Base Jumpers Killed at Yosemite National Park in California

Extreme Athlete

Dean Potter, 34, From en.wikimedia.org, (C. C. Attribution-ShareAlike License)

Daredevil Dean Potter, 43, is noted for scaling up mountains without life lines and jumping from sky-high landforms. Nytimes.com said Potter climbed El Capitan in 3 hours 24 minutes in 2001, and was the first to free-climb both El Capitan and Half Dome in 24 hours. In Switzerland in 2009, he established a record time of two minutes and fifty seconds in a wingsuit flight after jumping from the Eiger North Face, according to the website northjersey.com

Death-defying walk on a slackline

In 2012 in Shien, China, he completed walking on a 40m long slackline suspended 1800 meters above sea level with no safety device to catch him in case of fall. And in earlier jump he had videoed himself with his dog, a small Australian bespectacled dog named Whisper, strapped to his back, the telegraph.co.uk said According to Jennifer Rapp, Potter’s girlfriend, an entry in her Instagram, as disclosed in fabwags.com, the first climbed they ever did as a couple was Cathedral Peak in Yosemite CA.

Tragic death for two respected Base Jumpers

However, rosy and challenging Dean Potter’s life and career had seemed to be, it came to a sad and tragic ending on May 16, 2015, a Saturday.  About dusk near the granite walls of El Capitan and Half Dome, the pair base jumpers Dean Potter, 43, and Graham Hunt, 29 leapt the 7,500-foot Taft Point in the Yosemite National Park. Wearing bat-like gear called wingsuits, they failed to glide clear over a notch in the granite cliffs but instead crashed into them. They failed to deploy their parachutes, according to the New York Times.

Search for the bodies

Two sounds quite big were heard by the fliers’ spotter but failed to contact them through radio, so she proceeded towards the agreed meeting place, Outside reported. Optimistic, Yosemite Chief of Staff Mike Gauthier told Outside that the duo might have been arrested as base jumping is forbidden in Yosemite National Park. But the Saturday night search for the duo proved fruitless, thus a search helicopter was deployed Sunday morning and located the bodies already lifeless. Base jumping is illegal in all national parks.

Legalization of base jumping on all parks

On the query as to why BASE jumping at Yosemite is such a big deal since they allow free climbs without permits. Potter replied, “I agree. It’s an old rule and should be changed to reflect modern day. I’m actively pursuing the legalization of human flight in our national parks and slowly making progress. Hopefully more people will lobby with me!” Because of his untimely death, Potter has left an unfinished business. Who will perform his unfinished task?

Love life

Dean Potter married fellow rock climber, base jumper and wingsuit flyer Stephanie “Steph” Davis (born 1973) in 2002 but they elected divorce in 2010.  Potter is survived by his girlfriend, Jennifer Rapp, or Jen with whom he produced a film in 2014 about his BASE jumps, titled When Dogs Fly. Jen is also the mom of three children Rowan, 9, Sabina, 7, and May, 3 from previous relationships. Potter has treated them as his own.

CREDIT: Slacklining at Taft Point in the Yosemite National Park (en.wikipedia.org, C. C. Attribution-ShareAlike License)


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2 Comments

  1. Finesta
    • titanick

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