Dean Potter is characterized by creativity, commitment and challenge. He started climbing as a child, with a free solo fall from a stone wall as one of his earliest memories. Since that time, he has speed soloed Half Dome and El Capitan, Cerro Torre, and Fitzroy. He was the first to make a one-day free ascent of El Cap and Half Dome, and a one-day speed linkup of both of those big walls and Mount Watkins, Yosemites third Grade VI wall. He has also established testpiece crack routes in the Utah desert and highball boulder problems in Yosemite. For more on Dean visit prAna.com
Dean has walked the longest highlines, often without a safety leash, though he has dedicated over a decade of engineering and testing to create the safest highline systems currently used. Most recently, he has combined BASE jumping skill with highlining and free soloing, using a specially engineered ultralight BASE rig as his backup system.
Dean currently bases out of Yosemite, where he can usually be found on a large piece of granite.
The Le Conte boulder, also known as the House Keeping boulder, is in Yosemite Valley, California. For more than a decade, I'd been trying to figure out the proudest, tallest line on the block, with no luck.
One day, I was playing with my sister Jenny's kids, Cyrus and Dahlia, in the forest amongst the rocks. They were acting all whacky, wild and uninhibited, jumping and bouncing around from rock to rock and scampering up trees. I had been trying this sick line on the boulder but never figured out the crux move in all the years before. Somehow the kids, 'anything is possible' energy drifted into me. I stood before the starting bucket giggling. I was loose and moved my body in a different way than ever before. To my amazement, I stuck the crux with my nine-year-old nephew and my 7-year-old niece spotting me. I jumped down, careful not to squish them and finally believed I would send this lifetime project within my next few efforts.
King Air is one of the most obvious boulder problems around. For years I tried the problem alone, somehow keeping it completely secret. My bro, Ivo Ninov and I worked on it together. We kept our efforts stealth by washing off the chalk with water before leaving for the night. For years, I doubt anyone else ever seriously looked at the bold line as it was too high and there wasn't any chalk to lead them. Ivos enthusiasm literally lifted me higher and higher. On every serious attempt he spotted me, making sure that at least I wouldn’t split my melon.
This is the proudest highball boulder problem I know of in the Valley. The business scales over 30 feet to the final bucket. Its on the verge of being a free solo. When I fell my feet traveled 20 feet before impacting the pads. I was lucky not to shatter bones. My quads were very sore and I limped around for the next few days. King Air is the most beautiful boulder problem Ive ever done. You would be hard pressed to find any line, more aesthetic.
The famous North Face of the Eiger is revered among climbers, not only for the quality of its rock but also for its intimidating dimensions and technical challenges. This lethal exposure has tested the limits of climbing for the past century. Now, climbing pioneer Dean Potter pushes another boundary for himself and the Eiger by scaling the North Face with no rope, just a backpack containing a carefully folded parachute. “Adrenaline makes me feel calm,” says Potter in this film that is part of the First Ascent series by Sender Films.