Entertainment | Celebrity

Man completes tightrope walk near Grand Canyon

Nik Wallenda says he now hopes to walk across two points on Manhattan skyline

  • AP
  • Published: 08:44 June 24, 2013
  • Tabloid

Tightrope walker Nik Wallenda
  • Image Credit: AP
  • Aerialist Nik Wallenda walks a 2-inch-thick steel cable taking him a quarter mile over the Little Colorado River Gorge, Arizona.
Image 1 of 3
123

Florida aerialist Nik Wallenda completed a tightrope walk that took him a quarter mile over the Little Colorado River Gorge in northeastern Arizona on Sunday.

Wallenda performed the stunt on a 2-inch (50.8-millimeter)-thick steel cable, 1,500 feet (457.2 meters) above the river on the Navajo Nation near the Grand Canyon. He took just more than 22 minutes, pausing and crouching twice as winds whipped around him so that he could get “the rhythm out of the rope.”

“Thank you Lord. Thank you for calming that cable, God,” he said about 13 minutes into the walk.

Wallenda didn’t wear a harness and stepped slowly and steady throughout, murmuring prayers to Jesus almost constantly along the way. He jogged and hopped the last few steps.

The event was broadcast live on the Discovery Channel.

Winds blowing across the gorge were expected to be around 30 mph (48 kph). Wallenda told Discovery after the walk that the winds were at times “unpredictable” and that dust had accumulated on and around his contact lenses.

“It was way more windy and it took every bit of me to stay focused the entire time,” he said.

The 34-year-old Wallenda is a seventh-generation high-wire artist and is part of the famous “Flying Wallendas” circus family – a clan that is no stranger to death-defying feats.

His great-grandfather, Karl Wallenda, fell during a performance in Puerto Rico and died at the age of 73. Several other family members, including a cousin and an uncle, have perished while performing wire walking stunts.

Nik Wallenda grew up performing with his family and has dreamed of crossing the Grand Canyon since he was a teenager.

Sunday’s stunt comes a year after he traversed Niagara Falls earning a seventh Guinness world record.

Wallenda wore a microphone and two cameras, one that looked down on the dry Little Colorado River bed and one that faced straight ahead. His leather shoes with an elk-skin sole helped him keep a grip on the steel cable as he moved across.

About 600 spectators watching on a large video screen on site cheered him on as he walked toward them.

Wallenda told reporters after the walk that he hoped his next stunt would be a tightrope walk between the Empire State building and the Chrysler building in New York.

Before the walk, a group of Navajos, Hopis and other Native Americans stood along a nearby highway with signs protesting the event.

The stunt was touted as a walk across the Grand Canyon, an area held sacred by many American Indian tribes. Some local residents believe Wallenda hasn’t accurately pinpointed the location and also said that the Navajo Nation shouldn’t be promoting the gambling of one man’s life for the benefit of tourism.

“Mr Wallenda needs to buy a GPS or somebody give this guy a map,” said Milton Tso, president of the Cameron community on the Navajo Nation. “He’s not walking across the Grand Canyon. He’s walking across the Little Colorado River Gorge on the Navajo Nation. It’s misleading and false advertising.”

Discovery’s 2-hour broadcast showcased the Navajo landscape that includes Monument Valley, Four Corners, Canyon de Chelly and the tribal capital of Window Rock.

“When people watch this, our main thing is we want the world to know who Navajo people are, our culture, traditions and language are still very much alive,” Geri Hongeva, spokeswoman for the tribe’s Division of Natural Resources, said before the walk.


Covering everything from entertainment and lifestyle

Tabloid
Lifestyle & Entertainment columnists
  • Gaby Doman
    Gaby Doman: Notes to myself

    The everyday ups and downs of being a modern woman, according to this globetrotter

  • Uma Ghosh Deshpande
    The Dubai Insider

    TV personality Uma Ghosh Deshpande guides you through the city’s society gatherings and stories

  • Russell Hemmings
    Life the Hemmings way

    Life coach Russell Hemmings on fears, anxieties and the human psyche demystified

  • Bharat Thakur
    Yoga for you

    Bharat Thakur guides you through practices and wisdom of this ancient science of exercising

  • Pratyush Sarup
    Design diary

    Dubai-based interior designer Pratyush Sarup lets us in on the world of design

Lifestyle top picks

More from Life

Quick Links

  1. Business

  2. Sport

  3. The latest Entertainment news

  4. The latest Lifestyle stories

  5. Blogs

  6. Opinion

In Entertainment

  1. Books

  2. Celebrity

  3. Latest film and cinema news

  4. Gaming

  5. Internet

  6. Music

  7. Performing and Visual Arts

  8. Television

Latest in Entertainment

  1. Dylan’s restored basement tapes to be released

  2. Chuck Berry wins Polar music prize

  3. Dunham, Poehler among those to release books

  4. Arpita Ghosh to debut in ‘Indecent Proposal’

  5. Compliments embarrass Dharmendra