Go Explore – Dean Potter
Dean Potter will forever be a legend. If anyone understood the risks associated with extreme sports, it was Dean. However, he pursued them anyway to find an inner peace, and deeper understanding of independence. His unfortunate and untimely death serves as a reminder of how precious and fragile life is. Thank you for everything you have done for the outdoor community. Your spirit lives on.
Photography by: Pablo Durana: ig @Pablo_Durana
Dean Potter was an amazing inspiration to many outdoor communities. He climbed, free soloed, BASE jumped, and even flew through the air using wing suits. He perfected his craft, and held an interesting perspective on the nature of this “sport,” or rather his spirituality.
After being encouraged not just to beat his competition, but to “own” them by his colligate rowing coach, Dean dropped out of college. He didn’t want to “own” another human being. This is where his serious pursuit of climbing began.
Dean grew up on an air force base. As early as the age of 4 he began climbing anything he could. Though doing so out of curiosity, and most likely lack of access to equipment, around the age of 14 he began free soloing cliffs on the base. Throughout high school Dean gained strength and endurance through weightlifting, and running. Here, a sense of independence was formed.
Over the next decade Dean spent time perfecting his craft. He studied traditional tightrope walkers and continued pursuing his love for adventure. While always heeding precaution, he never used traditional elements of protection. Dean began boldly free soloing and quickly speed-soloing mountains. In the process, he developed a new style, which is now known as “Gladiator Style.” Some of his most impressive accomplishments in which he used this style were on The Nose on El Capitan and Half Dome. Dean also free soloed the Californian Roulette, Fitzroy, and Super Canaletta.
In his descent of the Californian Roulette, he was hit by a falling rock and miraculously lived to tell the tale. This didn’t stop Dean from trying new, even more dangerous feats. He eventually learned how to skydive as well as BASE jump. These two acts fueled his fascination with emptiness and the void.
BASELine was then shortly invented by Dean. This involves soloing high-lines without any sort of ropes or securing devices. The only safety measure is a small parachute. He first executed this amazing technique in Moab, Utah.
Using this risky yet impressive method, Dean has freeBASED many mountains, including North Face. Dean currently holds the record for longest BASE jump.
Each of these amazing acts are not sport, but a form of spirituality for Dean. He was inspired to fly. But he does so in a manner that tries to eliminate human error and gear malfunctions.
Dean was misunderstood when his spirituality was considered sport. In his words: “These mountain arts bring me peace, and I play in the void and come closer to understanding interdependence. Death Consequence reduces lesser motivations to the necessity, breath.”
Photography by: Brett Schreck: ig @BrettSchreck
What I gained from researching Dean, and retelling his story is that he did not do any of these adventures for the fame, glory, or anyone besides himself. Dean connected and grounded himself though his experiences with the mountainscapes, flying, and the like. He truly did each of these things to feel peaceful and independent.
Prior to Dean’s tragic death his website posted that “Dean is studying avian aerodynamics and aerospace technology with hopes to reach his ultimate goal of safely flying and landing the unaided human body. Dean pushes himself at the highest level and fuels his creativity with filmmaking and writing about his unorthodox life,”
While most of us may never get out on a slack line or free fall through the sky, Dean’s story teaches us that we should have reverence for our own inner peace and seek to fulfill a void within. Whatever activity, act, or spiritual journey that may be the one for you, seek it out, perfect it, and take the time to know yourself. Dean’s true understanding for his craft, and inner being, inspired millions around the world. Today we hope that you are inspired to take time to explore what brings you peace and sets you free.
By: Molly Mastin
For more on Dean’s incredible story visit http://deanspotter.com/lifeline-2/
All photo’s were taken from Dean’s Instagram account: @Deanpotter