Extreme athlete Dean Potter dies in BASE jumping accident | High Sierra Topix  

Extreme athlete Dean Potter dies in BASE jumping accident

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Re: Extreme athlete Dean Potter dies in BASE jumping acciden

Postby rlown » Tue May 19, 2015 4:16 pm

From a recent article:

Their bodies were found in a notch they had already flown through about a dozen times, professional climber Alex Honnold said. No one knows exactly what went wrong. A gust of wind or a slight miscalculation could have sent them off course, hurtling into rock.


This would lead me to believe it was a wind miscalculation that caught them this time around.



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Re: Extreme athlete Dean Potter dies in BASE jumping acciden

Postby sparky » Tue May 19, 2015 9:44 pm

They didnt have a death wish...quite the opposite.
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Re: Extreme athlete Dean Potter dies in BASE jumping acciden

Postby LMBSGV » Tue May 19, 2015 10:42 pm

they had already flown through about a dozen times,


They had done this and the NPS knew it from the newspaper articles. Had they ever been cited and fined? Ever been told they would be banned from Yosemite because of their refusal to follow the regulations? Do famous Camp 4 climbers receive exemption from the rules the rest of us have to follow? The NPS needs to do a lot of soul searching about how they decide to enforce or not enforce the regulations.
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Re: Extreme athlete Dean Potter dies in BASE jumping acciden

Postby SSSdave » Tue May 19, 2015 11:37 pm

LMBSGV wrote:
they had already flown through about a dozen times,


They had done this and the NPS knew it from the newspaper articles. Had they ever been cited and fined? Ever been told they would be banned from Yosemite because of their refusal to follow the regulations? Do famous Camp 4 climbers receive exemption from the rules the rest of us have to follow? The NPS needs to do a lot of soul searching about how they decide to enforce or not enforce the regulations.


Expected someone would offer a response like yours. Yeah some of the Camp 4 enthusiasts have long earned a right to slide some while the rest of us (the lowest common denominator per policy) should not have. Of course those authorities in the park know things like this have been going on for years and much more and are happy to look the other way unless pushed by outsiders. And though they will enforce such policies they are likely happy to look the other way as long as professional level extreme athletes keep such goings on out of obvious daylight public sight and don't excite urban media by accidents and death. In other words extreme athletes ought to be allowed to take any such risks just as they always have. And that includes just as risky free climbing the immense valley walls without protection. On the other hand risky activities also need to be discouraged even to the point of making activities illegal so ordinary fools don't join those who can.
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Re: Extreme athlete Dean Potter dies in BASE jumping acciden

Postby gary c. » Wed May 20, 2015 12:35 am

I'm guessing that you guys didn't watch the Valley Uprising program. The last 30min of the show is about the climbers and free diving. The climbers no longer are allowed to live in camp 4 as in the past. They have taken to living in the rocks and boulders around the valley edge. They all talked about rangers rousting them out of bed by flashlight and arresting them or ejecting from the park. When it came to the free divers both sides spoke about the ongoing game of cat and mouse to catch / arrest when they hit the valley floor. They talked about spotters on the program, they were there to watch for rangers and give an all clear before the jump. One of the climbers couldn't complain hard enough about the injustice of some rangers that chased a diver into a river and then felt it was the rangers fault that he drown trying to get away. I'm sure they turned their back to a certain extent but considering the lack of funding and that the rangers are still responsible for maintaining law and tourist in the rest of the valley it seemed like they were doing what they could for the most part. There are people out there that believe car racing and a lot of other sports are too dangerous and shouldn't be allowed. My thoughts on it are that if you get off coming that close to death be my guest. Just don't expect me to feel sorry for you or pay for it if something goes wrong. I'm betting neither of these guys would want me to. We are all going to die some day but nobody wants to go right now. I think that if someone had told them they were going to die that day and gave them choices on how they wouldn't have changed a thing.
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Re: Extreme athlete Dean Potter dies in BASE jumping acciden

Postby 87TT » Wed May 20, 2015 8:47 am

I guess because I don't like the law about campfires and have been having them my whole life, I should just go ahead and have them anywhere. After all I'm in my 60's and never had a problem. Just because I want to.
Oh, and I live in the mountains.
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Re: Extreme athlete Dean Potter dies in BASE jumping acciden

Postby zacjust32 » Wed May 20, 2015 8:57 am

There's a difference between building an illegal campfire that causes visual damage everyone can see and jumping off a rock putting only yourself in danger. With limited funding, what would you choose as a priority?
Hiker, adventurer, fabricator, tinkerer, theologian, and occasional student. http://www.zacjust.blogspot.com
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Re: Extreme athlete Dean Potter dies in BASE jumping acciden

Postby Jimr » Wed May 20, 2015 9:16 am

A prior boss of mine used to base jump in Yosemite in the 1970's. He said it was all a cat and mouse game. They'd have spotters on the ground as well. Not only to watch for those who enforce the rules, but also to help quickly wrap up and stow the evidence in bushes, then attempt to blend in with the crowd and disappear.

He had an 8 x 10 glossy of an impression in a grassy field (not Yosemite). It was oddly human shaped. For good reason.
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Re: Extreme athlete Dean Potter dies in BASE jumping acciden

Postby limpingcrab » Wed May 20, 2015 10:14 am

I hope people realize that not everyone does this kind of stuff for the attention. Graham Hunt, Dean's friend, doesn't even have any social media. He did this for fun, not fame.
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Re: Extreme athlete Dean Potter dies in BASE jumping acciden

Postby markskor » Wed May 20, 2015 10:24 am

A few thoughts -
Met Dean a few times in the Valley - a crazy mofo but personable, knowledgeable, intelligent, sarcastic, and just an intense individual...liked him immediately.

As long as wing suits are legal to purchase, and high walls are accessible, you are going to continue to see such activity. As long as the public continues to fixate on such extreme athletes and their adventures - free climbing (no pro), hang gliding, base jumping, free-fall steerable parachutes...as long as sponsors continue to lay out big bucks... all interesting exploits, publicly lauded as being "best of the best" athletes, using/ appearing prominently on such social media venues such as Adventure mags, Facebook, TV documentaries, etc, these flights of fancy in Yosemite will continue - someone will always be out there, pushing the envelope.

Instead of making things more difficult for these wing suit dare-devils, (forcing them to fly in failing light conditions - stealth - twilight) - instead, sanction the events - test/rank them as expert-capable, proven, make those who intend such feats pre-qualify before attempting to fly anything, and additionally all these wild individuals also should be forced to buy some sort of yearly insurance policy (high risk policy?) covering possible body recovery. Much like the hang glider Yosemite ranger who oversees all flights off Glacier Point - a thorough inspection process/ logs checked/ proficiency measured - make things hard but possible - legalize (and maybe even promote) these attempts. Much like today's climbers free soloing 5.14 routes and then becoming famous, appearing on TV afterwards...Yosemite has always been the mecca for big wall adventure...well-advertised as such, movies shown daily, gear sold, classes taught. Suggest being pragmatic not hypocritical on what is allowed.

There is no way of actually knowing, but doubtful there was any death wish here - just a wildman athlete searching for adrenalin...RIP.
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Re: Extreme athlete Dean Potter dies in BASE jumping acciden

Postby freestone » Wed May 20, 2015 11:40 am

I mean no disrespect to Mr Potter and to those who value their sport, but after seeing the images of him on the tight rope, past discussions about the valley bear problem, and personally experiencing the tourist crush and clownish behavior by more than just a few of the masses...Yosemite Valley has become quite the 3 ring circus, literally.
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Re: Extreme athlete Dean Potter dies in BASE jumping acciden

Postby LMBSGV » Wed May 20, 2015 2:14 pm

Thanks for the clarification on the rangers efforts to police the base jumpers. However, that only reinforces the argument for banning the repeat violators from the park. They are wasting the public’s money and the rangers’ time that could be better spent elsewhere.

Just because you declare yourself a professional extreme athlete does not entitle you special privileges to ignore the rules. To put it in Orwellian terms, are extreme athletes more equal than others? What other occupations are also entitled to ignore the rules? Do professional fisherman get to ignore catch limits and fishing season dates?

As for Marksor’s suggestion, it sounds good in theory but I don’t think the people who engage in this sort of thing would all be willing to comply. I agree with Freestone on the circus/amusement park atmosphere of Yosemite Valley. That’s why I haven’t been there in the summer since 1981.
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