He tackled Niagara Falls in 2012 and the Little Colorado River Gorge (outside the Grand Canyon National Park) in 2013. On Sunday night Sarasota’s own Nik Wallenda challenged the Windy City of Chicago and its looming skyscrapers on Discovery Channel’s “Skyscraper Live with Nik Wallenda.” His 2014 test was the first in an urban setting.
Thankfully both of his tightrope walks were shorter distances than his previous nature adventures. Crowds gathered inside buildings, where many were visibly seen in the Marina City Towers during his high wire passage, as well the Chicago River’s Wacker Drive below. It’s the second time the Discovery Channel has teamed up with Wallenda, a partnership that’s likely to last.
His first walk began from the Marina Tower West to the top of the Leo Burnett Building while crossing the Chicago River 500 feet below. It took less than seven minutes, six minutes and 52 minutes to be exact. During the last leg it consisted of a 15-degree incline starting at the Tower’s 588-feet to the Burnett Building’s 671 feet. He sauntered like it was a stroll in the park.
For the next feat Wallenda wore a blindfold between his cakewalk of the two circular towers. It was at a height of 94 feet that took less than a minute and a half, or one minute and 17 seconds. Both crossings were without the aid of a safety net or harness. Wind gushes were reported at 25 mph in the Windy City. Later on Nik Wallenda received certifications from the Guinness World Records.
What’s next for the daring young man on the tightrope? He still wants to take on New York City’s skyscrapers, but city officials are still reluctant at this point. Wallenda’s next adventure may be Georgia’s Tallulah Fall Gorge. This was the same locale where his great-grandfather mastered back in 1970.