Nik Wallenda's vertiginous feat came little more than a year after he crossed Niagara Falls from the U.S. to Canada on a 2 inch thick cable covering a distance of about 1 800 feet at a height of about 180 feet. But on that crossing he wore a harness unlike Sunday.
Literally when he finished Niagara Falls when he was asked at the end of it what he wanted to do next he said 'I want to do the Grand Canyon ' Wallenda's manager Winston Simone told one of Discovery's TV personalities before Sunday's walk.
Wallenda 34 couldn't get permission from the U.S. government to traverse the Grand Canyon proper which spans anywhere from 10 to 18 miles. So he walked above a stretch of the Little Colorado River Gorge on Navajo Nation land prompting some gibes about Discovery's breathless promotion of the feat.
Mr. Wallenda needs to buy a GPS or somebody give this guy a map Milton Tso president of the Cameron community on the Navajo Nation told the Associated Press. 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.
The walk's promoters bragged that there was no electricity no running water and no paved roads around the site prompting organizers to build a road to the walk site and then promise to carefully tear everything down afterward without damaging the Navajo Nation's environs. Navajo protesters near the walk site held signs that read GO AWAY WALLENDA and WE DO NOT SUPPORT THE HIGH WIRE ACT.
In the hour and a half broadcast leading up to the walk across the 8.5 ton cable Discovery's promoters sometimes hyped the dangerousness of Wallenda's no tether no net feat more than he did. (At one point the network showed footage of Wallenda's great grandfather Karl Wallenda falling to his death from a high wire in Puerto Rico in 1978.)
That wire is a safe haven Nik Wallenda said before his walk adding that he would simply cling to the wire if he lost his balance and wait for help to come. If I thought I was going to lose my life on that wire today I wouldn t be taking that first step.
Before the walk Wallenda who comes from a family of daredevils stretching back seven generations played with his young nephew in the family's trailer in the company of televangelist Joel Osteen while the Weather Channel's Jim Cantore analyzed the 20 mph winds outside.
The Wallenda family prayed with Osteen before Nik Wallenda began his walk.
After he stepped onto the wire he licked his hands and wiped them on his shoes. Then he began to ferociously pray aloud as he crossed the chasm occasionally chatting with his dad about the winds and his footing.
These feel slippery there's dust on the cable... Thank you Jesus for this beautiful view. ... Praise you Jesus. Oh I love you. Thank you Jesus. ... Lord help this cable calm down. ... Yes Jesus. Oh you're my savior. Yes Jesus. Yes Jesus. ... God you're so good. Thank you for this opportunity Lord. ... Lord help me to relax Father. ... Help me to calm down and relax. You are my king. Help me to relax Lord. ... Yes Lord. Relaxed. Oh Lord peace. ... I don't want to talk to anyone Dad. The winds are way worse than I expected. ... I need to relax more. Hard to relax when you're 1 500 feet above the canyon. ... Thank you Jesus. ... What happens is an optical illusion and it freaks you out. Not fun.
You're looking good Nik whether you feel that way or not Wallenda's father Terry Troffer told him. Take your time it's all about you right now. Take your time.
It took Wallenda about 12 minutes to reach the halfway point when winds started to kick up a bit prompting more prayer from Wallenda.
Definitely whipping that cable. ... Golly wind. Go away in the name of Jesus. ... Thank you Lord. Thank you for calming that cable Lord. ... Oh yeah. That's my savior. That's Jesus.
You're 16 minutes on the wire doing great his father radioed.
You don't have to tell me how long I'm on the wire Wallenda responded then beginning to pray harder. Lord you are my everything. Lord you are my all in all. You are my peace my strength my wisdom my guidance. ... Yeshua. Jesus. You're my rock. My salvation. Sorcerer. King. Everything. Lord you are my everything. ... Glory to your name. Glory glory glory. ... Thank you Lord. Thank you Discovery Channel for believing in me. Thank you Jesus.
As Wallenda neared the end after more than 20 minutes out on the wire Troffer offered his son more encouragement You're doing great. You remind me of a true artiste.
Wallenda shrugged him off. I don't know about that he said. Then he crouched down flashed a thumbs up and sprinted the last few meters of the wire to the end. He hopped off kissed the ground and headed straight for his family.
Here are a selection of tweets from before and during the walk
signing off. see you on the otherside nevergiveupNik Wallenda ( NikWallenda) June 23 2013
Here at the Grand Canyon with my friend NikWallenda. Praying for his success Watch Live now on Discovery. SkywireJoel Osteen ( JoelOsteen) June 24 2013
The Grand Canyon was never meant to be walked across. If it was there would be some sort of natural rock bridge. AffrontToGod Skywirestefan ( boring_as_heck) June 24 2013
To all the people carping that Wallenda isn't technically walking over the Grand Canyon okay you're right. Now you try it. skywire.Ben Greenman ( bengreenman) June 24 2013
There's a guy walking across the Grand Canyon on a tight rope.... I tripped going up the stairs today. Respect SkywireShantel Jordan ( MissShantelJ) June 24 2013
I worried about Nick Wallenda falling 1500 feet until Discovery announced they had paramedics on the scene. What a load off SkyWireLiveSam Roberts ( notsam) June 24 2013
Pointless putting an ambulance at the bottom of the Grand Canyon should have just put a fella with a shovel down there. skywireDave ( Davylpool) June 24 2013
This guy is walking a tightrope across the Grand Canyon with no net. I'm eating a 4 from Wendy's with no napkins.NotKennyRogers ( NotKennyRogers) June 24 2013
i'd walk across the grand canyon but i have fear of widths.GregGutfeld ( greggutfeld) June 24 2013
Nik Wallenda It's extremely important that I make it to the other side. No kidding buddy. skywireNu Wexler ( wexler) June 24 2013
skywire dude's wife just said Nicolas would never do anything dangerous. Uhhhh....are we watching the same thingMike Wilson ( MJWilson_) June 24 2013
They've been minutes away on this skywire walk forever now.Dana Loesch ( DLoesch) June 24 2013
Then the walk finally began.
If he falls I'll never watch reality television again. skywireEd O'Keefe ( edatpost) June 24 2013
Too nervous to tweetAnthony De Rosa ( AntDeRosa) June 24 2013
Sister Did he just call Jesus a sorcerer Dad I think he's just running out of things to say. myfamily skywireKaty Bergen ( KatyBergen) June 24 2013
But can he chew gum at the same timeDavid Grann ( DavidGrann) June 24 2013
Nik Wallenda said Jesus 61 times during his tightrope walk tonight.Timothy Burke ( bubbaprog) June 24 2013
Like the saying goes there are no atheists in foxholes nor 1500 feet above the Grand Canyon. SKYWALKDave Itzkoff ( ditzkoff) June 24 2013
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