Grand Canyon tightrope walk

Daredevil Nik Wallenda has become first person to walk on a tightrope stretched across the Little Colorado River Gorge at the Grand Canyon.

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Nik Wallenda: 'It was way more windy' than expected

Daredevil Nik Wallenda said it was "way more windy" than he expected on his tightrope challenge. He said:

It was way more windy, and the movement of the cable, the sidewalls as I was walking were getting in the way and confusing me as the pendulums were swinging against them.

So I tried to react and when I reacted I kicked that rhythm into the cable and it took every bit of me to focus that entire time, my arms are aching!

He said he needed to stop and sit on the wire at two points to help him with his balance, he added:

I was building a huge rhythm into the cable and I had to sit down to hopefully take that rhythm out, that was the only thing that I could do. If I didn't go down and kept walking, it was just getting worse.

Report: Wind gusts of 48mph for tightrope attempt

Today News reports that high wire artist Nik Wallenda is currently facing wind gusts of 48mph as he carries out his Grand Canyon record attempt.

The chasm of the Grand Canyon is shown with the Little Colorado River more than a quarter-mile below in Arizona Credit: Reuters

Speaking to press on Friday the daredevil said that wind gusts were his greatest concern.

The 34-year-old from Sarasota is now nearly 20 minutes into his challenge.

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Nik Wallenda: This challenge 'is a dream come true'

Acrobat Nik Wallenda is minutes away from his latest challenge, a tightrope walk across the Little Colorado River Gorge near the Grand Canyon.

Speaking to presenters from the Discovery Channel ahead of his record breaking attempt he said: "This is a dream come true, every since I visited the Grand Canyon as a teenager, I wanted to cross it, and it's about to come true and I'm getting more and more excited."

Coming from a family of acrobats, the thirty-four-year-old's great-grandfather slipped and fell to his death from a high wire in Puerto Rico in 1978.

Speaking about his great-grandfather said: "My family is trained, we've trained our entire lives to not wear a tether. Yes we lost my great-grandfather but that was for other reasons and we've studies that and know why, and we've eliminated those reasons."

Nik Wallenda minutes away from tightrope attempt

Within the hour tightrope walker Nik Wallenda will attempt his high wire record across part of the Grand Canyon.

The challenge is being transmitted live on Discovery Channel US across 217 countries.

Nik Wallenda speaks to Discovery Channel presenter ahead of his tightrope challenge Credit: Twitter/@Discovery
Nik Wallenda hangs on the wire he will use on his tightrope attempt Credit: Twitter/@Discovery

Factfile: Grand Canyon tightrope attempt

Record breaker Nik Wallenda will attempt his highest tightrope walk yet, across a section of the Grand Canyon.

The seventh-generation member of the "Flying Wallendas" family of acrobats made history last year becoming the only person to walk a high wire over the brink of Niagara Falls.

If successful, today's attempt will make him the first person to walk on a tightrope across the Little Colorado River Gorge near the Grand Canyon.

  • At 1,400-foot (426.7 metres) the tightrope walk will be Wallenda's highest yet
  • The crossing will take between 25 and 30 minutes
  • Wallenda will wear moccasins his mother made with an elk-skin sole which allow him to feel the wire and have an all-weather grip
  • He will hold a 43-pound (20-kg) balancing pole
  • Wallenda's greatest concern is the unpredictable wind gusts, which were recorded at nearly 40 miles per hour (60 km) before the weekend
  • A safety team, led by his father, will be on hand to pluck him off the cable within 60 seconds should he face a life-threatening situation
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