Climbing Legend Dean Potter Dies at 43

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Photo by Reenan Oztkurk

Modern day climbing legend Dean Potter, 43, has died in a BASE jumping accident in Yosemite National Park. According to reports, the accident occurred on Saturday May 16 just after 7:30 p.m., when Potter and BASE jumping partner Graham Hunt donned wing suits and dove from the 7,500 foot Taft Point.

A search and rescue effort was initiated sometime after the jump when the pair’s spotter failed to connect with them. According to Outside Online, she heard sounds that could have resulted from either impact or parachute deployment, but was optimistic that Potter and Hunt might have been detained since BASE jumping is illegal in Yosemite National Park.

The initial effort was fruitless, but when searching resumed the next morning Yosemite search-and-rescue crews recovered the bodies of both Hunt and Potter. Neither of the men’s parachutes had been deployed.

Potter was known for his record setting speed climbs of El Capitan, BASE jumping stunts, and for breathing life into the sport of high-lining in the mid-2000s. He drew controversy in 2006 when he free soloed the iconic Delicate Arch in Utah’s Arches National Park (a climb that cost him his Patagonia sponsorship), and more recently, when he modified a wing suit to accommodate his Miniature Australian Cattle Dog Whisper.

Potter is survived  by Whisper and his girlfriend Jennifer Rapp.

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