Thursday, May 21, 2015

Outside Profiles Graham Hunt - Dean Potter's BASE Jump Partner

The headlines this week have been filled with stories about Dean Potter, the climbing legend who lost his life in a fatal wingsuit accident in Yosemite National Park last Saturday. A number of those stories offered only a passing mention of Graham Hunt, Potter's companion on the ill-fated BASE jump. But Outside Online looks to rectify that by posting an article that profiles the Other Man in this tragic story.

The 29-year old Hunt is described as someone who was known within the BASE jumping community, but not so much outside of it. He had very little online presence, and did almost nothing to promote the dangerous stunts that he was gaining a reputation for. That meant that when news of his death broke, there was little information that would come up in a Google search. That helped the narrative of the story to become "Dean Potter died, and there was someone else with him."

But Outside says that those who knew Hunt well describe him as a man who had a lot of confidence in his own skills, which were considerable to say the least. He was known for being incredibly calm and reliable on the walls, and someone that other climbers wanted to have with them, particularly in Yosemite. That probably shouldn't come as a surprise considering he was climbing and jumping with Potter, who was known to be selective of the company he kept on his own adventures. The pair made an epic jump of the Eiger back in 2013, although Dean was the one who made headlines, while his partner remained characteristically in the background.


Through quotes from friends and snippets of news on Graham, the Outside profile gives us a better understanding of who the "other guy" truly was. By all accounts, he was an excellent climber and BASE jumper himself, but perhaps even more so he was a good person and friend. His death hasn't gotten nearly the same attention as Potter's, but from the sounds of things, that is exactly how he would have wanted it.

Meanwhile, Outside is also reporting that video footage from Potter's GoPro camera has been recovered as well. It likely holds some clues as to what went wrong on this flight, and what ultimately cost the two men their lives. Preliminary reports say that Hunt may have hit a rocky outcropping and that Dean swerved out of the way to avoid a collision, only to hit another rock on the other side. The two men were jumping from Taft Point in Yosemite and were attempting to navigate through a narrow slot in the rocks when the accident occurred. It now seems likely that they both hit part of the rock face, causing them to crash to the valley floor below.

Obviously  the investigation is ongoing at this time, and more details are likely to be known in the future.

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