TODAY   |  June 21, 2013

Wallenda shows wire he’ll use to cross canyon

Daredevil Nik Wallenda shows TODAY’s Natalie Morales and Willie Geist a sample of the thick, metallic wire that will be the only thing keeping him from falling into the Grand Canyon Sunday night and reveals some of his rope-walking strategies.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> we're back on this friday. just two days before one of the biggest nail biting events ever to be carried live on television.

>> that's right, nik wallenda attempting to cross the grand canyon on a tight rope. natalie and willie are there with nick to find out if they have what it takes. guys, i doubt it.

>> no, no. there's no question about that. we are joined by the man of the hour, nik wallenda , 34 years old attempting to become the first man ever to cross the grand canyon on a wire. we have both been struck by how supremely confident you are. you walked up here this morning.

>> like nothing.

>> you had a giant fight on yours face.

>> this is my playground. it's a dream come true. my family has been doing this for over 200 years and i'm carrying on a legacy. what better way to do it. and again this truly is my playground. this is a dream come true. hard for you to imagine but my great grandfather said life is on the wire and everything else is just waiting.

>> your great grandfather lost his life on the wire at 73 years old. how much does that stay with you.

>> it inspires me to be honest more than anything. we know the reasons why he lost his life and i'm not in that situation. i have trained for this distance. i have trained for holding on to that cable if there's an emergency. trained for the worst cases. winds of 91 miles per hour. and we'll cutoff before it gets to 91 miles per hour.

>> but you say you can hold on to the cable .

>> if there's a problem i'll go down to the cable and hold on. there's helicopters standing by. they can be with me 30 to 60 seconds . when it's your life you can hold on for a long time.

>> one of the things we haven't talked about is the heat that could be in the steel cable . temperatures of 90 to 95 degrees. the cable could have upwards of 110 and 120 degrees.

>> that was part of my training in florida, in sarasota was the fact that it was 101 heat index the too day and it was a good time. to the hand it was hot but that's where my wire shoes become so key. they're actually suede leather or elk skin bottom. i'll also wearing a pair of shots. so the heat isn't overbaring. the top of my feet were hotter than the bottom.

>> you started walking a wire when you were about two years old.

>> about this height.

>> which we have no ability as we have already kind of been showing this morning.

>> this is a massive wire.

>> willie is actually in front of me.

>> he volunteered to help out, to test it for you.

>> test the winds and all of that stuff.

>> what tips would you give us as they attempt this again.

>> the big thing about learning to walk a wire is being extremely focused in practice.

>> willie you're a pro.

>> i am.

>> i spent three to four hours a day, five days a week for 32 years of my 34 years on a wire. a lot of focus. but when i'm walking across i'll be focussing in front of me and because it's such a long spans.

>> nicely done.

>> he's leading the way.

>> he could help you.

>> because it's so long, i'll actually look about halfway across and change my focal point.

>> and the wife is live the whole time. it's constantly moving.

>> you're right. it has a life of it's own. as i walk it's important that i change my rhythms because i can build a frequency into this cable that will become larger and larger. have to slow down and speed up and adjust my step sizes which is a key reason why my father is in my ear as well. he'll say nick, slow down. my uncle will be on one side and have his hand on that cable and someone else will have their hand on the cable . they act as a shock absorber . it will take a lot of the shock out as well. a lot of it is peace of mind as well.

>> we'll talk to your uncle and father coming up this hour.

>> nik wallenda . the discovery special is live sunday 8:00 p.m . eastern, 5:00 pacific.