We no longer check to see whether Telegraph. To see our content at its best we recommend upgrading if you wish to continue using IE or using another browser such as Firefox, Safari or Google Chrome. Nik Wallenda is a man prepared to die. On Sunday, in front of a global television audience of several million, the 34 year-old will step out on a 2in-thick metal wire and attempt to enter the record books as the first person to walk across the Grand Canyon.
Higher than the Empire State Building, higher, certainly, than Wallenda himself has ever attempted before, the wire will be suspended a stomach-lurching 1,ft above the Little Colorado River. Without a safety net or a harness, the only equipment Wallenda will use is a pole, which he will carry for balance. The daredevil already holds seven world records including the longest walk over a waterfall, which he achieved last year when he crossed Niagara Falls, and the highest bicycle tightrope ft , completed in October , live on breakfast television.
Tightrope walker crosses river Seine. Wallenda crosses Grand Canyon on high wire. Tightrope walker crosses Niagara Falls. Stuntman makes mountaintop tightrope walk. Artist hangs upside down on bicycle on tightrope 3,ft above fjord. Wallenda is certainly no shrinking violet. But Wallenda is also the heir to seven generations of circus performers and funambulists, as tightrope walkers are correctly named, and carries out his stunts in homage to those who stepped out before him but never made it to the other side.
Nik Wallenda in training for his grand canyon walk Photo: During his Niagara walk, his miked-up prayers were heard by millions of viewers as he inched his way along the wire. Less than two weeks before the Grand Canyon walk, I meet Wallenda at his training camp in Sarasota, on the west coast of Florida. Fair-haired and freckled, he is compact and strong with solid-looking limbs, the result of a strict five-day-a-week gym regime.
A crowd of several hundred fans have turned up to watch him perform the first of his twice-daily training walks along a 1,ft-long stretch of wire, suspended between two cranes. The wire he normally walks is actually much narrower, only 2cm thick, but that would snap if pulled tight across the Grand Canyon. Wallenda must also prepare for all climatic conditions.Man Walks across the Grand Canyon 2462013 YouTube
This time Wallenda will have no protection, save the silver cross around his neck and his faith in God. In fact, he says he chose Discovery specifically because it would allow him to do the walk without a harness. If he slips he says he will wrap his arms and legs around the wire and wait for safety teams to collect him in a cart attached to a trolley.
How do I sort it out? He pulled it back, to the relief of all those watching, and set a new world record. Does he ever really get scared? But I turn that into respect and think: Wallenda actually walked his first wire when he was still in the womb.
Nik and his older sister, Lijana, spent much of their childhood on the road, living in a mobile home while their parents performed across America.
Nik made his first appearance at two years old, as a tiny clown, and walked his first low wire at the family home in Sarasota the same year.
His father, Terry, would shake the wire and throw pinecones at him to test his focus; it is still Terry who will be talking to Nik via a two-way earpiece when he walks across the canyon today. Delilah even wrote a book, The Last of the Wallendas, convinced the colourful legacy would end with her generation.
Nik considered more mainstream career options, including medicine. But not everyone in the circus world is quite so pleased. Terry tells me there was a deafening silence from the circus community when Nik completed Niagara Falls.
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The man crossing the Grand Canyon on a tightrope Supported only by faith and a slender wire, Nik Wallenda is attempting to become the first man to walk across the Grand Canyon.
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