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Why late base jumper Dean Potter lived to risk his life

On the heels of Dean Potter's death, filmmaker Nick Rosen reflects on the extreme athlete's life and the culture of extreme sports.
Extreme athlete Dean Potter stands in front of El Capitan in Yosemite park after a speed climbing attempt in 2010. (Tomas Ovalle/The Associated Press)

Most people's worst nightmares were Dean Potter's wildest dreams.

The extreme athlete climbed to dizzying heights, walked slack lines between mountains, and jumped between buildings and cliffs wearing a winged suit to maneuver the flight. 

But Potter's streak of record-breaking feats came to a devastating close last weekend. Both he and a friend died after attempting a wingsuit flight from a 7,500-foot peak in the Yosemite Valley.

On the heels of this sad news, filmmaker Nick Rosen joins Friday guest host Gill Deacon to discuss Potter's life, the culture of extreme sports and how the community absorbs deaths like Potter's. 

WEB EXTRA | Last year, Rosen's documentary Valley Uprising — which featured some of Potter's jumps — won top prize at the Banff Mountain Film Festival. Watch the trailer below. 

Potter was also the central character in When Dogs Fly, a film about his flights with his faithful dog. 

American climber Dean Potter walks barefooted on a rope which is connected between two mountain peaks in Enshi, Hubei province in April 2012. Dean succeeded in crossing a valley by walking on a 41-metre long rope without any safety equipment between the two mountain peaks which are about 1800 metres above sea level in Enshi Canyon, China. (Reuters)

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