Dean Potter, extreme sports icon known for BASE-jumping, elevated slacklining, and free-solo climbing, died Saturday evening in Yosemite National Park while attempting a wingsuit flight.
According to Outside magazine
, Potter, 43, and Graham Hunt, 29, both died after jumping from Taft Point, "a 7,500-foot promontory that overlooks Yosemite Valley and El Capitan."
After the jump, the pair's spotter heard two sounds that could have either been impacts of the sound of their parachutes opening. They could not be reached by radio and did not show up the predetermined meeting spot.
Yosemite Search and Rescue (YOSAR) could not locate them Saturday night, but a state police helicopter found their bodies the next morning. No parachutes had been deployed.
Potter made headlines in 2006 after he climbed Utah's iconic Delicate Arch without any safety gear. The climb became very controversial, and prompted Patagonia to drop its sponsorship of Potter.
He also stirred controversy with his film "When Dogs Fly," which chronicled his BASE jumping exploits with his dog, Whisper, strapped to his back.
Among his many accomplishments, Potter climbed the north face of Switzerland’s 13,020-foot Eiger with a parachute on his back. When he reached the top, he jumped from the cliff and parachuted down. He dubbed the sport "free-basing."
"Dean was definitely the most intense, driven, inspirational climbers in the past two decades," climber Chris McNamara told People magazine
. "Everything he did was new. He didn't follow anyone else and was constantly inventing new approaches to experience the outdoors – whether it be slacklining, BASE jumping or climbing."
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