Nik Wallenda Preparing For Grand Canyon Tightrope Walk

Nathan Francis - Author

Sep. 16 2013, Updated 6:55 a.m. ET

Nik Wallenda traversed a soaking Niagara Falls by tightrope last year, but next week the daredevil will attempt something even bigger — the Grand Canyon.

Wallenda has been practicing in Sarasota, Florida for his planned walk across the Grand Canyon. In total, Wallenda will be walking a quarter mile on a steering cable with the Little Colorado River rushing 1,500 feet below him.

Unlike the Niagara Falls tightrope walk, where against his wishes Nik Wallenda had a safety harness, there will be no tethers or safety nets for the Grand Canyon walk.

“In the history of my family’s career, we’ve never worn a tether,” Wallenda said last year.

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Wallenda, who is a seventh-generation member of the famous “Flying Wallendas” family of acrobats, pulled off a first when he walked the length of Niagara Falls. The walk was challenging, as he traveled through blowing wind and mist that left him and the rope soaked.

The Grand Canyon will bring a different challenge. This walk will also have strong winds as well as temperatures that can reach into triple digits. Wallenda, who has tried to replicate the hot conditions by training in Florida, said the walk will likely take him between 20 and 30 minutes.

For Wallenda, the hardest part will be keeping concentration and not thinking about the 1,500 drop beneath him. Wallenda called the walk “extremely mentally draining” but said he achieves a deep focus on the event. As a man with a strong Christian faith, Wallenda said he prays to center himself and was heard praying as he crossed Niagara Falls last year.

Wallenda hasn’t scheduled much time off from his death defying stunts. Not long after crossing Niagara Falls last year, he traveled east and completed a tightrope walk over the Atlantic City Boardwalk.

Nik Wallenda will walk across the Grand Canyon on June 23. The even will be shown live on the Discovery Channel.


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