Dean Potter (USA)
DOB 14.04.1972 † 16.05.2015
Dean Potter who called himself outdoor ‘artist’ rather than athlete was a climber, line walker and human-body-flyer. Dean chased his dreams for over two decades and redefined the limits in his sports, pioneering the most significant technological and paradigm-shifting breakthroughs. On May 16, 2015 he died in a tragic wingsuit BASE-jumping accident in Yosemite National Park.
With hard work, artistry and innovation Dean Potter took each of his disciplines beyond convention to the realm of art. His vision and drive led to the creation of speed-solo ascents, as well as the invention of FreeBASE on the North Face, Eiger and BASEline: soloing without rope or tether and carrying only a small parachute as safety.
Also known for his mind-bending freesolos in Yosemite (Heaven 5.13a) and Argentina (California Roulette, first ascent, freesolo on Fitzroy, Patagonia), Dean repeatedly set records in wingsuit-BASE-jumping and numerous others for climbing and highlining.
While these achievements and records were what the media fixated on, Dean was often misunderstood when his spirituality was considered sport. He said: “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.”
Dean innovated a new wingsuit design with Tony Uragallo and was the first to BASE-jump larger wingsuits off cliffs. This advancement elevated him to being the best wingsuit flyer in the world. Since 2009, he continued to establish the longest jumps in distance and duration. In 2011, National Geographic spent a year filming Dean demonstrating his three arts and aired an hour-long TV documentary where he free soloed a new route on El Capitan, soloed his longest highline, and further innovated wingsuit design to fly a new world record.
In 2012, Dean walked his longest solo highline on Hunan TV from Enshi Provence in China. This feat illustrated Dean’s tried and true ability to perform on cue amid death-consequence on live TV for 300,000,000 viewers.
Fascinated with the lines between life and death, sanity and insanity, Dean was consumed with BASIC Safety – a calculated method of pursuing his 3-Arts, that attempts to eliminate human error and gear imperfection.
Dean Potter defined an era and was a huge influence on many outdoor athletes.
National Geographic Adventurer of the Year, 2009
Laureus Sports Award, 2003
Golden Piton, Climbing Magazine, 2002