Showing posts with label Dean Potter. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dean Potter. Show all posts

Outside Profiles Graham Hunt - Dean Potter's BASE Jump Partner

The headlines this week have been filled with stories about Dean Potter, the climbing legend who lost his life in a fatal wingsuit accident in Yosemite National Park last Saturday. A number of those stories offered only a passing mention of Graham Hunt, Potter's companion on the ill-fated BASE jump. But Outside Online looks to rectify that by posting an article that profiles the Other Man in this tragic story.

The 29-year old Hunt is described as someone who was known within the BASE jumping community, but not so much outside of it. He had very little online presence, and did almost nothing to promote the dangerous stunts that he was gaining a reputation for. That meant that when news of his death broke, there was little information that would come up in a Google search. That helped the narrative of the story to become "Dean Potter died, and there was someone else with him."

But Outside says that those who knew Hunt well describe him as a man who had a lot of confidence in his own skills, which were considerable to say the least. He was known for being incredibly calm and reliable on the walls, and someone that other climbers wanted to have with them, particularly in Yosemite. That probably shouldn't come as a surprise considering he was climbing and jumping with Potter, who was known to be selective of the company he kept on his own adventures. The pair made an epic jump of the Eiger back in 2013, although Dean was the one who made headlines, while his partner remained characteristically in the background.

Through quotes from friends and snippets of news on Graham, the Outside profile gives us a better understanding of who the "other guy" truly was. By all accounts, he was an excellent climber and BASE jumper himself, but perhaps even more so he was a good person and friend. His death hasn't gotten nearly the same attention as Potter's, but from the sounds of things, that is exactly how he would have wanted it.

Meanwhile, Outside is also reporting that video footage from Potter's GoPro camera has been recovered as well. It likely holds some clues as to what went wrong on this flight, and what ultimately cost the two men their lives. Preliminary reports say that Hunt may have hit a rocky outcropping and that Dean swerved out of the way to avoid a collision, only to hit another rock on the other side. The two men were jumping from Taft Point in Yosemite and were attempting to navigate through a narrow slot in the rocks when the accident occurred. It now seems likely that they both hit part of the rock face, causing them to crash to the valley floor below.

Obviously  the investigation is ongoing at this time, and more details are likely to be known in the future.

Dean Potter Remembered

The loss of climbing and BASE jumping legend Dean Potter has obviously hit the outdoor and adventure community very hard. His death in Yosemite over the weekend while BASE jumping with Graham Hunt has left many stunned and in mourning. As the news spread across the Internet there has been an impressive number of tributes, profiles, and articles written about Dean, who was at times a controversial figure both in life and death. Here is a round-up of some of the stories.

As you'll see as you read through these articles there are some very common threads. First, Dean was widely admired and respected for his climbing abilities and adventurous spirit. But beyond that, he was also much loved because he was a genuinely good human being. Yes, from time to time he did some things that caused a stir both in and out of the climbing community, but his good natured enthusiasm, and boyish love of life, made him a hard man not to like. That is why there has been such an amazing response online to his death, and why he will be missed greatly.

Once again, my condolences to Dean and Graham's friends and family on this loss.

Video: A Profile of Dean Potter

You're likely to see a lot of videos featuring Dean Potter in the days ahead. His tragic death is going to leave the climbing community in state of mourning for some time. This video is a profile of Dean, and his desire to push the envelope to achieve bigger and better things. It shows not only his climbing ability, but adventurous spirit, which will be missed greatly. If you're not aware of Dean's contributions to that community, this clip will help to put it into perspective.

Climbing Legend Dean Potter Dies in Yosemite

There was incredibly sad news in the climbing world this past weekend as the story broke that climbing legend Dean Potter died in a BASE jumping accident in Yosemite National Park. The 43-year old Potter was known as much for his free spirit and sense of adventure, as he was his incredible climbing and athletic skills.

The details of what exactly happened still aren't clear, but on Saturday evening Potter was making a BASE jump with with Graham Hunt from Taft Point in Yosemite. Hunt was killed int he accident as well, and when neither of the two men showed up at a rendezvous point following the jump, their ground support crew didn't panic. It was thought that they might have made their way out along a different route, or may have been arrested. BASE jumping is illegal in Yosemite, but the two men had made hundreds of jumps in the past, and were very experienced in the sport.

By Sunday, friends and family began to worry about the Potter and Hunt's whereabouts, and a search and rescue operation was mounted in the national park. Their two bodies were discovered later in the day. Both men had fallen to their deaths without opening their parachutes, which only deepens the mystery.

Potter was a well known figure in the climbing and BASE jumping community. Back in 2006 he made a controversial climb up Delicate Arch in Arches National Park which drew the ire of many. He also raised eyebrows when he made a video of a wingsuit flight with his dog – Whisper – last year. But he was incredibly well respected for his fantastic climbing ability that allowed him to free solo some of the toughest routes in the world, and his athletic prowess was displayed only recently when he set a new speed record on Half Dome.

It is impossible to overstate just how much of a luminary Dean was in the adventure sports community. He has been a fixture in the Yosemite climbing scene for decades, and was known for pushing the boundaries of the activities that he loved, which included slacklining as well. To say that he will be missed will be an understatement, and my condolences go out to his friends and family. Dean's ability to follow his own path, pursue his own dreams, and accomplish great things along the way was unmatched. We may never see the likes of Dean Potter again, and the climbing community has lost one of its brightest stars.

New Speed Records Set on Matterhorn and Half Dome

Continuing my attempt to catch up on some of the bigger adventure stories that took place while I was away, I have details on attempts at speed records on two of the most iconic mountains in the world – the Matterhorn in Europe and Half-Dome in Yosemite National Park.

First, back on April 22 Swiss climber Dani Arnold successfully set a new record on the 4478 meter (14,692 ft) Matterhorn when he raced up its North Face in just 1 hour, 46 minutes. That bests the previous record set by fellow countryman Ueli Steck by 10 minutes. To put that time into perspective, ExWeb says that most good alpinists will require approximately 8-10 hours to complete the same route.

Arnold took the Schmid Route to the summit, free-soloing without ropes the entire way. The climber says that while he didn't feel he was going particularly fast, he was able to find a good rhythm on the ascent, which allowed him to speed up the mountain at a steady pace. That seems like an understatement when you consider his accomplishment. Climbing the Matterhorn is a classic mountaineering challenge, but to do so in record time is impressive indeed.

This speed record is another reminder of just what a force Arnold is on the mountaineering scene. Back in 2011 he broke another record of Steck's by going up the Eiger 20 minutes faster than the "Swiss Machine." While Dani hasn't gotten the same level of attention from the press that Steck has, he is certainly one of the best climbers working today.

Meanwhile, Dean Potter faced an entirely different type of challenge on his attempt to set a new speed record on Half Dome. According to the Adventure Journal, the climber/BASE jumper used a combination of trail running, fast hiking, and rock climbing to reach the top, and descend back down, in just 2 hours, 17 minutes, and 52 seconds. That effort shaved six minutes off the previous record set by Kyle Williams just last September.

While on his speed attempt, Potter carried no food or water with him, but instead simply went up wearing just a pair of shorts, socks, and running shoes. That is outdoor adventure in its purest form, and is also an impressive feat on a route that almost any reasonably fit person could follow.

Both of these speed records are impressive and inspiring in their own right. Congratulations to both Dani and Dean for completing these challenges.