'Dying into flying': Daredevil Dean Potter leaves behind towering legacy
Published Monday, May 18, 2015 12:06PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, May 19, 2015 7:45AM EDT
American daredevil Dean Potter performed a number of pulse-pounding, must-see stunts during his career, before one of those stunts cost him his life.
The expert climber, tightrope-walker and BASE jumper left behind a considerable body of work, thanks to his penchant for filming his stunts with help from professional camera crews.
Potter, 43, died along with climbing partner Graham Hunt, 29, when a BASE jump went awry at Yosemite National Park on Saturday night. The two had jumped from a 7,500-foot ledge with wingsuits on but failed to deploy their parachutes before hitting the ground, park rangers said.
Potter completed many daring and never-before-attempted climbs during his career, including multiple trailblazing ventures up the foreboding El Capitan rock formation in Yosemite. He was also the first climber to complete a FreeBASE ascent up the north face of the imposing Eiger in the Swiss Alps.
Potter recently wrapped filming on "When Dogs Fly," a documentary that showed him making several wingsuit flights with his pet dog, Whisper, strapped inside a backpack. He continued to post photos of Whisper on his Instagram account up to the day he died.
Potter's last Instagram post was a photo of Whisper's nose and the words, "Never leave the dog behind."
Another recent post described his love for BASE jumping and climbing. "Turning dying into flying is a metaphor for my basic life principle," he said in the post.
First ever FreeBASE #solo. I innovated this new form of #rock #climbing in 2008 on the North Buttress of the #Eiger in #Switzerland. This concept of turning dying into #flying is a metaphor for my basic life principle... Quite often there is a way to change the worse things we have going on into the best things which become our strengths. Photo by my mentor and #mastermind Beat Kammerlander. @Fiveten_Official @AdidasOutdoor @StrideHealth @MetoliusClimbing @Goalzero @Guayaki #FlyFee #FlySafe #Freedom
Potter's death-defying lifestyle inspired many stunts throughout his career, as well as a National Geographic documentary titled "The Man Who Can Fly."
He performed several daring jumps for the documentary, including a free climb and wingsuit flight at Mount Butte in Alberta.
Potter also walked across a slackline strung at the top of Yosemite's Cathedral Peak, in a spectacular video shot at night against a massive full moon.