Dean Potter was already a top badass in the rock climbing world, but was that enough for him? Uh, no. After expanding into BASEjumping and highlining, he decided to combine the two and pioneer BASElining, which basically entails walking across a slackline over a yawning canyon with nothing but a parachute for protection. If Potter falls during the attempt, he pops the chute and sails gently to the canyon floor (at least, that's the idea).
The New York Times ran a great article with an even better video about Potter's attempts to walk across 180 feet of slack line hanging 900 feet above a canyon near his Moab, UT home. While the article does a solid job of getting behind the eyes of a climber who really wants to fly, you can't truly understand the depths of Potter's genius/madness without watching the accompanying mini-movie. Potter sways and bounces fluidly atop the rope as his voice-over explains the adrenalin calm that enables him to balance both the mental and physical strain. When Potter defies logic, leaps out from the rope, and careens toward the canyon floor, it's electric. It makes me want to try it/never try it all at the same time.
Either way, I should probably learn how to cross the 4-foot slackline between my desk and the bathroom first. — Ted Alvarez