Wallenda Cheats Death Over Chicago
He breaks two records with back-to-back wire walks
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 3, 2014 1:40 AM CST
This photo provided by Discovery Communications shows Nik Wallenda walking across the Chicago skyline blindfolded.   (AP Photo/Discovery Communications, Jean-Marc Giboux)
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(Newser) – With no harness or safety net, Nik Wallenda's only hope would have been to cling to a cable if things went wrong during either of two death-defying skyscraper walks in Chicago last night—but the daredevil managed to break two world records and survive to tell the tale. For the first feat, he walked at a record-breaking 19-degree uphill angle on a wire hundreds of feet above the ground, crossing the Chicago River from one skyscraper to another, the AP reports. For an encore, he completed a 94-foot walk between two skyscrapers blindfolded, making it across in just over a minute. At 543 feet from the ground, it was a record height for a blindfolded walk.

Wallenda performed the stunts without safety equipment after city officials decided that the relevant safety laws didn't apply to "elite" performers, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. Afterward, he called the steeper-than-expected 19-degree incline on the first walk "doggone intimidating" and said strong winds caused him to abandon plans to pause and take a selfie halfway across, reports the Chicago Tribune. The walks were aired live on the Discovery Channel, with a 10-second delay in case of a mishap. For his next stunt, Wallenda says he wants to re-create his late great-grandfather's 1,200-foot walk across Georgia's Tallulah Gorge—complete with headstands.