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Rock Climber Free-Soloing a Big 5.12 in Yosemite

Dean Potter was one of the world's most cutting-edge climbers. At the time, this was the hardest free-solo ever done in Yosemite

Dean Potter died on May 16, 2015 in a wingsuit accident in Yosemite. For two decades he was the de facto leader of the Yosemite monkeys, and was a pioneer in what he called “the dark arts” – free-solo and speed climbing, BASE jumping and wingsuit flying, and highlining.

Potter combined his pursuits to conceive the idea of FreeBASE – free solo climbing up tall, overhanging walls, with a BASE jumping parachute on his back for a marginal degree of safety should he fall. One of the world’s first freeBASE climbs was this 2008 ascent of The Rostrum, with The Alien Roof finish at 5.12. At the time, it was the hardest long free-solo ever done in Yosemite.

This is a remastered and extended cut of Dean’s historic climb, which was originally featured in an episode of Reel Rocks’ “First Ascent” series. The last image Potter ever posted on social media was of his late dog Whisper.

Dean Potter on The Rostrum