It most certainly is not for the faint of heart, and we're talking about merely watching high-wire act, Nik Wallenda. His next stunt, coming Friday, June 15, will be the toughest to watch yet, which means his life will be in greater danger than ever.
The man who calls himself the "king of the high wire" will attempt to wire walk 550 metres across Niagara Falls, and do it right above the actual Falls, not downstream as others long ago did. The wire will be suspended 60 metres, or nearly 200 feet, above the Falls and a fall into them will mean certain death...or under his usual wire-walking circumstances it would.
There is a catch in that the contract to film the event went to ABC and they insist Wallenda wear a safety harness, which he does not want to wear but if forced to do so wants ABC to announce they did the forcing. He's never worn one before but wears a safety belt that's unattached to the wire but that could be attached in a moment of need.
Nik Wallenda: King of High Wire walks again
He'll start on the U.S. side and finish on the Canadian and as the Brantford Expositor reports, 12 agencies are involved to help Wallenda attempt his crossing. Over 120,000 onlookers are expected and Wallenda spent the better part of two years cutting through the red tape necessary to get permission. It's the biggest walk of his career.
One of the many highlights of that career includes walking between two buildings in San Juan, Puerto Rico on a wire suspended 121 feet above a sidewalk. That walk was significant because of strong wind and because it was a duplication of the walk his 73-year-old grandfather, Karl Wallenka, fell and died while trying in 1978. The walk over the Falls promises to be more challenging and will take about 45 minutes to complete.
“This is unique because it’s the longest unsupported or unstabilized cable that anyone’s put up in the history of wire-walking,” Wallenda said of the walk. With such a long walk that's not only a long time for him to focus and be physically on top of his craft, it's also a long time for the spectators to watch as he risks his life.
His next big challenge, providing of course he makes it through this one, is to walk across the Grand Canyon. He already has the permits in line but no date has been set.