Daredevil Nik Wallenda, already legendary for his recent tightrope walks over Niagra Falls and the Grand Canyon, attempts his most daring and dangerous stunt so far on Sunday (November 2) — walking between not just two but three skyscrapers 600 feet above the streets of Chicago without a harness or a net.
And as if that feat wasn’t risky enough for Wallenda, his walk between the first two buildings requires him to climb a 15 degree incline — the steepest tightrope walk he has ever attempted.
But even those risks are not enough for Wallenda. When he takes his second tightrope walk of Sunday night, Nik Wallenda will be completely blindfolded.
“If I want to inspire others, I feel like I have to continue to push myself,” said Wallenda, a member of the seven-generation Flying Wallendas daredevil clan. “I thought a blindfold would be very exciting.”
When Wallenda walked across the Grand Canyon on a tightrope last year, the broadcast was the highest-rated event the Discovery Channel had ever shown, with 13 million TV viewers and two million live online streams.
If you want to watch Nik Wallenda attempt what could easily be the last tightrope walk of his life, you can watch legally and free, live online on the Discovery Channel’s Skyscraper Live site at this link.
The Nik Wallenda skyscraper walk starts at 7 p.m. Eastern time, which is 6 p.m. local time in Chicago — and 4 p.m. on the West Coast. Strictly speaking, the broadcast will not be “live,” but in fact will carry a 10-second delay from real time. Discovery Channel has promised that if disaster strikes Nik Wallenda, it will use those 10 seconds to cut away and avoid showing the daredevil plummet to his certain death.
Wallenda says that he had dedicated this walk to his grandfather, Karl Wallenda, who died when he attempted a similar skyscraper walk 36 years ago in Puerto Rico — and fell.
The longer leg of the two-part walk takes Wallenda from Chicago’s 50-story Marina Tower West to the Leo Burnett Building — on the other side of the Chicago River.
But don’t think that waking over water makes the stunt any less dangerous for Wallenda if he falls from his tightrope. If he should slip, Wallenda will fall for a full five seconds and hit the water at up to 120 miles per hour.
“At that height and that speed, there is significant impact and energy that is transmitted to all of the organs, to the heart and the liver and the spleen, and it just is not compatible with life,” Chicago emergency room doctor David Zich told the site DNAInfo. “The chance of him surviving, even hitting the water, is awfully small.”
Nik Wallenda has said that he will cancel the skyscraper walk if the weather brings lightening or icing on the steel wire, or if wind speeds reach 55 mph.