— -- Several people have survived plunges over Niagara Falls, but no one before Will Gadd has ever tried going in the opposite direction.
The professional climber, 47, scaled a frozen section of the waterfall Tuesday, clinging to a wall of solid ice. He was close enough to feel the spray of the pounding water feet away. Sarah Hueniken also participated in the climb.
Stunning video from the climb shows Gadd using two ice picks, along with strength and guile -- calculating every move, the terrain unsteady and unpredictable. During the climb, giant chunks of ice fell just past Gadd’s head, and 150,000 tons of water flowed next to him every minute, racing past at nearly 70 miles per hour.
“There’s nothing that feels better than climbing a blue icicle up into the sky,” said Gadd, who works with Red Bull. “I always feel like Jack and the Beanstalk. Definitely one of the highlights of my life, not just climbing career but life. You don’t get many of those.”
Lots of preparation went into the climb. He scouted the area months ago, long before the ice formed, and also worked with parks officials to receive the necessary permits.
“I’ve been lucky enough to climb all over the world. I got to climb ice on top of the roof of Africa, the highest point of Mount Kilimanjaro. But this climb was Niagara Falls. This is the coolest waterfall in the world,” Gadd said.
Gadd reached the top of the falls in about an hour.