Dean Potter: Five Short Climbing Films

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1981

5/19/15 - Dean Potter, who died Saturday in a wingsuit flying accident, mastered many of what he called the "outdoor arts," including slackline, BASE jumping, and wingsuit flying. But he started as a climber, and he achieved the highest levels in many sub-disciplines of our sport: crack climbing, free soloing, speed climbing, alpine climbing, and massive endurance link-ups.

In this collection of short films, we celebrate Dean's mastery of rock climbing. The first clip, from Prana and Reel Rock, shows Dean and his late climbing partner Sean Leary preparing to break the speed record on the Nose of El Capitan. In words that could encapsulate Dean's philosophy about the outdoor arts, he says, "I don't want to die, but I am OK with putting it all out there for the most beautiful expression of my life."

This clip from First Ascent (Sender Films) shows Dean's attempts on the Tombstone, a stunning and run-out corner climb outside of Moab, Utah.

In 2006, Dean made the first free solo of Heaven (5.12d/5.13a) in Yosemite Valley. This footage from Brad Lynch and Eric Perlman captures the discipline and raw emotion of the feat.

This clip from Outside Television and Sender Films explores Dean's practice of FreeBASE, his radical invention of free soloing with a parachute.

Dean thought deeply about the consequences of his sports, and in this poignant film from Prana he talks about how risk has affected his life. "With the idea of death being so close, I live life as well as I can. To be as good a person as I can. To treat the people around me with as much love as I can pour into them."