Dean Potter Interview

Dean Potter photo: Jim Hurst
Dean Potter photo: Jim Hurst
Dean Potter is an easy guy to write about, for all the wrong reasons. Not ‘wrong’ because they’re uninteresting. Far from it. Just wrong because they only scratch the surface of the man. When you do things as extraordinarily as Dean does them, it’s easy to get pigeonholed: Dare devil. Adrenalin junkie. Wild man. None of these reflect the man I met in Telluride last May. A man more visibly centered and at peace with himself than most of the twitchy film goers whispering about him.

photo by Andy Anderson
photo by Andy Anderson
If you aren’t familiar with Dean Potter, the mythology goes roughly like this. He’s a rock climber of singular abilities, who made a name for himself in Yosemite free soloing the big walls without protection, and with the kind of unrestrained attack that set records and left jaws hanging. From a young age, he was haunted by dreams of free fall. An impending death from great heights. And he seems to have shaped his life to confound these visions. Which is your first clue that the mettle of this man lies far beneath his outer accomplishments. Whereas most of us run from our fears (or at least shuffle sheepishly away) Dean ran towards his. Full on.
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