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Weather smiles on Nik Wallenda crossing


Staff writers
June 18, 2012 — Aside from wind and mist, the weather was mostly benign as the 33-year-old daredevil made his high-wire crossing of Niagara Falls.


Nik Wallenda walked the 500-metre crossing in less than half an hour.
Nik Wallenda walked the 500-metre crossing in less than half an hour.

Well, he made it.

Nik Wallenda became the first person to walk across Niagara Falls -- and into the record books -- on a tightrope, taking less than half an hour to make the 500-metre crossing.

But even though the weather was mostly benign, the 33-year-old daredevil says it wasn't quite a cakewalk.

"The wind was definitely something you could not train for," he said after he'd made it to the Canadian side. "It was coming from every which way, but you know what? I made it through it."

Wallenda was tethered to the thick rope with a harness, and one of the weather fears surrounding the stunt was whether the thick columns of mist surrounding the falls could cause problems, potentially making the line slick.

It didn't seem to slow down Wallenda, who even picked up the pace as he neared the end, but he said the mist posed another hazard.

"The mist was powerful, you know, the mist was in my eyes," he said. "There were a couple of times where I had to blink so that I could see."

Other than that, the weather mostly smiled on Wallenda. 

Rain could have caused the wire to be even more slippery and reduce visibility.

Wallenda was in good spirits as he reached the Canadian side.
Wallenda was in good spirits as he reached the Canadian side.

And if there had been any lightning, Wallenda may have had to put off the walk altogether.

But on Friday night, Weather Network meteorologist Dayna Vettese, who was there with reporter Natalie Thomas, said the weather was almost perfect.

"The only thing that could have made it more perfect was maybe no wind at all," she said. "But really, we weren't dealing with much. We had clear skies, gentle winds, the temperatures were good, so I don't think we could have asked for better weather."

Vettese said although the winds on land were light, they would have seemed stronger up above the falls as there were no mitigating factors.

Wallenda himself was in good spirits as he made it to the Canadian side, pumping a triumphant fist at the thousands of onlookers awaiting him.

Customs officers were there to greet him as he dismounted. The American carried his passport in a waterproof bag.

The seventh-generation daredevil says he walked the falls in honour of his grandfather, who lost his life performing a stunt.

He says his own next stunt will be a high-wire crossing of the Grand Canyon.

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