High-wire walker Wallenda thrills National Harbor audience

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — A daredevil known around the world for his thrilling high-wire walks took his act to Maryland’s National Harbor Wednesday, crossing between two buildings on a cable only as wide as a nickel.

“I’m risking my life,” Nik Wallenda said as he talked about his routine.

“Whether it’s 70 feet or 7,000 feet above the ground, the dangers are the same,” he said. “I’m an entertainer. That’s what I do.”

During Wallenda’s walk, which lasted roughly 10 minutes, he took a knee, moved backward, waved to the crowd and even feigned a little slip at the end.

He was 75 feet in the air with no tether, harness or safety net.

“It was amazing,” said Erin Adams, the general manager at AC Hotel National Harbor.

Adams watched from the eighth floor of the hotel with a group of people who recorded the event with their phones.

“It made me nervous to see him doing it,” said Adams. “I can’t believe he didn’t have a net.”

Using a balance bar, Wallenda walked 230 feet under cloudy skies with the Capital Wheel and the Potomac River in the background.

Nik Wallenda did it again: The high-wire entertainer walked on a wire 75 feet up and as wide as a nickel at National Harbor. (WTOP/Nick Iannelli)
Nik Wallenda did it again: The high-wire entertainer walked on a wire 75 feet up and as wide as a nickel at National Harbor. (WTOP/Nick Iannelli)

Wallenda admitted that he faked a slip at the end to give the crowd a shiver. (WTOP/Nick Iannelli)
Wallenda admitted that he faked a slip at the end to give the crowd a shiver. (WTOP/Nick Iannelli)

The wire was 75 feet up and the width of a nickel. Wallenda will be at the Big Apple Circus at National Harbor starting in March. (WTOP/Nick Iannelli)

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Nik Wallenda did it again: The high-wire entertainer walked on a wire 75 feet up and as wide as a nickel at National Harbor. (WTOP/Nick Iannelli)
Wallenda admitted that he faked a slip at the end to give the crowd a shiver. (WTOP/Nick Iannelli)

“The weather was just perfect,” said Wallenda, who added that he was “pleasantly surprised at how stable the cable was.”

The crowd below cheered him on.

“I’ve only gotten to see something like this in movies,” said Anna Morataya.

Although he has a lot of experience on the wire, Wallenda does not like to ponder previous stunts.

“I try not to compare the walks,” he said. “I respect them all the same. The truth is: if I slip, I lose my life. If you become complacent, it becomes deadly, so I try never to become complacent.”

In 2012, Wallenda walked 1,800 feet across Niagara Falls in swirling winds and misty conditions. A year later, he did a Grand Canyon walk near Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona.

Wallenda will be at National Harbor with the Big Apple Circus, which runs from March 8 to April 1.

Nick Iannelli

Nick Iannelli can be heard covering developing and breaking news stories on WTOP.

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