Page 8 - Wire Rope News & Sling Technology - April 2020
P. 8

Nik Wallenda’s Walk

             Above Earth’s Most Extreme Environment

                                                 by Peter Hildebrandt
         The Masaya volcano’s lava lake glows scarlet beneath Nik Wallenda’s wife, Erendira
         Wallenda. She hangs from a large ring attached to a wire above, by her toes on a
         smaller ring. Then she puts an attachment into her mouth and hangs by nothing
         but her teeth. It goes without saying that she has complete faith in the strength
         and construction of the wire rope making it all possible.
         Until the point when she dangles by her teeth, mouth and nose are masked to
         filter out toxic, noxious, irritating sulfurous rising up from below. When the mask
         comes off to enable this challenge, the toxic fog from below shocks her.

              panish  explorers  called this  Ni-  while a safety cable is strapped to his   wires  on  two  sides  secure  his  main
              caraguan volcano the “Mouth of   back, held in place by a backup cable   crossing cable in place.
         SHell”; this, something no doubt   over his head. All of this stands some   Hydrogen  chloride,  hydrogen  sulfide,
         believed literally. One of the biggest   1,800 feet above Masaya’s 2,000°F lava   and other noxious fume add to the winds
         problems encountered  are  the  toxic   lake. As Wallenda passes through the   blowing at the volcanic pit. One fourth
         fumes, the necessity of a face mask.   sulfuric fog, another camera is able to   of the way across, there is a 60 foot drop
         Wallenda watches the wire carefully   make out his form with a negative im-  due to the angle of the wire as it travers-
         for how  it vibrates. “This volcano is   age. Getting out further above the cal-  es the space. Wallenda descends, walk-
         mesmerizing,” he says while crossing.   dera the wind picks up, Nik sways from   ing  with  a  clear  rhythm  all  the  while
           Drones  photograph Nik  from  above   side to side. Thinner lateral suspender        continued on page 10

         Nik Wallenda walks a high wire over the active Masaya Volcano in Nicaragua, right after his wife, Erendira hung by her teeth. The wire rope was
         1,800 feet long, and 1,800 feet above the 1800 degree lava (though it is much hotter in some areas). Photo © Tim Boyles/Alamy Live News
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