Mention Nik Wallenda and the first thing that comes to mind is that of the daredevil tightrope walking across long distances at insanely high altitudes. Over the years, the 35-year-old Florida resident has conducted numerous record-breaking feats, including one across the spectacular Niagara Falls. However, it is his most recent one that has people gasping in awe. That's because this time around, the aerialist decide to step it up a notch, by blindfolding himself!
"Skyscraper Live", which was broadcast with a 10-second delay on the Discovery Channel, took place in downtown Chicago on Sunday, November 2nd. Unlike his previous endeavors this one comprised of two back-to-back walks. The first, a 454-foot stretch from the Marina City west tower to the Leo Burnett Building entailed tightrope walking across the Chicago River.
The daredevil, who was wearing a bright red jacket, began his journey by testing the cable tension. Then began the risky trek that could have been fatal, given that there were no safety nets to catch Wallenda, if he missed his footing. In addition to balancing on the 3/4 inch thick high wire, the aerialist also had to deal with an ascend. That's because the 671-foot tall Leo Burnett Building happens to 113-feet higher than the Marina City west tower, where the walk began. Though the angle was about 4 degrees steeper than he had practiced for, Wallenda traversed across the skyscrapers in a short six and a half minutes.
Following a short break to regroup himself, Wallenda made his way back to Marina City west tower for his second walk - this time, his destination was the Marina City east tower that stood a mere 94-feet away. While the short distance may sound a little lame for someone of Wallenda's caliber, the aerialist had chosen it for a special reason - he planned to conduct the tightrope walk blindfolded!
As the silent crowd held its breath, Wallenda who was guided by his father, made his way across confidently, covering the distance in a speedy quick minute and 20 seconds! Once he was on sure footing, he ripped off his blindfold and waved to the wildly cheering crowd below.
Though thrilled at having broken two records, one for scaling the steepest incline and the other for the highest blindfolded tightrope walk, Wallenda is already busy planning his next adventure. The recreation of a stunt performed by his great-grandfather, Karl Wallenda in 1970, involves a 1,200 foot-long high wire walk across Georgia's Tallulah Falls Gorge, with two headstands along the way - so stay tuned!
Resources: CNN.com, tweentribune.com, discoverychannel.com