The Story Behind The Two BASE Jumpers Who Died
On Saturday, May 16 two climbers died in a wingsuit-flying accident in Yosemite National Park. Dean Potter, 43, has been widely recognized for his brave accomplishments and extreme sports expertise. The other climber, Graham Hunt, 29, is less well-known, but just as noteworthy.
Potter and Hunt were attempting to jump from Taft point, at 3,500 feet. It is important to note that BASE jumping, which stands for building, antenna, span, and earth, is illegal in Yosemite National Park. Potter’s helmet camera captured their deadly jump, revealing that the two died almost instantly. When the helicopters spotted their bodies, they were located fifty yards apart. Potter’s girlfriend shot video of the jump and reportedly heard two impact sounds.
Potter had already been leaving an impressive legacy with his frequent highlining, free-BASEing, BASE jumping and wingsuit flying. He will always be honored as a legend for future climbers and jumpers to come. Hunt, on the other hand, was not as well known outside of his close-knit group of Yosemite dwellers. He had been consistent with his outdoorsy, escapist nature by leaving hardly any digital footprint. In order to properly pay tribute to our beloved Potter, we cannot forget to honor Hunt as well.
According to Outside Online, Hunt was known for his “soulful, unshakeable competence and confidence, for being reliably reliable when situations got tricky in the mountains.” In his early twenties he quickly moved from climbing gyms in Sacramento to the historic walls of Yosemite. With 5.12 first ascents in his back pocket, he was undoubtedly headed toward record-breaking greatness. As his career developed, he got serious about jumping and wingsuit flying. Shawn Reeder, a photographer and climber, labeled Hunt as one of the best wingsuit flyers in the world.
Potter was also popular for bringing his dog, Whisper, with him on these extreme adventures. According to CNN, “Potter said he was driven to attempt such jaw-dropping feats by a desire to overcome a childhood fear of falling to his death.” Potter even studied avian aerodynamics and aerospace technology to better control this fear. His ultimate goal was to learn how to safely land the human body unaided.
When it comes to these extreme sports, one millisecond of indecisiveness can lead to a fatal tragedy. As we remember Potter and Hunt, two of the most talented BASE jumpers in the world, we must also remind ourselves just how precious life is. At the same time, we are grateful for their infinite inspiration to live life to the fullest and overcome those fears that immobilize us.
Kate Wilke is the content manager at 301brands, and she's the editor of DailyBeautyHack.com, and the lifestyle editor at OhMyVeggies.com. When she's not paddle boarding or skiing, she's informing someone about global warming (or cats) over a local double IPA. Follow her on Instagram — @kateewilke