29. Dean Potter

Dean Potter to most of us would be a risk taker. He was a base jumper. (BASE  means buildings, antennae, spans Dean Potterand earth). Many people were not upset at his death: seeing him as an idiot taking stupid risks.
On the other hand he was seen as a visionary climber pushing the limits of Base jumping to be safer. He recognised the irony of the extremes of extreme sport. To live on the edge of life risks mortality and death.

Moonwalk puts risk, & natural beauty together in such a stunning way that it almost looks fake. The ultimate full moon shot. Dean Potter walks a high line at Cathedral Peak in Yosemite National Park photographed from over a mile away as the sun sets and the moon rises with a Canon 800mm and 2X lens taken by Mikey Schaefer.

He performed the feat of  Fly or die or simply Base jumping with his dog in the First Ascent film.
Sadly the law that you cannot Base jump in American national parks might have facilitated his and others death. Jumpers take risks not to be caught. They jump in bad weather, use inferior equipment so that it isn’t confiscated, and can even be imprisoned.

The technical climbers and base jumpers are the most experienced climbers. Dean Potter was a member of the Yosemite Search and Rescue (Yosar) for five years, helping to rescue people in the parks where it was illegal for him to jump.
On his last flight with Peter Hunt they were both flying in the evening when the conditions were not ideal.
Perhaps they were taking risks so that they wouldn’t be caught.

But tales of his personality abound. He stood 6 foot five weighing 185 pounds. He was obsessive, anal, meticulous in his preparation. He worked to offset the risks. If it didn’t feel right he didn’t do it. Pushing himself to do something too risky would frighten him and set him back years. After his bad jump in the Cave of Swallows in Mexico he frightened himself, and became depressed for two years.

He could obsessively focus on the jump ahead. He could enter into a Zen state, through meditation and cutting himself off from the world. He could become a sloth, to save energy and like turning a switch could become incredibly athletic. He lived in a cave to escape normal interaction with other people to channel his energies for the jump.

This quote relates to his parents wanting to protect themselves from their son’s “hobby”!
“My parents didn’t want to believe their son was 200 feet up, free-soloing. They liked to go on long walks and runs, and they would go right by Joe English. Later they’d say, “Hey, we saw someone climbing up there.” They would describe what they saw, and I’d be wearing the exact same outfit. And I’d say, “Oh… Nope, wasn’t me!”

Copyright Adrian Scott North London Counsellor Blog 2016
All rights reserved
Disclaimer:This weblog is the view of the writer and for general information only.
This article is designed to provoke argument and critique


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