Dogs Can Fly: Whisper Free Falls in 13,000 Foot Jump

Dogs can fly.

Well, at least one 4-year-old Australian cattle dog can.

Whisper apparently became the first "wingsuit BASE jumping dog" in the world, when the Queensland Heeler flew down the Eiger in Switzerland attached to her owner, Dean Potter, a self-described "climber, line walker and human-body-flyer."

Potter is a Yosemite National Park resident who runs a company called "Whisper Films." And in August 2013, he strapped on a GoPro camera to capture the dog-and-man jump off the 13,025-foot Eiger, a limestone buttress known in mountaineering as one of the six great north faces of the Alps.  

A 46-second video Potter posted on May 27 attracted more than 350,000 views by Thursday morning. Potter's Instagram account was hopping, too, with fans liking still images of Whisper being thrown up into the air and clinging to a mountaineering rope.

The YouTube clip shows the little gray dog with brown legs, who wore glasses and a blue cap while strapped to the backpack Potter wore during the free fall, sniffing the wind and looking around at the scenery on her way down to the ground. The end of the video shows him prancing, jumping and licking Potter's girlfriend, Jen Rapp.

In an interview Thursday from Yosemite, where he lives in a tepee on 32 acres of property near Glacier Point, Potter said Whisper loves the jumps. He believes his dog is the first to take part in jumps of this kind.

"Whisper does what she wants to do," he said, adding that she's afraid of vacuum cleaners, but apparently not of heights. "If she doesn't want to do something, she runs away. And she's faster than us."

Whisper, Potter said, sits on his wingsuit each time he pulls it out, as if she doesn't want him to jump without her. She's jumped about a dozen times, he said.

"And no, no animal rights activists have ever attacked us," he said.

In a National Geographic post last year, Potter wrote that he has spent more than 20 years ascending noteworthy big walls — without ropes — and is one of the pioneers of both slacklining and BASE jumping. He said he invented free BASE, a form of free solo climbing that uses a parachute for protection in 2008.

National Geographic wrote about Potter as the 2009 Adventurer of the Year.

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