Niagara Falls: the waterfall everyone knows, the waterfall that has 20 million visitors a year; the waterfall that’s been climbed by one man, Will Gadd.
“It’s a harsh environment and an intense challenge to stay attached to the wall, let alone climb it.”
Only 14 people had previously attempted to go over the waterfall, of which sadly, five passed away. But Gadd was different, as the daredevil managed to be the first person to climb up it in 2015. The Canadian managed the feat as an area with a height of 46 by nine metres froze over.
Gadd has to be regarded as the greatest extreme sport athlete; he’s won three gold medals in ice climbing at the X Games, and was named National Geographic Adventurer of the Year.
It took him a whole year to get permission to climb Niagara Falls due to its protection by environment agencies. Following the difficultly with the appropriate bureaucratic agencies, Red Bull filmed the climb in private.
How Gadd and his assistant, Sarah Hueniken, reached the initial area to start the climb required traversing across a spot on the Falls known as ‘the cauldron of doom’. If that wasn’t enough to put the pair off, then perhaps the 150,000 tons of water, travelling at a speed of 62mph flowing over the main crest would be.
But, if the bureaucratic red tape wasn’t going to stop them, then the natural elements definitely weren’t.
“It vibrates your intestines and makes you feel very, very small. I’ve never experienced anything like it.”
As the waterfall is so protected, the ice climber had to leave the Falls in the exact condition he left them in. This meant no bolts could be inserted for the climb, which would have been able to harness the climber with ropes; it was him, his ice axes and crampons.
“No bolts. There won’t be one thing left in the ice that wasn’t there to begin with, and that’s the best possible way to do it.”
He remains to only man to climb the falls, and also the man to climb the highest point of mount Kilimanjaro at 5,895 meters.
Gadd truly is the greatest extreme sports athlete.