On August 6, Potter free-soloed the gently overhanging limestone route wearing a five pound BASE jumping rig on his back. He traversed into the climb along a natural ledge that comes off the northwest arête of The Eiger and soloed the final 600 foot headwall with 7b+ (5.12+) crux moves at the top of the formation. Dean opted to bypass the lower pitches because they feature loose rock and, should a fall occur, there would not be time to deploy the BASE chute before encountering a 50-foot ledge that protrudes from the bottom of the climb. Below the ledge, the wall falls away for an additional 2,000 feet, leaving open the option of a 15 second flight from higher on the wall.
Approximate line of Deep Blue Sea.
Dean's climb was filmed by cinematographer Jim Hurst and photographer/mountain guide Beat Kammerlander. The footage will be featured in the upcoming Sender Films release The Sharp End, and as a feature segment on Jeep's World of Adventure Sports airing October 11, 2008 on NBC.
It may be the first time anyone has set out to free solo a route at the edge of their ability with only a B.A.S.E. parachute.
Earlier this year Dean Potter made the first Base Line, walking a slackline without a tether with a BASE-jumping parachute as backup, at Hell Roaring Canyon, near Moab.
You can watch Dean Base Lining in this video at nytimes.com.