Wallenda walks tightrope over Canyon

Nik Wallenda walks on a tightrope stretched across the Little Colorado river gorge near the Grand Canyon—AFP

Nik Wallenda walks on a tightrope stretched across the Little Colorado river gorge near the Grand Canyon—AFP

Daredevil Nik Wallenda completed a historic high-wire walk on a 2-inch (5-cm) steel cable over the Grand Canyon on Sunday and was greeted by wild cheers after his hair-raising stunt.

Wallenda, the self-described “King of the High Wire,” took 22 minutes and 54 seconds to walk 1,400 feet (427 metres) across the crimson-hued canyon with just a distant ribbon of the Little Colorado River beneath him. The event was broadcast live around the world.
Wallenda, the first person to cross the canyon, made the walk without a tether or safety net.
Wallenda could be heard praying almost constantly during the walk, murmuring “Thank you, Jesus.” He kissed the ground when he reached the other side.
“It took every bit of me to stay focused that entire time,” Wallenda said. “My arms are aching like you wouldn’t believe.”
He said he stopped and crouched down twice, first because of the wind, the second because the cable had picked up an unsettling rhythm.
He spat on his hands and rubbed it on the sole of his shoe for grip as the cable had gathered dust.
Wallenda said the walk was stressful. But he also said the view, from 1,500 feet (457 metres) above the snaking river, was “breathtaking.”
“It was a dream come true,” Wallenda said of the crossing. “This is what my family has done for 200 years, so its part of my legacy.”
A seventh-generation member of the “Flying Wallendas” family of acrobats, Wallenda also made history last year by becoming the only person to complete a high-wire walk over the brink of Niagara Falls. He used the same cable on Sunday. The 34-year-old first dreamed of Sunday’s challenge during a visit to the Grand Canyon with his parents as a teenager. There was no word on the financial benefits of Wallenda’s stunt.

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