I am fascinated by Dean Potter.
Not just because he excels at activities that I find interesting (…and a little terrifying) – such as free soloing, highlining, and base jumping – but because of his demeanor and openness about them. The thought process behind why he does these things, and how honest he is about them.
A new video sponsored by Prana, “Dean Potter: Falling to Fly” examines the origins of Potter’s compulsion with height orientated risk. The culprit? A recurring dream of flying and falling.
On its own, nothing ground breaking. We all have dreams involving flight, or sensations of falling, right? But Dean describes this as his earliest memory, and instead of converting it into a healthy fear of heights, or pushing it to the back of his subconscious and moving on, he has confronted the dream head on throughout his life.
By rock climbing, then again via high lining, he was able to flirt with the outcome of this dream and prove to himself he could overcome it. However, it wasn’t until Dean discovered Base Jumping, and later morphed it into what he calls “FreeBASE” – rock climbing without a rope, using only a parachute as protection – that he began to gain a new perspective on his dream. He no longer had to fight it, he now had a means to actually experience it.
As a rock climber, I’ve trained my whole life to hang on and not to let go. And then, miraculously, when I do – let go – this whole new world opens up.
I can’t figure out if this is a stand alone short video, or a teaser to a larger production… but I enjoyed it immensely. Not just for the “lump in throat” footage of Dean doing his thing, but for his commentary and insight into why he does it.