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Rediff.com  » News » Pix: Daredevil walks tightrope 1,500 feet above Grand Canyon

Pix: Daredevil walks tightrope 1,500 feet above Grand Canyon

June 24, 2013 11:28 IST

Daredevil walks tightrope 1,500 feet above Grand Canyon

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Nik Wallenda, the king of high wire, made history once again by walking across the Grand Canyon on Sunday.

This was the highest tightrope walk ever attempted by Wallenda -- towering 1,500 feet above the Little Colorado River, a height greater than the Empire State Building.

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Image: Daredevil Nik Wallenda walks on a two-inch diameter steel cable rigged across more than a quarter-mile deep remote section of the Grand Canyon near Little Colorado River, Arizona
Photographs: Mike Blake/Reuters

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Daredevil walks tightrope 1,500 feet above Grand Canyon

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The tightrope crossing took place in a remote section of the Grand Canyon operated by the Navajo Nation Parks and Recreation and served as a spectacular backdrop to the event.

Wallenda told Discovery Channel just after completing the daredevil walk that his family has been walking on the tightrope “for seven generations, it is in my blood”.

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Image: Wallenda gives a thumbs-up sign as he nears the end, after walking across the Grand Canyon
Photographs: Mike Blake/Reuters

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Daredevil walks tightrope 1,500 feet above Grand Canyon

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“The Grand Canyon was a place I visited as a kid. For as long as I can remember, it has been a dream to cross over such a spectacular setting,” said 34-year-old Wallenda through a press release.

“I’m incredibly grateful to the Navajo Nation for allowing me to accomplish my dream and the Discovery Channel for trusting in my abilities.”

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Image: Wallenda walks cable rigged approximately 1,500 feet across the Grand Canyon
Photographs: Mike Blake/Reuters

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Daredevil walks tightrope 1,500 feet above Grand Canyon

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Wallenda walked over the canyon on a tightrope, approximately 1,400 feet across, without using any type of harness or restraint. According to him, the harness creates a false sense of security and diminishes a craft that his family has spent generations learning to perfect. 

The untethered walk was also a chance to honour his great grandfather, the legendary Karl Wallenda, who died after falling from a tightrope in Puerto Rico in 1978.

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Image: Wallenda pauses in the middle of his stunt across the canyon
Photographs: Mike Blake/Reuters

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Daredevil walks tightrope 1,500 feet above Grand Canyon

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The Grand Canyon walk marks Wallenda’s eighth world record including his 2012 tightrope walk directly over the Niagara Falls from the United States to Canada. He is planning his next major feat, which may include stringing a wire between the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building in New York.

Wallenda was born in Sarasota Florida and recently published his biography -- Balance: A Story of Faith, Family, and Life on the Line.  He was barely two when he started walking on the cable and he fell several times until he perfected it. “All I knew then was the joy of a boy who had found the greatest toy in the world," he said.

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Image: Wallenda gestures during a news conference after completing the high-wire walk
Photographs: Mike Blake/Reuters

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Daredevil walks tightrope 1,500 feet above Grand Canyon

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Talking about his great grandfather, the aerialist says, “Karl Wallenda, the man who excited my imagination, was a hero. He remains so to this day. I continue to derive sustenance from his never-say-die example of optimism. I never tire of quoting his mantra: ‘Life is on the wire; everything else is just waiting’.”

“This was certainly history in the making,” said Eileen O’Neill, Group President Discovery and TLC Networks, who broadcasted the stunt. “Nik inspires so many people around the world to follow their dreams. We are incredibly proud to have brought this event into so many homes across the country and around the globe.”


Image: Wallenda balances himself as he walks the tightrope above Grand Canyon
Photographs: Mike Blake/Reuters

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