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Controversial BASE Jumper Dean Potter Dies in Yosemite

Controversial BASE Jumper Dean Potter Dies in Yosemite

One of the two people found dead on Sunday in Yosemite National Park was identified as extreme athlete Dean Potter, best known for bold climbs and BASE jumps. Potter, together with another man, attempted a wingsuit flight, but it proved to be fatal. Potter, who was 42, and Graham Hunt, 29, jumped from the 2,300-meter Taft Point promontory.

When search and rescue teams were prompted about Potter and Hunt missing, they immediately started to search for them but could not find them overnight. The next morning two bodies were spotted in the Yosemite Valley, with no deployed parachutes. Media report that BASE jumping, or parachuting from a cliff, is illegal in Yosemite.

Potter was prominent among the climbing community for performing difficult climbing and jumping missions without any safety gear. He was also faced with criticism regarding his risk-taking, most notably in 2006 when Patagonia dropped a sponsorship contract with him because he climbed Delicate Arch in Utah in a “free solo” manner.

Yosemite National Park ranger Scott Gediman said that the Yosemite climbing community is shocked. "This is a horrible incident, and our deepest sympathies go out to their friends and family," Gediman said. "This is a huge loss for all of us."

Photo attribution: Instagram