Friday, June 15, 2012

Power Engineers has hand in epic stunt

Valley resident Peter Catchpole engineers cable for tightrope walk across Niagara Falls

Express Staff Writer

Hailey engineer Peter Catchpole stands in front of Niagara Falls. Catchpole designed the supports for acrobat Nik Wallenda’s tightrope walk across the famous falls.

When tightrope walker Nik Wallenda walks 1,800 feet on a cable across Niagara Falls tonight, June 15, he will trust his life to civil engineer Peter Catchpole, who works for Power Engineers in Hailey.

Wallenda is a seventh-generation member of the famed Flying Wallendas tightrope walking family. His walk, through potentially high winds above water, called for an innovative cable support system, designed by Catchpole.

Bellevue metal worker and designer Jason Georgiades was hired by Catchpole to manufacture pendulum anchors and tension dampeners to keep the cable stable during Walenda's walk across the falls.

Catchpole, a 63-year old civil engineer, usually engineers transmission cables that carry electricity, not people. But this isn't the first time he's been called in to do something unusual.

"I'm known in the office as the guy who does oddball stuff," said Catchpole in a telephone interview on Monday from Niagara Falls.

Several years ago, Catchpole designed a transmission line in British Columbia that spans a 4,000-foot-deep gorge in avalanche country. The transmission line, one of only two such lines in the world, has a 10-foot square helipad 500 feet above the ground for use by inspectors.

"That one was built in the middle of nowhere and we had a year and half to build it," Catchpole said. "This one [at Niagara Falls] is in a tourist mecca and we only have two and half days to build it. There are mothers with baby strollers looking up at us. We have to put it up at night."

The Niagara Falls walk, set for tonight at 8 p.m. Eastern Time, will be televised live on ABC. Wallenda will walk 1,800 feet from the U.S. shore to Canada above a nearly 200-foot drop.

Tony Evans:

About Comments

Comments with content that seeks to incite or inflame may be removed.

Comments that are in ALL CAPS may be removed.

Comments that are off-topic or that include profanity or personal attacks, libelous or other inappropriate material may be removed from the site. Entries that are unsigned or contain signatures by someone other than the actual author may be removed. We will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or any other policies governing this site. Use of this system denotes full acceptance of these conditions. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions. You are fully responsible for the content that you post.

The comments below are from the readers of and in no way represent the views of Express Publishing, Inc.

You may flag individual comments. You may also report an inappropriate or offensive comment by clicking here.

Flagging Comments: Flagging a comment tells a site administrator that a comment is inappropriate. You can find the flag option by pointing the mouse over the comment and clicking the 'Flag' link.

Flagging a comment is only counted once per person, and you won't need to do it multiple times.

Proper Flagging Guidelines: Every site has a different commenting policy - be sure to review the policy for this site before flagging comments. In general these types of comments should be flagged:

  • Spam
  • Ones violating this site's commenting policy
  • Clearly unrelated
  • Personal attacks on others
Comments should not be flagged for:
  • Disagreeing with the content
  • Being in a dispute with the commenter

Popular Comment Threads

 Local Weather 
Search archives:

Copyright © 2020 Express Publishing Inc.   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.