Final preparations under way for Wallenda canyon walk

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Posted: Sunday, June 23, 2013 5:45 pm | Updated: 10:31 pm, Sun Jun 23, 2013.

SARASOTA - A year ago, Sarasota's Nik Wallenda wowed the world when he became the first man to walk across Niagara Falls on a wire. In February, Nik walked 600 feet across U.S. 41 -- not in a crosswalk, but from 180 feet in the air. Sunday night, if all goes right, Wallenda will walk 1,400 feet on a wire spanning the grand canyon.

If something goes wrong, he could fall 1,500 feet to his death.

As with many of his feats, Nik blazes trails; but in this case, we mean that literally. They had to pave roads to get all the equipment needed to the remote part of the Grand Canyon in territory that belongs to the Navajo Indians.

Nik will cross the Little Colorado River Gorge at a foreboding place called "Hellhole Bend." It is there that crews have stretched a steel wire about 1,400 feet across the canyon. At two inches wide, it weighs about 8.5 tons. It's wider than ones Nik normally uses, to make it strong enough to stand the tension.

Because of the location, they don't have guy-wires holding the cable in place. And at 1,500 feet above the ground, this marks by far the highest wire walk that Nik has ever tried.

ABC 7's Lauren Dorsett is in Arizona to cover the walk and says that Nik is closely monitoring to the wind situation at the site, which has been gusty recently.


Skywire Live with Nik Wallenda airs Sunday night on Discovery Channel from 8pm until 10:20pm.

One thing that sets this stunt apart for Nik -- besides its magnitude -- is that few people will see it in person. The area of the canyon is so remote, there simply is no place for crowds to gather. The entire walk will air live on the Discovery Channel, but if you’d like watch it with a crowd, you can see it in downtown Sarasota. ABC 7 is hosting a street party with Mattison's City Grille on Main Street at Lemon Avenue from 7pm to 11pm.

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