Today world-renowned base jumper and extreme sportsman Dean Potter was tragically found dead in Yosemite National Park in the United States. Authorities say they found the body of 43-year-old Potter who apparently died while attempting a 7,500ft wing-suited base jump from Taft Point. There's no news yet on what went wrong, though it is thought that Potter and his jump partner Graham Hunt attempted to glide through a narrow crevice at speed, but failed to successfully navigate the move. The world has lost one of its more formidable daredevils.
Potter made his name taking part in activities that most people would deem utterly insane – even if most of them did take part in breath-taking surroundings. Aside from base-jumping, flying in wing-suits and sheer face rock climbing, Potter was also fond of tightrope walking at hair-raising altitudes with absolutely no safety harness. Occasionally he'd walk along a rope with a parachute on his back and then leap off. Apparently all of this high-flying tomfoolery began with Potter trying to overcome his fear of heights. Here's just some of the amazing things the man accomplished:
1.) The World's Longest Base Jump
In November of 2011, Potter ventured up to the peak of Mount Eiger in Switzerland in a wing-suit. He leapt off and over the next couple of minutes in gliding free-fall, he set the record for the longest recorded base jump, reaching an impressive 7.5 kilometres. In a window of 3 minutes and 20 seconds in flight, Potter plunged 9,200 ft. Not scary. Not in the slightest.
2.) Highlining at 7,500ft
How does tightrope walking thousands of feet above the ground with no safety harness, no parachute and just a bunch of jagged rocks beneath you to break your fall should you mess up grab you? Oh, and that height, a decent sized gust of wind could easily send you plummeting to your death. Well, Dean Potter accomplished such a feat in Yosemite – and this in spite of the fact that he almost fell off the highwire twice before he removed the safety harness.
3.) Racing up the Nose
A year before he flung himself off Mount Eiger, setting the world's longest base jumping record, Potter and fellow climber Sean Leavy set the record for the fastest time up the sheer face of The Nose of Yosemite Valley's mountain, El Capitan. They scaled the 31-pitch route in 2 hours, 36 minutes, 45 seconds shaving just 20 seconds off the previous record holders. Talk about cutting it close.
4.) First Solo Ascent of Heaven
As much as he was able to partner up with a mate on a speed climb, Potter was a pretty adept at climbing solo. In 2006, Dean Potter made the first ever free solo ascent the route named Heaven on Glacier Point Apron in Yosemite. Once again, no safety harnesses, no parachute and nothing to prevent his death, should anything have gone wrong.
5.) Base Jumping With the Dog
Fancy taking your dog for a walk? Well, Dean Potter took his dog, Whisper, on a couple of base jumps – and apparently she liked it. We'd be terrified. Whisper is harder than we could ever hope to be.