Wallenda walks tightrope high over Ariz. gorge
In this photo provided by the Discovery Channel, aerialist Nik Wallenda walks a 2-inch-thick steel cable taking him a quarter mile over the Little Colorado River Gorge, Ariz. on Sunday, June 23, 2013. The daredevil successfully traversed the tightrope strung 1,500 feet above the chasm near the Grand Canyon in just more than 22 minutes, pausing and crouching twice as winds whipped around him and the cable swayed. (AP Photos/Discovery Channel, Tiffany Brown)
LITTLE COLORADO RIVER GORGE, Ariz. (AP) — Nik Wallenda studied the plunging walls of the Little Colorado River Gorge before stepping out on a quarter-mile tightrope cable. "Whoo! That's an amazing view."
With that observation, the well-known aerialist embarked Sunday afternoon on a walk without a safety net or harness, 1,500 feet above the Little Colorado River Gorge in northeastern Arizona.
The successful, 22-minute walk on the 2-inch thick cable was monitored by people around the world via television and computer screens during a broadcast of Wallenda's most ambitious stunt yet.
Daredevil Nik Wallenda crosses a tightrope 1,500 feet above the Little Colorado River Gorge, Ariz., on Sunday, June 23, 2013, on the Navajo Nation outside the boundaries of Grand Canyon National Park. Wallenda completed the tightrope walk that took him a quarter mile across the gorge in just more than 22 minutes. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
They watched as the winds tested the Florida daredevil, and listened as he called on God to calm the swaying cable and as he paid homage to his famed great-grandfather. The stunt was the leading trending topic on Twitter on Sunday afternoon.
"It was unbelievable," he told reporters later. "It was everything I wanted it to be. It was extremely emotional. I got to the other end and started crying."
Hundreds of people watched from the remote site on the Navajo Nation in northeastern Arizona that led them past roadside vendors selling traditional jewelry and about a dozen protesters who consider the area sacred.
Daredevil Nik Wallenda smiles during a news conference after crossing a tightrope 1,500 feet above the Little Colorado River Gorge Sunday, June 23, 2013, on the Navajo reservation outside the boundaries of Grand Canyon National Park. Wallenda completed the tightrope walk that took him a quarter mile across the gorge in just more than 22 minutes. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
During his walk on the 2-inch-thick steel cable above the dry river bed near the Grand Canyon, Wallenda paused and crouched twice as winds whipped around him and the rope swayed. Gusts had been expected to be around 30 mph. He said they sent dust flying into his eyes.