, told one of Discovery‚Äôs TV personalities before Sunday‚Äôs walk.
At Niagara, Wallenda – who first walked the wire aged two – braved strong winds and heavy spray to walk on a cable suspended around 60 metres above North America’s biggest waterfall, on the US-Canada border.
To tightrope walk across the Grand Canyon without any safety net or harness. Making it across means life, falling means death.
The National Park Service would never allow a stunt like this over the Grand Canyon ‚ÄĒ so Wallenda had to settle for the “little Grand Canyon” over the gorge of the Colorado River near Cameron, Arizona, on tribal lands of the Navajo Nation.
Wallenda gingerly made his way across the canyon with the help of a balancing pole as he constantly prayed out loud and periodically stopped to regain his balance and composure.
The stunt was broadcast live by the Discovery Channel, while cameras attached to his body gave the rest of us a Wallenda’s-eye-view of the madness, writes Mashable.
While on the wire, Wallenda chatted with his dad via radio:
“These feel slippery, there’s dust on the cable… Thank you Jesus, for this beautiful view. … Praise you, Jesus. Oh, I love you. Thank you, Jesus. … Lord, help this cable calm down. … Yes, Jesus. Oh, you’re my savior.”
The quarter-mile walk at 1,500 feet in the air took more than 20 minutes ‚ÄĒ in winds ranging from a safe 18 mph to a more treacherous 30 mph. Wallenda knelt twice to wait out the stronger wind.
The walk‚Äôs promoters bragged that there was no electricity, no running water and no paved roads around the site, prompting organizers to build a road to the walk site ‚ÄĒ and then promise to carefully tear everything down afterward without damaging the Navajo Nation‚Äôs environs.
Navajo protesters near the walk site held signs that read, ‚ÄúGo away Wallenda!‚ÄĚ¬† and ‚ÄúWe Do Not Support The High Wire Act.‚ÄĚ
In the hour-and-a-half broadcast leading up to the walk across the 8.5-ton cable, Discovery‚Äôs promoters sometimes hyped the dangerousness of Wallenda‚Äôs no-tether, no-net feat more than he did.
Wallenda is a seventh-generation descendant of the “Flying Wallendas” family of daredevils and acrobats. His great grandfather died while trying to perform a similar stunt in Puerto Rico in 1978.