BASE Jumping Claims Climbers, Dean Potter’s and Graham Hunt’s Life
The daredevil, Dean Potter, 43, renowned for his daring climbs and BASE jumps, was one of two men killed after jumping from a 7,500-foot promontory called Taft Point in Yosemite National Park. The other climber accompanying Potter, Graham Hunt, 29, has also been found dead.
The two men jumped around nightfall, wearing wingsuits, to help them glide but unfortunately the parachutes designed to slow their descent had not been deployed. BASE jumping is illegal in all national parks, therefore, these men jumped at dusk or at night to avoid being caught by park rangers.
BASE stands for buildings, antennas, spans and Earth such as cliffs and mountaintops that jumpers can parachute from. Corey Rich, a photographer who documented some of Potter's feats, remarked that BASE jumping is the most dangerous thing you can do, as every time you jump it's a roll of the dice.
A search-and-rescue operation was launched after neither of the two responded to radio calls or arrived at a preset meeting point in the park. The bodies were spotted along the wall of rock in the Yosemite Valley by the California Highway Patrol helicopter. Scott Gediman, the Park ranger stated that a full investigation by park officials into the deaths was underway.
Nevertheless, Potter was well acquainted with the dangers associated with these perilous tasks. Chris McNamara, a fellow climber, stated, “He always recognized how dangerous the sport was and at the same time how magical it was, the tension between those two things”.
Potter holds records for being the first to climb three-quarters of Half Dome in just four hours. He scaled El Capitan with only his hands and feet and a rope to prevent him from falling.
Though an ace climber, Potter was surrounded by several controversies; He was kicked out of Yosemite several times, the clothing company Patagonia dropped its sponsorship of him, and last year Cliff Bar also ended its sponsorship of Potter.
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