Remembering Pioneering Climber Dean Potter

Dean Potter climbing Half Dome, Yosemite, California; Photograph by Jimmy Chin
Dean Potter climbing Half Dome in 2012, Yosemite, California; Photograph by Jimmy Chin

More about Dean Potter:

7 Pictures Highlight Climber Dean Potter’s Extreme Moments

How Dean Potter Reinvented Climbing, Jumping, Flying

Wingsuit BASE jumping, which is steadily gaining a reputation for being the world’s most dangerous sport, has claimed its latest victims. Dean Potter, 43, and Graham Hunt, 29, died from impact during a wingsuit flight from Taft Point in Yosemite National Park, just after 7:30 p.m. on May 16.

Hunt, from El Portal, California, was an active climber and wingsuit BASE jumper in Yosemite.

Potter was widely considered one of the most influential climbers, highliners, and BASE jumpers of his generation. He was a National Geographic Expeditions Council grantee who was featured across National Geographic print and broadcast media, including being named an Adventurer of the Year.

“Dean was a visionary,” says Cedar Wright, a professional climber from Boulder, Colorado. “He was always one step ahead of what everyone else was doing.”

“He was a larger-than-life character,” says Mike Gauthier, the chief of staff in Yosemite National Park. “His role in the community in Yosemite Valley, and the climbing world—he’s just in the pantheon of great athletes that people idolize and look up to.”

An observer shooting photos of Hunt and Potter’s flight reported hearing two disconcerting, loud sounds in succession that suggested impact—but also could have been parachute deployment.

When the jumpers didn’t return from their outing on Saturday night, Jen Rapp, Potter’s partner in life, and Rebecca Haynie, Graham’s partner since January, approached Gauthier with the news that the jumpers had missed their scheduled arrival. Gauthier helped arrange a team from Yosemite Search and Rescue (YOSAR), and a hasty, ultimately unsuccessful search on foot was performed.

A helicopter was placed on standby for the following morning.

A California State helicopter arrived Sunday morning and the pilots, using the photos taken by the observer on the previous night, were able to quickly locate two subjects that matched Potter and Hunt’s descriptions. By noon, two rangers were short-hauled onto the site, they confirmed Potter and Hunt’s deaths, and performed the recovery. No parachutes had been deployed.

Whisper, Potter’s miniature Australian cattle dog, who recently gained notoriety from the film When Dogs Fly, a film about Potter’s penchant for wingsuit BASE jumping with his dog in tow, was not with Potter on this last flight.

Nicknamed the “Dark Wizard” for his brooding, intense personality, Potter, at 6’5” and 190 pounds, was a world-class rock climber and was also considered one of the most experienced wingsuit BASE jumpers in the world. His contributions to climbing, highlining, and wingsuit flying are the stuff of legend.

Potter, a resident of Yosemite West, had been living in the Valley for the last 22 years and pushing the limits of what is possible on these granite big-walls the entire time. He held numerous speed records in Yosemite, including the coveted Nose speed record. Most recently, he pioneered a new “running” record, reaching the summit of Half Dome via the technical “Snake Dike” rock climb in 1:19 from the car.

Dean Potter walking a high line above Yosemite Falls; Photograph by Jimmy Chin
Potter walking a high line above Yosemite Falls in 2010, Yosemite, California; Photograph by Jimmy Chin

Potter had been pioneering new ways of climbing light and fast for a long time. In 1998, he set a different kind of speed record on Half Dome, climbing the technical Regular Northwest Face route (V 5.12a), mostly without a rope, and occasionally employing the use of a rope and gear to pull through the more technical cruxes of the route.

“It was the first time anyone had ever climbed big walls by themselves with this art of no rules that I had established called ‘speed solo,’” Potter said in an interview last Tuesday. “At the time it was totally new, but it really opened up potential on the big walls, and in the alpine world, to be able to move incredibly fast, outrun storms, and still have the safety of a tiny little bit of gear.”

“When Dean soloed Half Dome,” says Wright, referring to the 1998 record, “that was a paradigm shift for the way people soloed big walls. And guys like Alex Honnold are using those tactics today.”

Potter put his techniques to use in 2002 in Patagonia, when he speed soloed Fitz Roy twice in one season, once by a new route.

“That really was the year that I started thinking about how to get off the mountain in a safer way,” Potter said. And for him, that meant flying off the top, either with a paraglider, BASE jumping, or even wingsuit BASE jumping.

For the past 13 years, Potter had combined his three sports of climbing, running, and flying into hybrid “sports,” though it is hard to be label some of these endeavors as sports since they are so technical, so dangerous, and so difficult that oftentimes Potter was the only person even practicing them. For example, Potter invented “free BASE,” which is free-soloing (climbing without a rope) tall walls (at least 1,000 feet in height) with a parachute for safety in the event of a fall.

“One thing I always appreciate about Dean is that he was always true to himself,” says Wright, who considers Potter a climbing mentor. “Even when it meant losing sponsors and rubbing people the wrong way. Dean was refreshingly non-corporate, and always just balls-to-the-wall badass.”

In 2006, Potter was the subject of a scandal when he free-soloed Delicate Arch in Arches National Park. Though climbing on Delicate Arch was not technically illegal, Potter drew criticism from Park rangers, Utah government officials, and even within the core climbing world for his flagrant media exposure. Ultimately, Potter’s main sponsor, Patagonia, dropped both him and his then wife, Steph Davis, over the incident.

Potter, however, was undeterred and remained committed to practicing his “arts,” as he always called climbing, flying, and running. In 2009, Potter set a record in the wingsuit BASE jumping world for duration. Jumping from the Eiger North Face in Switzerland, he stayed in flight for 2 minutes and 50 seconds, a feat which made him one of our Adventurers of the Year. (Watch a video from his Eiger wingsuit flight.)

Wingsuit BASE jumping has only been around for the last ten years, and the number of people practicing this sport world-wide is probably less than 400. A number of high-profile deaths of wingsuit BASE jumpers in recent years has contributed to its reputation for being dangerous.

BASE jumping is illegal in all national parks, though according to those in the community, it happens often, typically at dusk or at night, when the chances of being caught by park rangers are lower. There were only four arrests for BASE jumping in national parks in 2014—coincidentally, one of those was Hunt, though the charges were dropped due to circumstantial evidence.

“We’re not too concerned about discussing the ins and out of BASE jumping [in national parks],” says Gauthier. “And on the record, all we really care about right now are the family and loved ones of Dean and Graham.”

More about Dean Potter:

7 Pictures Highlight Climber Dean Potter’s Extreme Moments

How Dean Potter Reinvented Climbing, Jumping, Flying


  1. maria
    May 17, 2015, 9:32 pm

    I can imagine how he felt hitting the ground !!!
    Men love to play with death .
    Sorry for his loving parents

  2. Anne Choy
    May 17, 2015, 9:52 pm

    Rest in Peace Dean and Graham. Thank you for your adventurous spirits, and taking us on your journeys.

  3. Carrie Muntz
    Shingle Springs, Ca
    May 17, 2015, 10:08 pm

    The Muntz Family send our heartfelt condolences both families. We had spent a lot of years watching Graham Hunt grow up from age 9. We spent a lot of time with the Hunt’s especially during our involvement in 4-H. We all LOVED Graham! He was a beautiful person! RIP Graham.

  4. Ted Logan
    May 17, 2015, 10:19 pm

    Why are people celebrating this illegal and fatal thrill-seeking activity? Why should taxpayers have to pick up the bill for picking up their remains? Silly children who never grew up. National parks are for quiet contemplation of beauty. Instead, these boy-men were playing batman.

  5. David Snyder
    Carlsbad, Ca
    May 17, 2015, 10:37 pm

    im truely shocked and saddened of Dean’s accident. A true pioneer and bold adventurer. You will be missed by all who followed you. RIP

  6. Rick
    May 17, 2015, 10:51 pm

    we all garner in the sweet and bitter fruitage of our own planting. because one ‘adventurer’ chose to live the life of an idiot three kids will grow up without a father. well done.

  7. Joe
    May 17, 2015, 10:52 pm

    To Ted with the comment of of, “Silly childerens who never grew up” completely wrong. Without exploration of new techniques in travel and experiencing this type of their seeking activity how do we innovate our lives. Wright brothers experimenting with air planes to create the travel system we have today. Also just because America claimed this Yosemite park does not mean it’s only for quiet studying of nature you sir are an uptight wrongminded person.

  8. Brad
    May 17, 2015, 10:52 pm

    Why is National Geo celebrating two people who decided the laws prohibiting base jumping in the park didn’t apply to them? I’m sorry these men died and have left loved ones behind in pain over the loss, but their ego driven pursuit says they are special and don’t have to play by the rules in a place where base jumping is not allowed is not something to celebrate, to aspire to, nor is it an adventure.

  9. Marco Sayazie
    Big River Saskatchewan
    May 17, 2015, 10:54 pm

    Rest in peace Dean….

  10. kaushik
    May 17, 2015, 10:55 pm

    life adventure comes to an end nw .RIP

    May 17, 2015, 10:55 pm


    May 17, 2015, 10:55 pm


  13. Brett
    San Diego
    May 17, 2015, 10:59 pm

    When asked about the danger involved in his activities, Potter always said that when you put the odds in your favor it was not that dangerous. So now we see another example that no matter how well prepared you are, something could go wrong and it did. This is a major loss. I am sad for the families of these men and hope others can learn from this.

  14. Ravi Yerramilli
    May 17, 2015, 11:00 pm

    It was a shocking news, we miss you RIP

  15. christopher bajc
    United States
    May 17, 2015, 11:03 pm

    Ted, more than likely, they were taxpayers as well, and probably (complete assumption) didn’t make use of any government assistance. Perhaps show a modicum of respect to the departed and their families.

  16. Steve Endean
    Shingle Springs Ca.
    May 17, 2015, 11:07 pm

    I just need to say that Graham was the son I never had, I always felt when he was growing up he would be my son-in-law. We spent countless hours together on our mountain bikes exploring Northern California, of the best moments of my life were spent with him. RIP my friend my son.

  17. Romeo
    San Antonio TX
    May 17, 2015, 11:07 pm

    Don’t judge these men, everyone doesn’t play by the rules or acts out in ways others don’t approve, including illegal activities of every kind. No one is better than anyone. Be respectful to those we’ve lost as one day your lose will need respect.
    I’ve lived in the adventures of these, and other people practicing these dangerous activities. Thank you for making my heart race at the endless sights of the sky, only found in our dreams. Rest in peace my friend. .. “love the rush, live the risk, be the dream” ~ Adan Romeo

  18. Jim Smith
    May 17, 2015, 11:07 pm

    Pointless end to a pointless existence

  19. John Humphries
    May 17, 2015, 11:12 pm

    Shut up, Ted Logan.

  20. Bob
    May 17, 2015, 11:17 pm

    On the edge… seems like the leader did not have adequate clearance in the flight path… no way out for either.

  21. Trevor
    May 17, 2015, 11:19 pm

    Ted – I didn’t know you were the National Parks Service Director issuing directives for what the parks are for. To some of us, they exist to be hiked, climbed, and summited. Also, these boy-men as you call them did grew up. They figured out what their dreams were and dedicated themselves relentlessly to achieve them. Perhaps this is a better time for paying your respects and wishing the family well during their loss, instead of your needless judgement. RIP Graham and Dean.

  22. Ariel
    May 17, 2015, 11:23 pm

    Ted, your tax payer comment is tacky. Doubt you care but had to say it. Ewww!!

  23. greg stirling steele
    May 17, 2015, 11:30 pm

    1’st post by Maria about what it would feel like to hit the earth…..Bad Taste lady!
    Dean was a climbing brother of mine since 92″ a pa passionate man of truth and a great love for the land…a modern day warrior and my prayers are placed in my morning to bring celebration for your life on earth and in gods glory.
    See u in season kola!

  24. billy the kid
    lynn massachusetts
    May 17, 2015, 11:31 pm

    Another one bites the dust.

  25. Jay Cox
    May 17, 2015, 11:34 pm

    Ted Logan, why can’t national parks be for quiet contemplation and this? I’ve learned a new appreciation for nature due to these kinds of base jumps on YouTube. (Yes, I realize watching a video is not the same as being there, but I’ve been to numerous national parks. I don’t need to be at nature to appreciate natural beauty.) I wish you could have kept your silly judgmentalism to yourself, instead of profaning this story of a man’s death with your irrelevant comment.

  26. Anita
    New Zealand
    May 17, 2015, 11:35 pm

    I’m grateful to those who push the edges. How can we ever know what’s posssible without those who explore our seeming limits

    . I’m sad for family and friends missing them.

  27. Lisa Buchanan
    May 17, 2015, 11:39 pm

    RIP guys, prayers to your friends and family. Dog is probably going to grieve too.

  28. Andrew
    Boise, ID
    May 17, 2015, 11:42 pm

    What a bunch of jerks commenting on this. I’ve never been any fan of Potter but why do you care to downtalk the dead? As for the guy complaining about tax money – the gov pays for dumber stuff like welfare or your kids education with MY taxpayer money.

  29. Rudolph.A.Furtado
    May 17, 2015, 11:43 pm

    They both died doing what they loved best during their lifetime . R.I.P Dean Potter and Graham Hunt.

  30. Brett Jensen
    United States
    May 17, 2015, 11:43 pm

    Living in fear is just another way of dying before your time. They LIVED more than Ted or Jim ever will if they live to be 200

  31. Chris Howell
    May 17, 2015, 11:44 pm

    Very sad news ,condolences to the families , pioneers are always ridiculed by the masses of lazy lounge lizards , that’s what makes them even more remarkable , RIP

  32. Vita
    Rancho Cordova
    May 17, 2015, 11:45 pm

    A very sad time for the sport of climbing and for beautiful Yosemite Valley.

  33. MK
    South east asia
    May 17, 2015, 11:45 pm

    He is a hero in my eyes a man with no boundaries someone to be admired some one we can be inspired with a creative fearless brave man. This people test our limits of doing things without people like him we wouldn’t have know how much we could have gone. RIP may god be with you and my deepest condolence to the family he is a great man. I am sorry if i have said anything wrong or miss judge anything. And PEOPLE please stop criticising for his passion and love please stop!

  34. MK
    South east asia
    May 17, 2015, 11:46 pm

    is a hero in my eyes a man with no boundaries someone to be admired some one we can be inspired with a creative fearless He brave man. This people test our limits of doing things without people like him we wouldn’t have know how much we could have gone. RIP may god be with you and my deepest condolence to the family he is a great man. I am sorry if i have said anything wrong or miss judge anything. And PEOPLE please stop criticising for his passion and love please stop!

  35. Bev
    coloma, CA.
    May 17, 2015, 11:51 pm

    these fine athletes deserve respect & honor for being the finest in their world, as we uphold other more conventional worlds.
    Any crude and disrespectful comments from naysayers means NOTHING to the climbing community!

    These athletes are light years beyond most mortals.


    Beverly P.

  36. SoloJoe
    May 17, 2015, 11:53 pm

    Jim Smith, I suspect you’re the one leading a pointless existence. Dean Potter’s life was lived to the fullest. Every day. He inspired thousands, perhaps millions, to chase their own dreams. He did more with his time than you could dream of doing with ten lives. You’re a loser; Dean was a modern hero, a true legend. RIP Dean Potter and Graham Hunt.

  37. Mak
    May 17, 2015, 11:54 pm

    “To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist that is all.”
    I think we can agree that not only did these people die with courage and fortitude, but they stepped free from the binds of everyday life to explore new untouched bounds. To me, these men are an inspiration, perhaps not to do base jumping, but to live life as an adventure, and not trapped in the comfort zone.

  38. Lee
    May 17, 2015, 11:55 pm

    To those saying someone dying whilst performing an illegal activity shouldn’t be mourned….do us a favour and keep your mouth shut. Irrespective of their activity they have died. Family’s are now without them, friends will no longer see them. Most recently Paul Walker and his friend Roger Rodas, remember? His friend was speeding, that’s illegal. So should Paul and Roger be ignored? Singers and Actors who died while using drugs, that’s illegal? So again, they should just be forgotten? Do the world a favour and keep your narrow minded, dull and uninteresting views to youselves.

  39. Jackie Morrison
    Boulder, Colorado
    May 17, 2015, 11:56 pm

    “Without exploration of new techniques in travel… how do we innovate our lives?”– Joe from Minnesota

    Before the next “travel” I do from Colorado to California I’ll have to study up on Potter’s “innovative” travel techniques, so I can climb, rope-walk, and wing-suit my way through the Rockies and the Sierras when I come to them. But I’ll probably just die innovatively too.

    May 17, 2015, 11:57 pm

    Shut up Ted Logan you ignorant wretch. National parks are owned by the people and should be enjoyed how people see fit, not how you see fit. Plenty of ignorant flower sniffing hippies like you have had to be rescued out of parks.

  41. jeff. b
    May 17, 2015, 11:58 pm

    @Jim Smith: Show some decency, you worthless piece of dog crap.

  42. Jackie Morrison
    May 17, 2015, 11:59 pm

    “Without exploration of new techniques in travel… how do we innovate our lives?”– Joe from MInnesota

    Before the next “travel” I do from Colorado to California I’ll have to study up on Potter’s “innovative” travel techniques, so I can climb, rope-walk, and wing-suit my way through the Rockies and the Sierras when I come to them. But I’ll probably just die innovatively.

  43. Marian Robertson
    Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
    May 18, 2015, 12:03 am

    RIP Dean and Graham!!! You lived, and died, on your own terms…. My sympathies to your loved ones.

  44. Carrie Zastoupil
    May 18, 2015, 12:06 am

    Reading about the adventures of these men, really inspire me. Such bravery, yes, it may be for fun or adrenaline, experience, or survival. But wow, what accomplishments! I feel for the families and loved ones of these two. But these guys LIVED. Lived life to the fullest. They knew the risks and still took those chances. Rest easy guys. May your families find peace.

  45. Monica
    Costa Rica
    May 18, 2015, 12:10 am

    Many of us have done crazy things, and life is to live it with passion doing what you love. Their courage and adventurous spirit gave the rest of us the opportunity of experiencing at least through the camera, the sensation of maximum freedom flying, and the amazing views they shared with us. I am sure there are many that have enjoyed their videos and felt the overwhelming sensation of gliding over the beautiful scenery, and wondered if they could try it too some day. If it wasn’t for adventurous people, humanity would still be in stone age. We need people like them that take risks. Condolences to their families, but know they have left a legacy which is greatly appreciated by many.

  46. charlie tompkins
    Bass Lake, Ca
    May 18, 2015, 12:15 am

    R.I.P. Boyz You Were Our friends and Our neighbors! If not for the men like you who that pushed the limits,, and blazed new frontiers we might all be riding in a horse and buggy! You will be missed in the valley…. God Be with you both… Charli Tompkins

  47. Mark
    South Lake Tahoe,CA.
    May 18, 2015, 12:24 am

    My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends. (Ted…your and idiot)

  48. Tyler
    May 18, 2015, 12:27 am

    God really? He’s a hero? He did everything for himself and no one else. This is a guy who just liked to break rules to prove they didn’t apply to him so he could be more famous. That is the opposite of what makes someone a hero. Listen to yourselves. Hero, please.

  49. Don McIntyre
    May 18, 2015, 12:37 am

    I don’t do mountains, but I do plenty of other things, fly and live for adventure and everything it stands for..always in awe watching wing-suit fliers and their passion for a life well lived…sad but is worth the risk..they knew that..what a great life they both had!!…..

  50. Josh Buck
    May 18, 2015, 12:40 am

    To Ted Logan, and anyone else passing judgment for them “breaking the rules”.
    I can think of a few others who broke the rules. Christopher Columbus, Benjamin Franklin, The Wright Bros, George Washington n Amelia Earhart, Alexander Bell, Marty McFly…. should we keep going? How foolish a statement to condemn those that push limits and think freely. It is these types of men and women that give us wings to fly, wheels to drive, electricity to light, and gas to cook. It is men like you that pay for what these men invent and inspire. Thank God for Boy – Men to push the limits.

  51. Tony
    May 18, 2015, 12:43 am

    I am sad these guys died. They took major risks without care or thought to the concerns of family and friends who loved them. They are gone, and maybe people will learn not to break the laws. If they had wives and kids – I feel more sorry for them. These guys pushed boundaries, but risk vs family is something most caring people don’t take.

  52. Brodie
    May 18, 2015, 12:44 am

    Thanks and Prayers to two lives Fully Lived.

  53. shanti
    United States
    May 18, 2015, 12:50 am

    I can’t blame them, for wanting to do what they do. I wouldn’t mind testing my limits, because that’s how humans have survived as long as we have. Nothing wrong with that. It’s beautiful.

    In Washington

  54. Subash Rao
    May 18, 2015, 12:55 am

    Bhagavad-gītā As It Is 2.20

    “For the soul there is neither birth nor death at any time. He has not come into being, does not come into being, and will not come into being. He is unborn, eternal, ever-existing and primeval. He is not slain when the body is slain”


  55. Julius
    El Paso, Texas
    May 18, 2015, 12:58 am

    To the memory of Dean Potter and to all his family and friends who are grieving tonight, I wish them all the strength to carry on. His was a rare breed of man that lived life to the fullest and took us along for the adventure. For me, it is something that cannot be measured. Thank you and may you soar in the afterlife as you soared here on earth.

  56. J_Ammon
    Bend, Oregon
    May 18, 2015, 1:00 am

    No surprise. Glad Potter’s dog wasn’t an innocent victim of his selfish love for adrenaline.

  57. bruce lee
    May 18, 2015, 1:01 am

    some people die from being fat or from car accident…they died doing what they loved…epic…not mundane. alot of haters with their shitty comments…hope they die choking on pizza or something lame lol

  58. nekdo
    May 18, 2015, 1:01 am

    I suppose that he knew the risks. It is part of the thrill.

  59. Glen Littell
    Surprise AZ
    May 18, 2015, 1:05 am

    If you are living near or on the edge – then you are not living at all – but merely existing.

    Condolences to the families and friends of both men and to the remarks of Ted Logan: Seriously just STFU. Go back to your lazy boy and Netflix re-runs.

  60. Pamela Stearns-Heisler
    Northridge, California
    May 18, 2015, 1:06 am

    You both travelled a road less travelled. You both lived your dreams and and pushed beyond your limits. You are both heroes now and forever. Deepest sympathies to your families and friends. May you both rest in peace.

  61. Angelina Sharp
    East Kilbride, Scotland
    May 18, 2015, 1:20 am

    RIP Dean. You lived life to the full. Hope family and friends can find some peace.

  62. Lesley van Reenen
    South Africa
    May 18, 2015, 1:24 am

    A legend, RIP. To the Father Grundys: the world needs our adventurers.

  63. Kat4ch
    May 18, 2015, 1:30 am

    In times of senseless and unexplainable tragedy in the realm of the unfamiliar and adventerous spirit, some resort to confused criticism and aggression from a place of fear. Please take a sweet deep breath of life and realize that a human being with a passion for life and adventure has lost this precious human birth and moved on to hopefully another opportunity at a human birth, These are not the times to express anger and aggression from a place of fear and vulnerability, we need to cry and grieve for the life well lived and the family and friends left behind, Please speak with compassion and kindness during this time of sadness, This world truly needs kindness in this dark age of fear and aggression,

  64. Marcus Sumner
    May 18, 2015, 1:33 am

    It pains me to see people saying things like “why are we lamenting the deaths of people practicing something illegal” you people can never understand what thats like, the feeling you get when your doing something like this. A person that practice’s something like this (or extreme sports in general) live and breath for that feeling of accomplishment. They died doing what they love and thats a great thing in my book. At least they sent sitting behind a computer screen being spiteful because someone else left a bigger mark on the world then them. A**holes.

  65. Renee
    May 18, 2015, 1:34 am


  66. Marcus Sumner
    May 18, 2015, 1:35 am

    It pains me to see people saying things like “why are we lamenting the deaths of people practicing something illegal” you people can never understand what thats like, the feeling you get when your doing something like this. A person that practice’s something like this (or extreme sports in general) live and breath for that feeling of accomplishment. They died doing what they love and thats a great thing in my book. At least they arnt sitting behind a computer screen being spiteful because someone else left a bigger mark on the world then them. People like you guys will never know because you’ve never lived.

  67. Patrick
    May 18, 2015, 1:35 am

    I followed Dean’s career for years even though I don’t climb. He was just such a fascinating character—intense, totally honest, not a phony bone in his body. He was thoughtful, meditative, supremely talented, and truly one of a kind. I can’t help thinking, though, that the price of pushing the envelope to the max is becoming too high. Sean Leary, Mario, Dean—just too much carnage.

  68. Billy C.
    Redmond, Oregon
    May 18, 2015, 1:39 am

    We should all take a moment and celebrate the life of two great adventurers. Dean, Graham, I salute you. Peace.

  69. David
    May 18, 2015, 1:43 am


  70. Scotteydog
    May 18, 2015, 1:47 am

    Really sad for the little kiddies, that’s what annoys\upsets me the most about these extreme sports. I think adventurer’s like these should not have kids. And why do people need to conquer natural landscapes, instead have controlled environments where there is safety precautions. National Parks are for appreciating not conquering.

  71. mj
    South Africa
    May 18, 2015, 1:48 am

    Does anyone know why their parachutes were not deployed??

  72. David
    May 18, 2015, 1:49 am

    Will someone please explain to me how this fool was considered a pioneer?

  73. Anna
    The Netherlands
    May 18, 2015, 1:56 am

    Where they are now there are no boundaries and limits they lived the life of their and our dreams and gratitude is in its place for realizing their dreams and showing ours to ourselves

  74. Glenn Holloway
    Oregon, USA
    May 18, 2015, 2:02 am

    I say try everything you can. There is NO SHOULD HAVE, COULD HAVE, OR MAYBE, IN LIFE, if you take the risk then you already KNOW what might happen. As NIKE say’s (JUST DO IT).

  75. Adam
    May 18, 2015, 2:05 am

    RIP both of you.
    Dean was a real inspiration to me although I never met him. I got into slacklining because of watching his videos so I thank him dearly for that. His climbs were out of this world, having seen his free solo Eiger climb first hand I could not respect him more. Take care brothers.

    Better to live one day as a tiger than a thousand years as a sheep.

  76. Jcscott125
    May 18, 2015, 2:18 am

    There’s no question Dean was a talented climber and athlete. He’s not an idiot. He’s not alive, either. It is what it is.

  77. Eigob
    May 18, 2015, 2:23 am


  78. j.thoms
    May 18, 2015, 2:31 am

    Ted Logan….really?Your concern is taxpayers….just taxpayers picking up the bill….no compassion…are you the Chair of of the local tesbaggers or the secretary/ treasurer? No mention of grieving friends and family When I think of the death of these to men, I think of the loss and pain of the bereaved something you clearly do not….you are an internet trolling bully and I might ad a schmuck.

  79. j.thoms
    May 18, 2015, 2:32 am


  80. j.thoms
    May 18, 2015, 2:34 am

    Brad….we all can’t live life on the edge like you with playing Call of Duty

  81. Alex Scott
    May 18, 2015, 2:36 am

    Reading through all the comments for and against doing what they did at the end of the day they are dead and won’t see their children grow and their children don’t have a father anymore. That to me is a high price to pay no matter what they chose to do with there lives. Putting your life on the line for a rush is in a way a selfish act and anyone with responsibilities should think about that as they dive off a mountain. I can see it must be addictive and like all addictions it is difficult to give up what ever you are into, it just takes one bad event and that’s it, game over.

  82. Litivious
    May 18, 2015, 2:37 am

    When you dance with the devil…..

  83. Tristan
    May 18, 2015, 2:54 am

    All these people commenting negatively. It only proves that the majority are mundane, take no offence, Thats just how the cookie crumbles.
    However, history shows that the grey mass do not instigate change, it is those that paddle against stream that do.
    Therefore I thank dean and graham for reminding me about that fascinating side of humans and the brilliance that we are capable of, even if it doesn’t always end well. Fly in peace

  84. Demitrice Venters
    United States
    May 18, 2015, 3:04 am

    Prayers to Dean Potter and his family.

  85. Till
    May 18, 2015, 3:23 am

    Please just close the comments.

  86. Surferpat
    South Africa
    May 18, 2015, 3:24 am

    He knew the risks. Haven’t heard of Mr. Potter until today.
    I have roamed the highest reaches of the Yosemite- but always the safe and gentle way in the Spirit of John Muir. It is not for us to judge. I see a man doing what he loved. Would I do it that way is irrelevant. The negative people in the audience obviously have not spent enough time chasing their dreams. I am happy I will be in the Yosemite one again this summer and when I look up I will say a prayer for these men.

  87. Peter
    May 18, 2015, 3:25 am

    Everyone has an opinion on the carelessness or otherwise of these two souls, but you know what insanity is? From the movie Con Air, ” Insanity is working a job you hate for 50 years , and with people you don’t like very much only to end up getting a fake Rolex watch as a thank you. Then you retire and end up in a retirement home wondering where your life went and why you didn’t do something more with your life. Well these two souls were living and now they will find out about the after life, which we all will eventually anyway.

  88. Peter
    May 18, 2015, 3:29 am

    Alex Honnold is amazing to and even though I could never do what he does, I appreciate the sheer mental and physical toughness you need to do it. I hope he lives long enough to tell his grandchildren all the amazing cliffs he has climbed.

  89. Ian Ash
    United Kingdom
    May 18, 2015, 3:35 am

    Sad, sad day. Two men who achieved things that make me sit back in wonder. My thoughts are with their family and friends who have lost a loved one. Ian

  90. […] Potter a mentor, called Potter’s speed solo technique a “paradigm shift” in an interview with National Geographic. It meant that climbers could scale huge walls without the limitations of cumbersome rope and gear. […]

  91. Joanne Ross
    May 18, 2015, 3:55 am

    I hope their spirits continue to soar as they did in life.

  92. Mel
    May 18, 2015, 4:12 am

    Those who live dangerously may noy live forever, but those who never live dangerously, have never lived at all.

  93. […] Potter a mentor, called Potter’s speed solo technique a “paradigm shift” in an interview with National Geographic. It meant that climbers could scale huge walls without the limitations of cumbersome rope and gear. […]

  94. judy h
    May 18, 2015, 4:35 am

    Hero ?? No.. While it’s sad that they lost their lives, I see nothing heroic in what they did. They deliberately, time and time again, broke laws by base jumping in areas where it was strictly prohibited. And yes, the parks are there for us all to enjoy…and we ALL should obey the rules. They may have lived out their dreams but as far as inspiring others, let’s hope more people use the common sense they’ve been given to aspire to less dangerous and more LEGAL ways of having an adventure. And to the idiot that said ”we all break the rules and the laws”….some of us can honestly say…”No..we don’t.” Condolences to the families because, regardless of the circumstances, they have lost people they loved…

  95. […] Potter a mentor, called Potter’s speed solo technique a “paradigm shift” in an interview with National Geographic. It meant that climbers could scale huge walls without the limitations of cumbersome rope and gear. […]

  96. […] Potter a mentor, called Potter’s speed solo technique a “paradigm shift” in an interview with National Geographic. It meant that climbers could scale huge walls without the limitations of cumbersome rope and gear. […]

  97. Peter J Leonard
    South Africa
    May 18, 2015, 4:55 am

    @ TED – You complete moron.

  98. […] Potter a mentor, called Potter’s speed solo technique a “paradigm shift” in an interview with National Geographic. It meant that climbers could scale huge walls without the limitations of cumbersome rope and gear. […]

  99. freewill
    May 18, 2015, 5:03 am

    I’m too wuss to jump off a cliff, I’m afraid of heights. Thinking if they had jumped off a safer cliff, wouldn’t it have been better? If they knew they were going to die, and there was a high chance of risk, would they jump?
    I am so crushed hearing this news. I wish they were still alive. maybe using more proper equipment to get help from.
    rest in peace. I am so sorry for them, they went too soon. so upset.

  100. Jody Singh
    May 18, 2015, 5:04 am

    Dean and Hunt the world is in awe of your courage, your zealous spirit & your zest in life. R.I.P.

  101. Dave
    May 18, 2015, 5:11 am

    My prayers for his kids. That’s all I have to say.

  102. […] Potter a mentor, called Potter’s speed solo technique a “paradigm shift” in an interview with National Geographic. It meant that climbers could scale huge walls without the limitations of cumbersome rope and gear. […]

  103. […] Potter a mentor, called Potter’s speed solo technique a “paradigm shift” in an interview with National Geographic. It meant that climbers could scale huge walls without the limitations of cumbersome rope and gear. […]

  104. Dr Burt
    Chiang Rai
    May 18, 2015, 5:23 am

    Dean and Graham both lived their lives to the fullest. It is not how long you live, but how you live it. We should all be so fortunate to meet our demise doing something we truly love. We all grieve for those friends they left behind and the hole in their lives created by the loss of Dean and Graham.

  105. Till Mayr
    May 18, 2015, 5:30 am

    Fare well Dean,brave bold,courageous,talented hero!

  106. Joe
    May 18, 2015, 5:30 am

    “If you want to ride the ultimate wave, you have to be willing to pay the ultimate price” – Mark Foo. So while this ended badly and the results are very sad, no one should be surprised about how it ended. RIP Dean and Graham

  107. John Higby
    Monument co
    May 18, 2015, 5:31 am

    Anyone bashing either of these legendary, iconic, visionary and did I mention professional athletes are as pathetic as their couch surfing bland habits. Ted Logan you are a douche bag. most likely a chubby little dork that gets thrills from making negative comments about legends with balls and “true Grit” something you lack if I’m wrong send me a photo 303-522-1239 bra

  108. Tom
    May 18, 2015, 5:32 am

    It always amazes me that people find these deaths “shocking”. It never shocks me in the least. Is anyone really surprised that these two met their fate in this manner?

    I also find the notion that one isnt truly living unless they are involved in extreme, high risk activities silly. And enough with the “they died doing what they loved” mantra. I highly doubt when body met mountain at 120+ mph they were smiling.

    I feel bad and mourn the loss of any human life. I cannot however feel sorry for them.

  109. John Higby
    May 18, 2015, 5:45 am

    Rip dudes.

  110. John Higby
    May 18, 2015, 5:47 am

    Tom you don’t know what living is . Your adrenia

  111. John Higby
    May 18, 2015, 5:52 am

    Adrenial gland must of been accidentally removed while you lost your manhood back in college now you are just a trolling little internet schmuck nobody sadly would leave even a negative comment about if you died . That’s sad tommy

  112. CJ
    May 18, 2015, 5:52 am

    Wow. The critical comments are just repulsive. Those of us that engage in adventure sports know the risks, and each of us takes our responsibility to friends and family into account. We all set limits differently and to criticize Dean and Graham is stunningly narrow-minded and insensitive. While their deaths are a tragedy for all who knew and loved them, I, for one, celebrate their lives. Cheers Dean and Graham.

  113. lmaguey
    May 18, 2015, 5:59 am

    To the families and friends of Mr. Potter and Mr. Graham I extend my deepest sympathies.
    I must selfishly say that I always looked forward to hearing about and seeing what physical limit was going to be pushed by these men.
    Perhaps through this tragedy advances will be made in technique and safety.
    Though not at their level, I have sometimes alone and without protection sought the challenges offered by high places and even pushing 60 will continue to do so.
    To hopefully satisfy the skeptics, I apologize in advance for any costs incurred by taxpayers should I require the services put in place by county, state or federal agencies.

  114. Mark P
    South Carolina
    May 18, 2015, 6:07 am

    My thoughts go out to family and friends. Your loved ones will never be gone. Not a day will go by that you won’t think of Dean and Graham.

  115. Donna Wesley
    New Zealand
    May 18, 2015, 6:11 am

    I admire anyone who pursues their lifes desire with such passion. We need them, they provide us balance… Condolences to both families at this time.

  116. Tom
    May 18, 2015, 6:18 am


    Nice vitriolic response. If you knew my background, what I do for fun, and what I do for a living you’d realize your claim of my lost manhood is baseless. Again, choosing not to do extreme, high risk activities doesn’t mean I don’t live. It means my life isn’t all about ME.

    I’m running down an extensive list of adventures I’ve had in my life and I can’t think of one of them that I’d enjoy dying while doing.

    Your anger insult laden result tells me you’re not a real big thinker. For all I know you’re just a troll.

  117. Keith
    Denver, NC
    May 18, 2015, 6:26 am

    What an Icon and inspiration to our sport! Such a tradegy to lose you Dean! RIP and Fly Free!

  118. Paulo
    May 18, 2015, 6:28 am

    “The power of will. Making things happen. This amazing energy. I could do anything up there. It as pure as it gets. It is nothing but my stripped down body walking my path. (…) It’s weird, you know, people putting me up at this place in their mind because I’m good at a sport. The stunts I do and stuff, they are awesome and they make me feel god in the moment. But looking back, when I’m kinda depressed and stuff, it’s not really, it doesn’t pick me up. I’m not thinking: Yeah, I’m great! ‘Cause, you know, I can walk a slack line. (…) that’s pretty much my highest energy: stay alive.” – Daredevils – The Sky Walker

  119. Bruce Jackson
    May 18, 2015, 6:38 am

    Never heard of Dean or Graham before today, but I admire them. I seriously doubt that anyone who has never truly “risked” something would understand the indiscernible thrill, ecstasy, kick . . . (use your own adjective) of laying yourself bare to the unknown. Taking that last step before “what’s next?” is sometimes just a necessary part of life for some of us. Degrading those who never take that step is pointless! Until they step off . . . well . . . . they probably never will. To those who choose not to “LIVE” life to the utmost,(short of endangering others), I simply ask, take my hand and let’s GO FOR IT . . but don’t you DARE hold me back!!! I say those guys and others like us experience more of nature in the first 5 seconds of flight than a dozen sunrises and a thousand quiet moments of contemplation. Those who disagree forget all that it takes to get to those first 5 seconds of flight.

  120. Drew
    May 18, 2015, 6:42 am

    For all of you that don’t “agree” with what these men were doing, you can just shove it for all that I’m concerned. At least they died doing the thing they loved, and that’s more than most can say. I am always impressed and thankful for the men and women who push the human form to its limits, because, without them, I feel we would be a much boring and duller society. Thanks to these two men for all that they added to the world. Sincere condolences go out to their families.

  121. Gav
    May 18, 2015, 6:55 am

    Dean – absolute legend amongst men, huge inspiration to me personally, always grabbing life, pushing farther, breaking limits. These are the shoulders that future generations hope to stand on, massive contribution, in so many disciples ; mostly through positive metal attitude. As I was rock climbing today I thought of you when hitting my limits, and you helped me through. Total legend. I remember a quote from Dean’s free tightrope times, that he “could see the wind”, such a higher power he was. RIP

  122. rich
    Truckee, Ca
    May 18, 2015, 6:59 am

    “JIM SMITH” sounds like a very ordinary name for a very ordinary person

  123. rich
    Truckee, Calif
    May 18, 2015, 7:01 am

    “JIM SMITH” sounds like a very ordinary name . . . for a very ordinary person

  124. isaiah
    May 18, 2015, 7:03 am

    God Bless you Dean and your family. I’m sorry to hear for the loss. Ted Logan, go follow your dreams and see how many people comment so rudely like that. nobody wants to read your childish comments like that. God bless you Dean.

  125. Katrina Parker
    May 18, 2015, 7:13 am

    Just because something is deemed illegal doesnt necessarily mean its wrong. Today people are blocked from living their lives as they want by the notion that you need to be saved from yourself.
    They died knowing the risk and doing it anyway because it made their lives full. Their loved ones knew that and still loved them for it.
    Lives lived to the fullest.

  126. Nick
    May 18, 2015, 7:35 am

    i’m an “experienced” Russian roulette player. NG should make documentary about me.

  127. Andrew
    Hartford, Ct.
    May 18, 2015, 7:38 am

    Inspired by your lives, heartbroken at your loss, you will be missed by many. RIP Dean and Graham.

  128. Jelena
    May 18, 2015, 7:48 am

    Awful! they were so young! Poor parents!

  129. J.L. Sievert
    Nara, Japan
    May 18, 2015, 7:49 am

    There are a few puzzling things about this article.

    What does the position of “chief of staff” in Yosemite National Park for Mike Gauthier mean and entail? If he is an employee of the federal government and works for the park, why would he praise Potter if Potter’s activities within the park (such as BASE jumping) are illegal?

    Potter lived in or near the park for 22 years, so presumably he was well known to rangers and other employees. Does this mean they consistently turned a blind eye to his activities?

    Was he ever fined, arrested, prosecuted or even jailed for his activities?

    Did he jump at dusk with his companion to evade detection?

    Potter was well aware of the risks he was taking, but why was he allowed to take them where he did — inside a national park?

    Finally, did he flaunt the law and seek notoriety for publicity purposes? It seems he lost sponsors because of his attitude and activities.

    His end was pitiable and tragic, but I wonder if it could have been prevented.

  130. Rick
    May 18, 2015, 7:57 am

    SO sorry to read of this loss. While I am not an athelete I can appreciate the skill and daring of these men. RIP Thank you for your beautiful feats and footage. You will be remembered.

  131. Vicki
    Kansas City MO
    May 18, 2015, 7:59 am

    While I am sad for their loved ones, I am never sad for extreme adventurers when they die from their sport. Having watched the excruciating end of many people’s lives, very few of us get the blessing of dying in pursuit of something we love. RIP

  132. brooks taylor
    chico ca
    May 18, 2015, 8:03 am

    I go to work every day and sit in the safe confines of my cube and i have no doubt that job is killing me more slowly and more painfully than if I were to die thw way these men died. I admire them for making their lives fun. …. I dont feel sorry for them in death as I cannot imagine even they didn’t see this coming. I do have a huge issue with the “modern day warrior” comment mentioned above though. Bull shit. We have modern day warriors and they put their lives on the line for far less selfish causes.

  133. e holder
    May 18, 2015, 8:16 am

    Where’s the GoPro video?

    They’re usually proud to show them off…..

  134. Gonzo Bloomberg
    May 18, 2015, 8:31 am

    I welcome the vicarious thrill such daring men provide.
    I know it’s inevitable some will perish, so I am not too shaken when something like this occurs.
    Sad? yeah. Tragic, no.

  135. Ruud
    Nederland Rotterdam
    May 18, 2015, 8:32 am

    If you played a game with death he overtaken you.

  136. Kevin Burke
    Dublin, Ireland
    May 18, 2015, 8:50 am

    RIP. Entrepreneurial and so very innovative. What they achieved in physical output could only be produced by such a positive mind. Inspirational.

  137. LCW
    Truckee, Ca
    May 18, 2015, 8:56 am

    I am a lay person on this subject, but does anyone else find it odd the neither chute was deployed? I understand that chute failure can happen, but what are the odds of it happening to two people doing the same jump together?

  138. Badih
    May 18, 2015, 9:02 am


  139. […] Potter a mentor, called Potter’s speed solo technique a “paradigm shift” in an interview with National Geographic. It meant that climbers could scale huge walls without the limitations of cumbersome rope and gear. […]

  140. Sionnach Dhu
    May 18, 2015, 9:15 am

    While I have all the sympathy in the world for the grieving loved ones left behind, I have none for men who died doing something illegal for the sake of personal thrill-seeking, then required government resources to recover their remains. I see no reason to glorify what they did. I’ll add that, quite frankly, I’ve despised Mr. Potter since I saw reports of the way he risked his dog’s life by taking him along on his stunts.

  141. Mary Medlin
    San Diego
    May 18, 2015, 9:19 am

    To Andrew in Boise… think spending YOUR taxpayer money on welfare and public education!?! You areONE sick puppy! The compassion in your heart is underwhelming. You’re like the Grinch except the fact your heart grew a million times too small!

  142. Kris
    San Diego
    May 18, 2015, 9:19 am

    These guys new the risks, their loved ones new the risks. They lived closer to the wild than most of us. They became more wild than most of us and they, like most wild things, died violently. This is closer to nature’s law than is comfortable for some. Thank you for your contributions to our lives. Thank you for your love for nature. We will miss you both.

  143. A
    May 18, 2015, 9:21 am

    J.L. Sievert:

    Nowhere in the article does Gauthier praise Potter’s activities. Potter has lived & climbed in Yosemite for 22 years. It stands to reason that Gauthier, who arranged the SAR, was probably heavily involved with the climbing community (Yosemite has a climbing ranger duty) and has known Potter for years. I was extremely impressed with the restraint shown by Gauthier. Rather than using this as an opportunity to condemn an activity, he instead showed restraint, empathy and sympathy for the friends and families loss.

    I think the rangers probably have bigger fish to fry in Yosemite, which is at times a teeming mass of people, many of whom have no idea how to behave in the wilderness. Potter was an extremely competent climber and the rangers obviously knew this. Our Parks Service has a lot on their plates. Policing the BASE jumping activities of a few who probably did it very discreetly is probably pretty low on their list of priorities. I’d say higher priorities for them are trying to mitigate damage to the natural resources to the park and preventing the uninformed public from getting hurt. Potter was many things, but uninformed wasn’t one of them.

    My condolences to their loved ones.

  144. doug
    May 18, 2015, 9:23 am

    These men had dreams. Achieved and conquered. Stared death down many times and DID NOT blink once. Went places you and I will never go.
    Felt things we will never feel. Walked where we will never walk. Died doing what they loved to do….Hey Ted try walking in those shoes. RIP Dean and Graham.

  145. Cecile Fortin
    United Kingdom
    May 18, 2015, 9:30 am

    To all the negative comments,
    Since when do we judge someone base on the nature of his hobbies. They both knew the danger but they did what they loved doing and it is sad for the relatives but a good death.I live in the UK, I am a novice climber and have really come hooked to it. I had just discovered the existence of Dean Potter and loved the climbing legacy, he is an inspiration, a modern day warrior and such free and wild spirit. I would not go to the extreme he went to but none the less, I respect it. Saying that it going to make a dent in the tax payers money is completely ridiculous and outrageous. All my thoughts go to their friends and family. Be at peace!

  146. doug
    May 18, 2015, 9:31 am

    These men had dreams. Achieved and conquered. Stared death down many times and DID NOT blink once. Went places you and I will never go.
    Felt things we will never feel. Walked where we will never walk. Died doing what they loved to do….Hey Ted try walking in those shoes. RIP Dean and Graham

  147. amma
    Tucson, AZ
    May 18, 2015, 9:54 am

    Dean has inspired me forever – his calm and centeredness as well as his conquests. This is a huge loss and a sad sad day, for me and for the huge community of family, loved ones, and admirers of these two brave, larger-than-life men. May they be at peace.

  148. BigDub from Indy
    United States
    May 18, 2015, 9:57 am

    Dean Potter, big wall climbers, wingsuit flyers, gals and guys in the wild being free individuals, scares people who live a routine life, going day to day in total conformance with the status quo, living as a robot, slaving your life away to debt and television and eating 3 meals a day to keep feeding your fatness, all for nothing more than a false sense of security.

    Everyone should read The Dharma Bums and watch the documentary film, Valley Uprising, these might give you some look into the mindset of an adventurer at the limit of their pursuit.

    I admire anyone willing to put it all on the line and pursue their dreams, regardless of what that dream is. Like Brooks said above, most of us sit here at work or on a couch, dying slowly, never finding our true passion in life. I will add to that and say that death isn’t the end of life.

    To those who say “they shouldn’t have been braking the law” you have a good argument to a degree, but how about having a different mindset, where Base Jumping isn’t illegal, so it could be done more safely and at ideal times with full sun light? This would bring more innovation to the sport and laws won’t prevent this from happening or keep people from pursuing a dream or thrill ride. Life is more than black and white, yes or no.

    To those who say people shouldn’t climb on public lands…I say go climb a rock! I was 34 when I started climbing and it has changed my life forever. I look to these guys as inspiration to do more. Now I live better, make more money, I vote, pay taxes, own land and work for a living too with my own business and would prefer my taxes be spent helping rescue people daring to do great adventures than to pay for all the terrible things our government does (the list is endless).

    If these kids, men and women, adults, and animals want to climb, then they should go climb to the highest level they can achieve, without other people’s judgement of right and wrong (oh you narrow minded slaves). I wish it had not taken me 20 years to realize life outdoors is the only real life.

    Dean had a good heart and was a good person and God will judge him rightly.

    Kayak, Hike, Hunt, Swim, Fish, Rock Climb, Base Jump, Run, Bike, Ride….and pursue the outdoors to the limit. Ditch the comforts of home and do something exciting and get your blood pumping! Take a chance, even if it’s just camping in a place where Grizzly bears might be around, or rattle snakes might hid in a bush, come on people, have some faith in God and in your ability to do more.

  149. […] From National Geographic: […]

  150. […] free climber, base jumper and slackliner Dean Potter died tragically May 16th while attempting a wingsuit flight from Taft Point through the Yosemite valley. While his death is […]

  151. G2
    Republic of Texas
    May 18, 2015, 10:14 am

    Let it go all nay sayers, it doesn’t matter what we think it matters what these men lived for…they made a statement, each of us have the same opportunity to make a statement and if it takes our lives to do it then better that then do nothing.

    True warriors of a kind, and just as true warriors of all kinds they generate hope for someone.

    Carrying themselves in excellence of their craft & living in His Blessings

    See you in eternity Boys


  152. Karen
    May 18, 2015, 10:25 am

    For all the negative comments…nice that you are so perfect!

  153. Dee
    Central Oregon
    May 18, 2015, 10:29 am

    RIP Dean and Hunt I hope that the after life world is just as adventurous as life on earth was for them. This news will not limit my unwavering desire for adventure! My deepest condolences to both families and friends.

  154. Paulking
    May 18, 2015, 10:31 am

    I had never heard of Dean Potter till I read the article about the tragic deaths of both him and Graham Hunt in The NY Times.
    Spent an hour or so afterwards reading about him and watching YouTubes about his life and the pursuits which he loved.
    And I will do the same for Mr. Hunt.

    I am so shaken at the death of these men.
    I don’t think I’ve been more fascinated or inspired by anyone in a long time as I am with Mr. Potter. He seemed a very brilliant an articulate observer of life and his inner self, a man with the power to contemplate the deepest parts of his soul and act on his desires and conquer fear to live his dreams.
    (and his love for Whisper, his dog, was so touching.)

    More is the pity for all who can’t get close to approaching what that must feel like – myself included.
    We all face ourselves somehow and we all muster courage in ways big and small. But Dean did it in the largest fashion, his feats as huge as his soul allowed. He’s not gone, he’s in all of us.
    I’m inspired by him today and I thank him and Graham for showing me that life is for living.

  155. […] From National Geographic: […]

  156. Don Morton
    Jun Lake, CA.
    May 18, 2015, 10:48 am

    Pioneers! RIP. BSBD! They were advancing a rare and dangerous sport. The Park service certainly recovers more that drown being stupid than BASE jumpers. The general public would be amazed by the number of BASE jumps happening in Yosemite throughout the summer, some even in winter. Signed, BASE #20, El Capitan #432

  157. […] From National Geographic: […]

  158. […] escalador afamado, saltador base y slackliner Dean Potter murió trágicamente el 16 de mayo mientras intentaba un vuelo de traje aéreo desde Taft Point a través del valle de Yosemite. […]

  159. A2
    May 18, 2015, 11:21 am

    Stupid is as Stupid does. Extremist – Yes, Selfish – yes, Stupid – No doubt. Human – Yes, Some one’s Child – Yes, Someone’s Brother – Yes, Someone’s Dad and Husband – yes God’s Creation – Absolutely. The balance out weighs the former. I just only hope he knew where he was going after departing and entering eternity. That’s the most important. There are many ways to die but there are only 2 ways to live eternally.

  160. Avi Metcalfe
    May 18, 2015, 11:29 am

    The “Dark Wizard” took his young disciple down with him. Bet the disciple’s wife and three young children will not be worshipping at the Dark Wizard’s memorial shrine. Dean’s website spouts the quintessential pseudo-zen thrill sports credo, which by now anyone should recognize from its *corporate sponsored* advertising shtick as just run-of-the-mill ego climbing above the “herd”. Fly Free! Splat.

  161. AAO
    oregon USA
    May 18, 2015, 11:42 am

    …being a pioneer means doing something that has literally never been done before while accepting the risks in order to experience/accomplish it – flying in a wingsuit is dangerous, but it has to be absolutely incredible… fly on you guys, to Mt zion way, no negativity/ignorance could ever take away from the fact you became actual birds. even birds fall at some point, shoot we all die, but few live (or will know the feeling of living at all). you did.

  162. Craggin Stylie
    United States
    May 18, 2015, 11:55 am

    Haters will be haters, and fat ass couch potatoes can be the worst of them all. Grow up and show some respect, even if you will never push the envelope like Dean, Graham, and many others that pursue “life” not just “a life”.

    RIP Dean & Graham.

  163. Travis
    May 18, 2015, 11:56 am

    To Ted logan and brad’s comments first it’s only illegal if you get caught doing it and second he is a legend unlike you. He has made and stared in many Nat Geo film’s and is a world record holder!! that’s why we are celebrating his passing!! And us taxpayers don’t pick up the bill Dean was a avid outdoorsman. all you have to have is a state issued fishing license and your search and rescue fee is paid for ok! Next time think a little more before you try to add bitter taste to someone’s else’s passing. Being one of the worlds master base jumper he will be missed,,, R.I.P. DEAN I bet he’s baseing off some clouds up thier 🙂

  164. Dileepa
    London, UK
    May 18, 2015, 11:56 am

    Every human has to choose their path in life, some choose a path they have been seen or told by the society, and little few has the courage to choose their own path and brave enough to follow it. As history reveals people like them move the world forward, inspired others to follow their hart.
    Loosing you guys is a tragedy to whole society, their love ones.
    May their children get fathers courage to follow your hart, you father was twice the man than that who asking them to grew up.
    R.I.P Dean Potter and Graham Hunt…
    PS. It is shame that in a tragedy like this, some are selfish enough to comment about tax payers money. Hope they will grow up someday.

  165. Lisa Henderson
    May 18, 2015, 12:01 pm

    These men died from a lack of common sense.

  166. Dileepa
    London UK
    May 18, 2015, 12:02 pm

    Every human has to choose their path in life, some choose a path they have been seen or told by the society, and little few has the courage to choose their own path and brave enough to follow it. As history reveals people like them move the world forward, inspired others to follow their hart.
    Loosing you guys is a tragedy to whole society, their love ones.
    May their children get fathers courage to follow your hart, you father was twice the man than that who asking them to grew up.
    R.I.P Dean Potter and Graham Hunt…
    PS. It is shame that in a tragedy like this, some selfish enough to comment about tax payers money. Hope they grow up someday..

  167. x-wind-
    new york
    May 18, 2015, 12:04 pm

    Fly forever, Dean and Graham! You opened a new world for me. You showed me a path. You will always be in my heart. Your star will always shy over Yosemite Park. Deepest condolences to your families.

  168. […] We just hope that Dean and Graham are continuing to fly, wherever they may be. And our thoughts and prayers go out to their loved ones. […]

  169. […] including being named an Adventurer of the Year,” according to Andrew Bisharat in his post in National Geographic […]

  170. […] From National Geographic: […]

  171. Vatekov
    May 18, 2015, 12:25 pm

    From their point of view they are both still flying. Soar in spirit boys! The dream never ends!

  172. Lin He
    United States
    May 18, 2015, 12:27 pm

    Not involving in any extreme sports myself, but I play basketball and know the joy when playing. They lost their lives when doing something they love, that’s what life is all about, doing something you love to do. RIP

  173. pinboard May 18, 2015 —
    May 18, 2015, 12:31 pm

    […] Pioneering Climber Dean Potter Killed in BASE Jumping Accident – Beyond the Edge […]

  174. Jerome Matton
    May 18, 2015, 12:40 pm

    Such a sad loss to the climbing community. Prayers to his family

  175. Claudette
    May 18, 2015, 12:57 pm

    Reading the article… Is this considered suspicious deaths? How come neither one of them did not even deploy their parachutes? Something seems weird that two guys jumped and have done it many times before, you pull out your chute long before you hit the ground? Many people have deployed a little to late and has resulted in death or serious injuries, but to fall 7,500 feet and not even bother to deploy… Sounds like they could not deploy…. Seriously after the jump you have one mission…..pull the chute….. It seems incomptehendable two guys both jump and neither deployed…..sounds fishy to me. I hope somebody inspects the parachutes…

  176. Atze
    May 18, 2015, 1:00 pm

    Natural selection. No remorse.

  177. George
    May 18, 2015, 1:01 pm

    “Since when do we judge someone base on the nature of his hobbies”
    When they feel the need to break the law to do it. I admire their talent and bravery but there are plenty of places to practice your “hobby” that don’t involve breaking the law.

  178. Terry Tullis
    May 18, 2015, 1:06 pm

    my wife died on the descent from the summit of K2. I was sad at her death as were my kids but there is no way I would have tried to stop her. We all knew the risks but the pride in her achievements cannot be belittled. Her delight at standing on the summit on her third attempt was something I’d like to have shared. two many A”hole chair loving idiots out there. RIp all adventurers who die doing what they love.

  179. Joe Donovan
    Dothan, AL
    May 18, 2015, 1:35 pm

    To those uptight conformist souls who think these guys were idiots or lawbreakers should get a GRIP! If Wilbur and Orville had that mindset we’d still be traveling on horses. I guarantee the families of these guys knew the risks and wouldn’t have been there for them had they not considered those risks worth it. My hat’s off to them! And for the comment about spending taxpayer money to pick up the bodies: I’d certainly rather that than on welfare checks to scumbags who don’t want to work! Besides, these guys paid a crap-load of taxes from all the money they made on endorsements. Should we leave the bodies of the gang-bangers on the street because they died as a result of risky behavior? Give me a break!

  180. Michael Flaherty
    May 18, 2015, 1:39 pm

    RIP Dean and Graham, like Alex Lowe and many others you’ll be missed, because you were at the heights of your carreers and had so much more to do. It’s sad. I never judge how someone else chooses to live, or even die. So much is out of our control, but that important thing still is, thankfully. They definitely lived full lives, and that is to be celebrated. The fact what they were doing was against the law is irrelevant. Laws that attempt to protect us from ourselves are largely irrelevant. What people think about dangerous sports is irrelevant.

  181. Lori
    May 18, 2015, 1:43 pm

    Ted Logan, do you really expect a mountain to stand and never, climbed? Clearly, you have never heard or understood the phrase, “Why climb a mountain…because, it is, there!!” At least, he died doing what he loved. It is tragic and we wish he hadn’t, so, please, respect for his loved ones! Go Rest High on that Mountain, Graham!!

  182. Art Strauss
    Derry, NH
    May 18, 2015, 1:52 pm

    Let the haters hate and the judgers judge. You flew free. There’s a hole in our hearts you once filled with awe. RIP Dark Wizard

  183. Lori
    May 18, 2015, 1:54 pm

    *I meant Dean and Graham in above post…^^

  184. asif
    May 18, 2015, 2:04 pm

    nothing great could be accomplished without courage. All great things in the beginning are illegal and stupid. Mankind should be thankful for all courageous and crazy people who will beat and defeat the unknown. I am not sad …i am proud of them. They are Galileo Galilei of crushing fear. Salute to them.

  185. MD B
    May 18, 2015, 2:06 pm

    So sorry to hear that; and for friends and family left behind; however I think the world is a better place because he ‘did live’, he lived life to the fullest.

  186. bill bunch
    atlanta ga
    May 18, 2015, 2:31 pm

    Like wiley coyote man jumping off the cliff man, never works but he keep on trying. Like a bug on the windshield of time, man. flyin’ one second, all goo the next. Cool stuff, man. Meep, meep, my man. Eternal flyin’ man, now. Wing man in Purgatory, man. Cool stuff.

  187. TB
    May 18, 2015, 2:41 pm

    Please read carefully…..

    I value human life. In no way do I mean to disrespect the memory of these two gentlemen. I mourn for their families as well.

    However, let’s keep this in perspective. I have to take exception with them being compared to the great pioneers of history.

    These two were pioneers in an extremely small niche sport. Any advancements in the sport would benefit a minuscule few.

    To draw comparisons to pioneers such as the Wright brothers who have truly changed the world is simply inappropriate.

  188. Luis Carrillo
    May 18, 2015, 2:46 pm

    To Mr. Ted Logan,
    Sadly you write your stupid brainless comment in a very sad moment for the family and friends of these remarkables athletes… People like you are already death without notice it seated on a chair looking TV without breath fresh air…. I hope you will have the opportunity to know the joy of climbing or BASE jumping however that will not be possible because you need balls for it…

  189. Anupam
    May 18, 2015, 2:55 pm

    Lost a visionary, inspirative, most talented athlete while taking unnecessary risk for themselves. Feeling very sad at this moment.
    Adventure extreme sports are thrilling but everyone should assess the risk fist. Loss of a life is not acceptable. We should take a lesson….

  190. Michael Laverty
    United Kingdom
    May 18, 2015, 2:56 pm

    To anybody who either insults or disrespect these two beautiful individuals, shame on you.

    The rest of us pity you sincerely.

  191. Joseph
    May 18, 2015, 3:04 pm

    Sorry for my ignorance, but how can two different jumpers get into an accident at the same time? What are the odds of that happening? Or, was it faulty equipment used by both men that lead to this tragic event?

  192. Craggin Stylie
    May 18, 2015, 3:17 pm

    I really wish we could downvote the absurd, stupid, and hateful comments on this site.

    Lisa Henderson – you, ma’am probably have no knowledge of how they approached their sport, how much practice and preparation was used to mitigate risk. You put yourself more at risk by driving in rush hour traffic every day, yet you’ll never live life the way these men did.

    A2 – There’s no proof of an afterlife, so why not live fully while alive. That’s part of the problem with civilization today, too many people banking on the afterlife all while doing absolutely nothing to improve their existing life.

    Avi Metcalfe – How crude and judgemental your comment sounds. How about I make uneducated comments about your home country? Nope, I won’t stoop to your level…

  193. Sarah Weinberg
    BC, Canada
    May 18, 2015, 3:17 pm

    Although I am an “extreme sport” athlete that understands risk and the potential for death. Wingsuiting is a one way street and am sickened and saddened that this idea of freedom keeps killing my friends and mentors.

  194. […] “He was a larger-than-life character,” says Mike Gauthier, the chief of staff in Yosemite National Park. “His role in the community in Yosemite Valley, and the climbing world—he’s just in the pantheon of great athletes that people idolize and look up to.” Read More: Pioneering Climber Dean Potter Killed in Wingsuit BASE Jumping Accident […]

  195. Hubris
    May 18, 2015, 3:39 pm

    Potter and Hunt chased their dreams and for this should be respected. That they inspired others in the process is wonderful, and maybe this alone makes them “heroes,” although my view is that label is probably best reserved for those who sacrifice or risk themselves for the benefit of others — a nurse who chooses to enter an ebola ward in a developing country or the guy who guided people from the World Trade Center. Although I’ve done some rockclimbing, my passion has been long-distance running. I’ve spent endless hours on the roads and trails doing what I love and have had some success racing. I believe some people who know of my running respect me for my dedication, and perhaps I’ve even inspired a few people to do more themselves. But my running is almost exclusively my gift to myself, and I suspect Potter and Hunt felt that way about their sports.

  196. Mike Sheers
    May 18, 2015, 3:48 pm

    RIP Dean and Graham.

  197. Phillip Lake
    May 18, 2015, 3:48 pm

    I am very sorry for the deaths of these two men, but I am even sorrier for the children and wives that have no husband or farther. I lost my daughter when she was only 32 from illness and I know the pain that goes with this. BUT, I can’t help but think that these men cared more for a very dangerous sport than they did for their families. I will say a prayer for everyone; especially the ones they left behind.

  198. windell huffhines
    May 18, 2015, 3:54 pm

    Unfortunately, I have to agree with Ted and a couple of others. I feel for the child who has cancer, the widow whose husband didn’t come home from the war. I have zero feelings for someone who has a death wish to jump off of a high cliff. I feel for their families, don’t get me wrong, but for someone to dare death to this measure is not a hero. Just my 2 cents even though most of you will disagree.

  199. Rick
    May 18, 2015, 3:56 pm

    Fools. Living near Yosemite, we read about these idiots too
    often. National Parks should outlaw this crap.

  200. sherry
    May 18, 2015, 3:58 pm

    R.I.P. 🙁
    What amazing, powerful, brave, almost God like beings who really put most of us to shame.
    Most of you ignorant, shallow waste of skin dumbasses who are speaking so badly about these two, please know you will never ever be talked so highly about when it’s your turn…it will only be your turn and moving on…

  201. Yesudeep Mangalapilly
    May 18, 2015, 4:11 pm

    Have you been in an airplane, naysayers? Do you know how many people jumped to their deaths in an attempt to fly before we could have our modern airplanes? Would you call them stupid?

    20 years from now you will find people flying using suits. Would you call that stupid too?

    I’ll tell you who is stupid—you. These athletes are beyond the capacity of your minds and bodies.

    That is all I have to say. Thank you.

    RIP Dean and Graham.


  202. Yesudeep Mangalapilly
    May 18, 2015, 4:12 pm

    Also, naysayers, here’s more people pushing human limits.

    I guess, you should go back to watching TV.

  203. BenB
    May 18, 2015, 4:13 pm

    Sad, sad news … an impressing and taking man has gone … RIP Dean

  204. John Ashton
    Devon, England
    May 18, 2015, 4:24 pm

    He showed us what it’s like to live your life.

  205. Marie Dearaway
    May 18, 2015, 4:39 pm

    “maria”: have no fear, these men felt nothing. At those speeds, of which you cannot conceive your body moving I know, there was no time at all for recognition of the problem or for fear to set in, much less pain. We can rest assured of that. While tragic for those left behind, they can take comfort in knowing this, and that, truly, they “died doing what they loved to do”.

    My pity to those who cannot appreciate this kind of spirit and fearless zest for life. It is their legacy to their families and friends, one which they can take comfort in.

    My condolences to Mr Lake for the loss of your daughter. The love you shared is your memory now. We all have to go, but terminal illness in young people sparks an especially painful grief for their families. Prayer offered for comfort in your faith.

  206. nevy
    May 18, 2015, 4:42 pm

    RIP Brothers…
    whatever happen you will be a legend.

  207. Keith
    May 18, 2015, 4:48 pm

    I have watched Dean’s life achievements with nothing but awe and respect, life would be so dull without people who show us what humans are really capable off. Yes the pain of the families will be so hard but many across the world will share their pain and I for one will raise a glass every now and then to Dean and Graham and their likes, you’re a long time dead!

  208. Jonathan
    May 18, 2015, 4:52 pm

    To those of you who doubt Dean’s decisions and the way that he lived his life… I feel sorry for you. Your life must be boring and lacking adventure and risk… Good for you, keep on living your long boring bubble wrapped lives! The goal is to not die, but in life sometimes we must take risks to achieve our dreams or fail trying, maybe this includes the possibility of death for some. Do not judge but live your own life and lead by your own example. If your way is to be safe and cautious and never take risks… great… some of us choose to be free by our own definitions, and do what we love regardless of what anyone else thinks or says is right or wrong or legal. He died doing what he loved and I guarantee his last moments were not of regrets but of acceptance of his final failure. Let us remind ourselves that without failure in life, engineering, etc., human beings would not be where they are today. There will be a lesson to learn. But that lesson is not to stop doing something one loves but to find where others have made mistakes and progress forward. We are human after all. Progression is our game. May they both RIP.

  209. Sam Sara
    May 18, 2015, 4:52 pm

    Given the rampant narcissism of recent generations, it is no surprise that so many people here think that these are great heroes or daring adventurers. Unfortunately, they are really self centered self absorbed thrill seekers. True heroes sacrifice for others. Nothing that either of these did represents sacrifice or risk undertaken on behalf of others other than themselves or their own aggrandizement or glory or self promotion. I know real life heroes. I know of brave individuals who have sacrificed everything for a greater good or a selfless cause. I know that most readers will disagree with my comments. Read what Meriwether Lewis said of his own life at the age of 31.

  210. […] The story on simply read “SERVER ERROR 500″. Outside Online, CNN, and more, still hadn’t published anything. Then my phone […]

  211. BigEd
    United States
    May 18, 2015, 5:39 pm

    Live free and die…………I am all about enjoying life and agree that we need people to take things to the limit. That being said, you can still explore these limits in a better controlled environment that will reduce the risk. Most of all, when you become a father and have that responsibility, your decision should be made around, what about my kids. To put yourself in a situation that increases your chance of death, no matter how thrilling, seems to be a little selfish.
    I still don’t wish this upon anyone. My thoughts are with the family’s.

  212. Lance Mitsui
    May 18, 2015, 6:24 pm

    No. Dean was not a hero. No. Joe Montana wasn’t either. Or Babe Ruth. But they were tested and are sports “heros”. Stupid to think otherwise and to claim that he is like “military” hero. No, he is not Mother Theresa either.

    Also, Dean and Graham’s families know the risks they took for their line of work. Yes, their families are in mourning.

    So no, they were not selfish. They did what they loved. Some people think it is stupid to play golf. So who cares? People die from lightning strikes playing golf.

    So no, they did not commit suicide although some of you allude to that. They lived. They lived on their terms.

    It it appalling how some people can be so judgemental. Just because you are frightened of things you do not understand doesn’t give you the right, especially when it doesn’t hurt anyone else. Be enlightened!

    Dean was a good person. Treat him that way instead of being judgemental trolls.

  213. Janine Strickland
    May 18, 2015, 6:51 pm

    So very sad, may the families and friends of these pioneers find peace. Ignore the ignorant who choose to say mean things about these men and their choices. Some of us need to push our limits, take risks and live life. Im sure the naysayers also call Astronauts idiots, or would if they understood the risks involved.

  214. […] We just hope that Dean and Graham are continuing to fly, wherever they may be. And our thoughts and prayers go out to their loved ones. […]

  215. Kalina
    Lake Tahoe
    May 18, 2015, 7:03 pm

    The climbing community has lost two truly amazing individuals. My heart goes out to their families. Instead of mourning Dean and Graham’s untimely death, you people are using this blog to argue a point. Show some respect eh? Keep dreaming, keep loving, and keep pushing the limits! These beautiful souls lived life to the fullest just like all athletes. Climb and fly on in heaven guys, you will be dearly missed and never forgotten.

  216. Tyler
    May 18, 2015, 7:55 pm

    RIP Mr. Potter, I am a Australian cattle dog owner and you shall be missed.

  217. Ralph Hale
    May 18, 2015, 8:04 pm

    Obviously a very nice man. A touch misguided perhaps, but then again it was his life…or was it? Things change when you are responsible for and to your loved ones. All of the ‘he pushed it to the limit’, ‘went the distance’, do no good for your kids and wife when you’re dead, and is soon forgotten. He got his dopamine rush from jumping off cliffs. Others use drugs. It’s still the same mental pattern seen with addiction, and couching it in metaphysical context is a cop out. It’s simple: he liked jumping of tall cliffs to get a rush. Nothing more, nothing less. I hope his kids do well.

  218. Janet
    May 18, 2015, 8:14 pm

    wow! Shocked at how insensitive some of these comments are.
    R.I.P may you both continue to fly with the angles <3

  219. Fred
    May 18, 2015, 9:14 pm

    RIP Dean and Graham, much respect; however the ‘heros’ are the search and rescue folks who also risk their lives to recover wounded, missing and unfortunately deceased folks who choose to ‘live their lives to the fullest’. Most of them have families also and are put in harm’s way to perform their often dangerous jobs. Please remember that when something goes wrong for you, the risk is often transferred to others.

  220. Cedarspring
    May 18, 2015, 9:34 pm

    Let’s see, hmmm….Dean Potter comments that his favorite act of “civil disobedience” is the cited photo of four lawbreakers violating Yosemite National Park restrictions against “base jumping”. Now, sadly, Dean is dead and his friends, Graham Hunt and Sean Leary are also dead after attempted jumps at Yosemite.
    One would think that a photo of civil disobedience bringing attention to racism, environmental destruction, political injustice, or other critical social issues would merit more recognition than four men breaking national park laws for no other reason than thrill seeking and self-aggrandizement.
    I take no comfort in the sad fact that these men died so prematurely and so without purpose. All those future years wasted that could have been so full of life and service to others. It is however, unfortunate that this incredibly shallow and selfish “illegal” action is elevated to the ranks of hero status….”in the pantheon of climbing gods”, to quote another statement about Dean. These people are not heros; they are adrenaline junkies taking “selfies” for no other purpose than selfish narcissism. Anyone who base jumps with their pet dog is “sick”; no discussions, explanations, reasoning, is necessary; period.
    Another statement on this Facebook page says “It’s awesome that Adidas Outdoor is still backing important issues of freedom by supporting guys like me who stretch the boundaries of what’s possible and acceptable within our changing world”….”Live without Limits”. This incredibly naive and shallow comment is unfortunately indicative of our current social trend toward shallowness and selfishness. Maybe Adidas pays these thrill seekers not to advance any important social purpose or stretch the boundaries of living a full life, but to SELL SHOES AND MAXIMIZE PROFITS?
    The saddest part of this unnecessary waste of life is that “Whisper”, his loyal dog is now alone. I wonder if Dean and Graham and Sean might have missed the fact that those who loved them might miss them. Self-destructive behavior masquerading in the guise of an adrenaline drug rush to the brain is such a wasteful way to enter oblivion.

  221. deb
    May 18, 2015, 9:38 pm

    Dean Potter was a visionary? Why, because he foresaw his early death? Then my dad was a visionary too – he smoked cigarettes and figured he would live to about 84 – he was right!

  222. Gary DeGallo
    May 18, 2015, 9:53 pm

    Right on, Ted Logan. These deaths are a tragedy, but these two men regularly committed crimes in our National Parks. And, it’s a crime even if you don’t get caught. Our taxpayer dollars DO pay to go pick up the bodies. Were these men Inspirational? Yes. Future BASE jumpers, please go practice your sport where it is legal. Obeying the law does matter.

  223. Nar In
    May 18, 2015, 10:09 pm

    My thoughts are with their families & Sending them love. RIP Dean & Graham. May your souls rest in peace.

  224. Michael Nunn
    Sayulita, Mexico
    May 18, 2015, 10:33 pm

    How people like Ted Logan and Jim Smith can be so disrespectful of the dead and their families is beyond my comprehension. What Potter and Hunt did is no sillier or pointless than golf, stamp-collecting, surfing the internet or playing scrabble. Is working for a corporation all your life better? At least these dudes were free and doing what they wanted, not slaves to the humdrum, meaningless grind. “It is better to live briefly like a lion than forever like a lamb.”

  225. Anna Maria Zotti
    Reno, Nevada
    May 18, 2015, 11:02 pm

    My condolences to both families. Wonderful talented athletes that left us way to early. We are a climbing family and Dean you were a great influence on my 3 girls. “Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.”
    R. I. P. Dean and Graham
    P. S. For all the negative people out there find a life and do something great and daring with it.

  226. […] From National Geographic: […]

  227. Darrell McClanahan
    Oklahoma City
    May 18, 2015, 11:50 pm

    The people who have posted negative comments here need to try to understand what it’s like to have the physical and mental makeup and incredible skills that these two had. It’s very clear that they have not the least understanding of what they’re talking about. They don’t begin to fathom what it’s like to have the experiences of many lifetimes in such a short span of time. If you don’t get it, at least have a shred of decency and a touch of compassion for the ones left behind. In a nutshell, you can’t say anything good, just shut up.

  228. Paul C
    Utah, U.S.A
    May 18, 2015, 11:51 pm

    Jim Smith – you say you wouldn’t want to die for any of your hobbies, tell us how you would prefer to die? All options end in death and I can’t imagine a car wreck, a heart attack or a slow killing cancer would be any better than this split second they experienced. So yes, “died doing what they loved” is true. It isn’t saying they had a smile as they went out, it’s just a more fitting end than falling asleep and never waking up.

    To everyone saying they don’t feel bad for these two, they wouldn’t ask you to feel bad anyway. They knew the risks and they didn’t care what any stranger thought about their decisions.

  229. shekhar
    May 18, 2015, 11:53 pm

    We lost 2 brave souls . RIP ! You guys left a legacy and inspired many of us.

  230. Darrell McClanahan
    Oklahoma City
    May 18, 2015, 11:58 pm

    Dean and Graham, thank you for showing us the possibilities! You have our respect and our affection!

  231. Michael Difronzo
    May 19, 2015, 12:42 am

    A true legend

    Ted Logan don’t speak about things you are ignorant of. It only shows people how uninformed you really are.

  232. Denise Weber
    Charlotte NC
    May 19, 2015, 1:27 am

    For all those who don’t understand what these two men did. How do you think our bridges were built for years without men like them who learned to climb incredible lengths that others couldn’t and wouldn’t. We wouldn’t have bridges, tall buildings, etc. in this world today so don’t criticize them. May they rest in peace.

  233. […] From National Geographic: […]

  234. Helen Vasic
    Cape Town South Africa
    May 19, 2015, 1:52 am

    Wow incredible what they were able to do. Not for me. Goosebumps to watch him fly from the Eiger in Switzerland, but also peaceful. People have different dreams. Why are some people so critical? RIP Dean and Graham, may you both fly with the Angels.

  235. […] free climber, base jumper and slackliner Dean Potter died tragically May 16th while attempting a wingsuit flight from Taft Point through the Yosemite valley. While his death is […]

  236. erwin walther
    Cape Town South Africa
    May 19, 2015, 5:59 am

    RIP Dean, you lived your life as a free spirit and Adventurer, it was so inspiring following your stories!

  237. micheline lajoie
    May 19, 2015, 7:40 am

    Il est mort comme il vécu dans un défi que peu de gens réalise.

  238. Steve DeMoss
    Atlanta, GA
    May 19, 2015, 7:46 am

    There are so many ways to lose your life besides dying. I always admired Dean for living life so boldly.

  239. […] Information from: […]

  240. James Milner
    Hong Kong
    May 19, 2015, 8:54 am

    RIP two men Dean and Graham. And condolences to family and friends.

    But why do people imply that people who just live quietly with their families are not “living” like these 2 guys did?

  241. Gerry Wood
    May 19, 2015, 9:11 am

    National Geographic promoting and funding people doing dangerous dumbass things is one of the reasons I stopped subscribing to them…”Adventurer”….bah. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. Just because something is “thrilling” doesn’t mean you should do it. Talking about someone who breaks rules and laws as if they are a hero is moronic. Living life “boldly” has a high mortality rate. I don’t see how that’s admirable…it seems more to be the sign of a narcissist.

  242. Ragnar Lothbrok
    May 19, 2015, 10:07 am

    I’d never heard of Dean Potter until today. From what I have learned of him, he seemed to have been a narcissistic risk taker, not a pioneer of any type to the general public. Don’t compare these selfish adrenaline junkies to true pioneers in history such as the Wright brothers, that is just stupid and insulting.

  243. Chris
    Perris Valley
    May 19, 2015, 10:12 am

    I’ve watched many videos and stories on these guys. Being a skydiver myself I’m fully aware of the technical diffaculties and allure of attempting some of these activities. I can tell you that BASE jumping is incredibly dangerous and jumping at dusk is just stupid. These guys did things by instinct. BASE jumping needs to be done by the numbers. They did not do their homework for this jump and paid the price. Let others learn from this.

  244. […] Potter, the extreme climber and wingsuit BASE jump pioneer who died over the weekend while wingsuit BASE jumping, said he was driven to extremes by intensely personal reasons. But he shared his feats with the […]

  245. /tejo
    kediri eastjava indonesia
    May 19, 2015, 10:28 am


  246. Jeff Witt
    May 19, 2015, 11:03 am

    First Off, I have to say What an ispiration to all both Dean and Graham were. To only live afew seconds in there shoes would shutter most into a heartattack. How do you choose to go when the end comes? well None of choose! and they didnt either, they passed in doing what they loved, Selfish some say, I say Selfless as they shared their adventures and lives through their selfies as all of you who comment against take selfies to. Cedarspring and Ted your comments are dispicable and warrent everything said; further more how dare either of you! sounds like you both live very sheltered lives and we all feel sorry for you, you deserve no more of my time or energy, your the wasted life!!
    Dean and Graham, we all watch movies about and youtube videos and you have become the heros and inspiration in our lives, the people we wish to become if only for a moment or a few seconds. The stories and awe inspiring pictures will hold many in suspense for decades to come. you will not be forgotten, but remembered for your attitude towards life. RIP

  247. David
    May 19, 2015, 11:49 am

    Very conflicted about this.

    I do appreciate folks who push the limits of the edge. I used to do it myself in many ways..mostly deep wilderness excursion with minimal gear etc…a little bit of rock climbing and whitewater crashing.

    BUT, when I got married and became a provider and a father to 2 children, I started to re-think my need for this sort of excitement. I started being much more careful on my bike, when walking looking both ways twice when crossing the street..driving more conservatively…I realized, like many parents do, that in that instant where you bring souls into the world you are living for them, intensively for a period – until you put them out.

    I do have a certain respect for folks that do this sort of thing, I love watching videos of what they do, it gives me a familiar and enjoyable rush.

    However..there is a moment where you have to question your motives and who is affected by those and the potential results of those motives, needs, addictions, ‘wants’ vs ‘needs’

    ..I know a lot of folks in this arena (adrenaline junkies) who are hyped up selfish people who do not consider anything except what these pursuits do for them in terms of selfish and superficial results..and a lot of the time “status” in these circles is paramount and is, in the end, what they are pursuing..Many of these people are not much different than your run of the mill jock..high ego, competitive, narcissistic, megalomaniacs.

    It also troubles me to read these comments where all these people line up to judge people who do not choose to live their lives this way..Folks in this comment section who look down on ‘regular’ folks who go to work for their families and “just exist”. Very condescending and, basically, those folks here that choose to look down on regular folks…are full of shit.

    RIP, Potter and ten times as much strength and power to his kids and wife..Very sad story.

  248. Avinash Korgaonkar
    Pune, India
    May 19, 2015, 12:55 pm

    RIP Dean & Graham

  249. Jack
    United States
    May 19, 2015, 1:49 pm

    For what? What is this guy doing for the world? Dark, brooding, intense… and apparently stupid. Devoted his life to himself and now he’s dead.

  250. Maegan
    May 19, 2015, 2:02 pm

    Very sad. I have always been inspired by those who push limits beyond what most think is possible. Without people like Dean and Graham the world would be small. I will miss feeling conflicted by his exploits. I frequently disagreed with his methods but understood the vision. Few people can say they have lived life to it’s fullest.

  251. ash sherman
    marin County, California
    May 19, 2015, 2:14 pm

    Okay, foray let me start my dating no one can judge a single Putney person, let go your egos.

    Now I will say this, after going up to yosemite and meeting dine I’d these pioneers, really just normal people, a bit pdychitic for jumping off mountains with no real protection except luck and parachutes (come one, these wing suit God’s practically b are asking for it when you are videos of them skimming barely above the rocks almost killing themselves. okay, now I got that out, I noticed another kinda childish behavior in the climbing community when I was up there.

    Everyone acts like they were best friends with these c Pele and worshiped them. Pretty much exexoxtreme sport groupies. Don’t tell me they don’t exist. half of you are acting like these were blood brothers and I guarantee some, not all of you only maybe just meet v and talked to them ir possibly shared one v adventure. That makes them aquainances, not these GODS you make them or to be. I may not judge but I personally disagree with pushing it so close to death with a family. That’s why my Britney speed free climbing although he’s still dumb enough to rid a motorcycle in LA.


    I’m not takingrashingb these guys, I’m just pointing b out how many n Pele here act v like they were best friends. Sorry but people, very lives and quit drooling v and being climber grouoiesjunkiespie s, it’s below you and you’re putting v less value on yourself.

    To Hallya’ll who genuinely knew these guys, I’m so sorry.

  252. David Katz
    United States
    May 19, 2015, 2:21 pm

    “Though sometimes I have felt like I’m above it all and away from any harm, I want people to realize how powerful climbing, extreme sports or any other death-consequence pursuits are. There is nothing fake about it whether you see it in real life, on YouTube or in a glamorous commercial.

    I hope this footage of Heaven clearly shows the spirituality of it all as I offer up every last thing within me to become connected with the rock, the Big Valley, the mountain peaks and everything else that connects us.”

    In Dean’s owns words, he was trying to show us all what is humanely possible, opening our perception and emotions to feats of unknown human experience. That has deeply moved me and I will be forever thankful to Dean for it.

    Dean also forced us to ask important ethical questions. BASE jumping is legal in so many other parts of the world, including Switzerland where Dean famously flew from the Eiger for his world record setting almost 3 minute wingsuit flight. Why should we prosecute people for choosing to fly from the monoliths of Yosemite? Who are they hurting except for themselves if they crash? Their families if they crash? Isn’t it their decision to make? We allow plenty of other dangerous activity, what makes BASE jumping special? Is there a more beautiful or ideal place to practice this craft? I would love to see BASE jumping made legal in Yosemite in honor of Dean.

    My thoughts and feelings go to Jenn and Dean’s family and Dean’s whole climbing family. We will miss you and hopefully be living a little more rad and a little more enlightened having known you.

  253. […] We only wish that Dean and Graham are stability to fly, wherever they might be. And the thoughts and prayers go out to their loved ones. […]

  254. Renee Globis
    Moab and SLC Utah
    May 19, 2015, 2:26 pm

    Dean – You will always be remembered in my heart and soul for your passion for living life in the ultimate extremes, while at the same time being the most humble man who appreciates and respects this earth and people! Memories of you are and always will be the glory days of our youth in Moab (Indian Creek and Millcreek), where inspiring friendships were born that lifted you (and all who knew you) to the greatest level of achievements. I know that you will be with us forever soaring, singing, screaming and loving this beautiful world we live among…for all time! The moral point of life is to ‘LIVE IT’ and that you did!…AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! All our LOVE to you and yours! Peace, brother! renee and ariann May your soul NOT rest, but super charge all of us to live the good life!

  255. […] We just hope that Dean and Graham are continuing to fly, wherever they may be. And our thoughts and prayers go out to their loved ones. […]

  256. […] We only wish that Dean and Graham are stability to fly, wherever they might be. And the thoughts and prayers go out to their loved ones. […]

  257. MT
    May 19, 2015, 7:33 pm

    my sincere and real respects

  258. florafinching
    Nevada City, CA
    May 19, 2015, 8:19 pm

    Yoo hoo, National Geographic, do you really want to encourage people to take up a sport that’s so frequently deadly? BASE started in the 1960s; have you done a head count of all the BASE jumpers who have been doing this consistently even for the last 20 years? (The head count is zero. There are lots of old skydivers and skiers, but there are no old base jumpers.)

    Have you looked at the actuarial tables? You can’t actually buy insurance for BASE jumping. That’s the only sport you can’t buy insurance for. Insurance companies have looked at the death rates and decided that BASE jumpers are so likely to die that they get injured and die so often that they’d lose way too much money by insuring them, even though there are hardly any of them. Skydiving insurance? No problem. BASE? Sorry, buddy; if you’ve got family dependent upon you, don’t do what Dean did and decide you can somehow manage the risk. Your existing policies, incidentally, probably exempt death or injury from BASE jumping. You might want to check.

    If two young men without any families or beloveds enjoy a daredevil, high-energy sport that’s often deadly, that could be a reasonable choice. For family members, such deaths can be emotionally devastating. Here’s an interchange on a BASE board between a victim’s mother and other jumpers, one of whom is astonishingly crass. She doesn’t buy that she should be happy for her dead son. There were other things he loved, and he didn’t plan to die before he was able to accomplish them. “He died doing something he loved” and “He was a hero”? She’s not taking that kind of supercilious, easy rationalization. He didn’t need to die, and he didn’t want to die.
    Has anyone asked Dean’s family if they’re happy and proud that he died a sporting legend? Has Dean’s life and sudden death really been heroic? Will his death spur other young people into taking up this sport and following him into an early death? God, let’s hope not. The insurance companies have a point: if he couldn’t manage the odds, who could?

  259. Todd Shaffer
    Dover, NH
    May 19, 2015, 8:30 pm

    All is One !

    We Love You !

  260. Ted Logan
    Georgia, USA
    May 19, 2015, 8:37 pm

    For the record I am not the person who made the remarks about the unfortunate deaths of the climbers. We do not even have hills where I live so I do not know anything at all about climbing or climbers. I do offer my deepest sympathies to the families of both of the men and to their climbing friends where ever you.

  261. Nick Wardle
    May 19, 2015, 9:51 pm

    Wow, so much disrespect for two fallen human beings, talking about tax paying, get a grip, these two men died doing what they loved, and calling them pointless and all the other crap I’m reading, fuck me, you nasty pieces of existence….. RIP to two people who figured out life was for living the max, not sitting in an office counting money……

  262. J. Dough
    May 19, 2015, 10:15 pm

    To Jeff B and others: I tend to agree with you about letting people do what they want to do, but I appreciate the remarks of several who disagree with us because I appreciate being able to hear and think about different perspectives. What cannot be appreciated, because it’s not a perspective worthy of hearing or understanding, is your hateful intolerance of anybody with a perspective different from yours. Which is to be the more respected, others who question the risks that resulted in several fatherless kids, or you, whose input was nothing thoughtful but merely calling somebody you disagree with, a “worthless piece of dog crap”? I mean, speaking of living one’s dream, is that your dream? To go through life spouting hateful putdowns of anyone with a different perspective? Is that the thing that gives *you* a thrill?

  263. Tim B.
    Cleveland, OH
    May 20, 2015, 4:11 am

    Adreline Junkies! This is 98% of what happen to people who are addicts! Could the both of them taken up a safer hobby, like record collecting?? R.I.P. ..Peace.

  264. Kathy
    May 20, 2015, 6:56 am

    RIP Dean and Graham. Sending love to all affected.

  265. Reine Gauthier
    saguenay PQ
    May 20, 2015, 7:39 am

    iL avait choisi de vivre dangereusement, il fallait s,y attendre un jour ou l,autre j,espere qu,il vole comme un oiseau comme il a toujours aimé je souhaite a ses enfants d,etre heureux et de choisir un autre sport que celui la mes condoléances a la famille.

  266. Cooper
    May 20, 2015, 1:52 pm

    Didn’t these iggits ever watch Wile E. Coyete on Saturday morning? Any kid will tell you that the ACME brand wingsuit just doesn’t work. What a couple of morons.

  267. TJ
    May 20, 2015, 2:15 pm

    I wonder if those guys were using ACME brand wingsuits? Anyone that has ever watch Wile E. Coyete knows that ACME brand wingsuits don’t work.

  268. ben
    May 20, 2015, 5:27 pm

    Hey Ted Logan,
    Who are you to say what the parks are for? Is there some reason your opinion of how to experience nature reigns supreme over anyone else? I bet you stick to missionary position in the sac too huh? Cause that’s the only way to experience a woman’s quiet beauty. You are the antithesis of the American spirit that Dean and Graham embodied. Will history remember your name? Have you inspired the masses?

    I can’t stand you pussies who make comments like “thrill seekers 0, Darwin 2” and other BS like that. You better be count yourselves lucky that Darwinian law isn’t the only law we must abide by these days, otherwise it’d go something more like “Dean and Graham’s friends 1, disrespectful tactless pricks, 0.”

    Call our friends man-boys… before they’ve even had time to be buried……I hope I run into you somewhere.

  269. td
    May 21, 2015, 7:46 am

    100 people a day die in car crashes in the US – 11 of them teens who were texting. 4500 Americans died protecting our oil interests in Iraq. 70,000 Americans die each year from diet-caused diabetes. How many fatherless kids have been caused by our addiction to iPhones, junk food and oil compared to climbing or BASE jumping? Maybe more of us should take a look at our own inner addictions (like our phones, cars, lifestyles and diets) rather than critiquing a couple of rare individuals who pushed the survivable limits of human creativity. Our modern life can be as absurd as a BASE jump, but millions of us leap over the edge every day.

  270. Ben Ammons
    Davis Ca
    May 21, 2015, 9:18 am

    Ted, you are a sad sad and very jealous man that is certain. Ashamed and so unsure of yourself you change your name and comment on your own comments to try and make *you* look less like an ass and more like hero that these men were if for only that they lived the way they wanted to live. It’s not selfish to take risks, we’re all going to die baby, obviously you wish you had the balls to do shit like this or you wouldn’t be following it so closely and getting mad at two of this sport’s best players for being praised in their endeavors. You’ll never be a hero if all you can do is try to devalue the people who truly are. I bet you wanted to be a cop but failed the requirements. It’s very obvious that almost all of the negative whining about how these pioneers/heros/mentors/ baddasses should not be praised because they were breaking rules or tax dollar bullshit or becuase you have 2 children now but used to do really scary hiking with minimal gear is coming from one way messed up head trying SO hard to look like he’s right, but conflicted… you are a single person in a sea of fans and family members and friends of these phenomenal men who lived to the fullest with passion and a drive to go harder, faster, and farther than anyone else . I imagine that they were full of energy, fun as hell to be around, and most importantly in my opinion, they were more happy and excited about life than most people will ever understand. These people are all hear to celebrate what these men accomplished which simply put (in my opinion) is a pure and intense level of life that you simply will never understand sitting behind your laptop trying to belittle the huge feats these guys reached. Go skydiving. You cannot begin to understand how amazing these guys were if you don’t have a single jump under your belt. And if by some miracle your parachute doesn’t open and it has to be cut away to use the backup. Then you’ll still have hundreds of ‘holy shit’ moments to get through to just to get an idea of how far these guys got into these sports, how good they were, and how far your bullshit whiny comments stick out no matter what name you use. I’m sorry for having to post this negative shit myself, but damn man, shut the hell up, this is not the place to try and convince people why you should be a hero and they shouldn’t. Fuck your rules and taxes. These men lost their lives (at least in this world) and are greatly missed by more people than you will ever know. If you think more people should view you as a hero or a role model go jump out of a perfectly good plane. Maybe after a few jumps someone will try to tell you it’s selfish and irresponsible and you see how stupid you sound. 2 things that will never make you a better person are telling people you are a better person, or telling people they are a lessor person.

  271. […] Potter and Graham Hunt, both experienced BASE jumpers, died in a wingsuit accident in Yosemite National Park on May 16. A number of highly decorated skiers and […]