Safety Tether Isn't Niagara Tightrope Walker's Choice

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Nik Wallenda will attempt to be the first person since 1896 to cross Niagara Falls on a tightrope tonight—a feat that may seem insane, but is actually less daring than that of some daredevils who went before him. Look, no doubt Wallenda, a seventh generation daredevil, is about to attempt a stunt that's pretty much the worst thing for anyone with acrophobia and requires some superhuman bravery, but the The New York Times' Danny Hakim points out that Wallenda's predecessors were far crazier. They did things like carry people on their backs, wore blindfolds, or held peach baskets on their feet. Since this is 2012 and Wallenda can't be upstaged by people over a century ago, he's going to cross a more dangerous part of The Falls on two inches of wire. "His rope has been set right above the falls, which throw off enough spray to drench those on the shoreline. By comparison, walkers like Jean Francois Gravelet, better known as 'the Great Blondin,' walked across a tamer part of the gorge," writes Hakim

Wallenda, whose stunt will be broadcast on ABC's 20/20, will have to wear a tether, which is apparently a no-no for daredevils. "I’m wearing a tether because they’re [ABC] making me wear a tether," Wallenda said in a Los Angeles Times report. "I don’t trust it. It’s not the way my mind works." 

Umm, there's no shame in using a tether, we'd say. Especially when you look the thin line Wallenda will be walking on, via Danny Hakim's Twitter feed:

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.