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You've heard of the man on the flying trapeze, but what about the man crossing an erupting volcano on a high-wire?
On Wednesday night, Nik Wallenda set out to make history when the 41-year-old daredevil crossed an 1,800-foot one-inch-thick wire stretching across Nicaragua's active Masaya Volcano. After having conquered a Grand Canyon gorge, Niagara Falls, and two Chicago skyscrapers, Wallenda set himself his most difficult task yet.
The walk itself was full of breathtaking, hair-raising views of Wallenda on the wire, the daredevil a speck against the gaping mouth of the volcano. He struggled with heavy winds and noxious gases issuing from the volcano, swirling plumes of acidic volcanic gas that make it hard to breathe and see. Wallenda had to wear a gas mask to make the walk, despite wanting to forgo the safety measure because it blocks his peripheral vision (without it he could have run the risk of losing consciousness).
Though still a mammoth task, Wallenda seemed to tackle it with ease, praising God and shilling with quips about writing chapters of his book in his head (it's about overcoming fear, for those wondering) while he walked.
Wallenda told host Chris Harrison about the challenges of the walk while completing it, noting that the strong winds were like a “hurricane.” He explained, “The gases hit me hard, [and] eyes actually started to burn.”
Still, he did it high spirits — and in just over 31 minutes — joking to the commentators, “I’m just hoping to make it on SportsCenter’s top 10.”
ABC stretched the special into a two-hour event, bloating it to unnecessary lengths with over an hour of packages about Wallenda's past walks, the science and engineering behind the wire, and his family history (he is a seventh-generation member of the Flying Wallendas circus family).
They kicked things off with a special performance from Wallenda's wife, Erendira, who hung above the volcano on a hoop to deliver an aerial performance.
"To be honest, my career is not about topping myself," Wallenda previously told EW. "Everything I’ve done, the reality is, it’s just as risky. So to me, it’s more about parallels, and I have a long, long bucket list. The truth is, they’re life-and-death, whether I’m walking over an amusement park or walking over my swimming pool, depending on how high I am, or walking over an active volcano."
But after crossing an active volcano, if he does want to top himself, it will be quite the challenge.