Famed aerialist Nik Wallenda is about to embark on his most challenging feat tonight, walking across one of the globe’s most active volcanos.
Live on ABC, Wallenda will wire-walk over Nicaragua’s Masaya volcano — dubbed the “mouth of Hell” — which has erupted 13 times in the past 30 years.
“This is eighteen hundred feet high, about eighteen hundred feet across. So it’s higher and longer than my Grand Canyon walk,” the 41-year-old tells ABC Audio. For the record, his Grand Canyon walk was 1,400 feet wide and 1,500 feet high.
Besides tonight’s stunt being his biggest, it very well could be his most dangerous.
“It’s a wire walker’s worst nightmare,” he reveals. “I’ll be dealing with elements of wind. It is very windy in that area at times, which is a huge concern for any wire walker, of course, but also dealing with heat.”
In addition to facing whipping winds and boiling temperatures, the aerialist also faces an additional threat: heavy volcanic gasses.
“It can be blinding, where you can’t see, not because it burns your eyes, which it does,” explained Wallenda. “It’s a sulfuric gas — high CO2 level. So you can’t breathe very well.”
So, why even try this stunt at all when it seems like the entire deck of cards is stacked against him?
Besides holding up his family legacy, in which he is a seventh generation wire walker, the daredevil has a much simpler reason, “It’s my passion. It is truly what I love to do.”
Nik’s a descendant of The Flying Wallendas, a circus act that originated in 1922 and gained worldwide notoriety for performing a variety of highwire daredevil stunts without a safety net.
The live two-hour special, Volcano Live with Nik Wallenda, will air at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.
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