Slackliner crosses canyon at 1,800m

Extreme video of American daredevil in China has been a hit

Part of taking a gap year is about stepping out of your comfort zone. For most backpackers a bungee jump or skydive is as extreme as it gets, but for one adrenaline junkie the idea of a safety net - or safety in general - is not an option. 

Dean Potter, an extreme sport enthusiast, has whipped the online stunt video-loving community into a frenzy with his exploits in China. The 40-year-old has been filmed crossing 40m of the Enshi Grand Canyon in China 1,800m above sea level. 

Potter, seen using a slackline rope only two centimetres thick, manages to cross the distance in about two minutes. 

A slackline is considered by many to be more challenging than a tightrope, as the line is not taut. This means the rope moves more and is harder to balance upon. 

Amazed by Potter's demonstration of fearlessness, media organisations around the world have scrambled to find more stories of his death-defying exploits.

It has been reported that Potter set a world record for base jumping in 2009 by leaping off a Swiss mountain in the Bernese Alps. It has also been reported that Potter is an accomplished rock climber, and has taken on some of the world's toughest rock faces without ropes or a harness. 

Reaction to the American adventurer's slackline hijinks in China has been mixed on social media. One YouTube viewer commented: "Unbelievable. This guy is not only amazing but also a complete lunatic."

Feedback on Twitter has been similarly varied, with posters split between disapproval and admiration. Dez Daniels tweeted to future video watchers: "Get ready to gasp yourself stupid."

Twitter user Dan Pacifico remarked: "At least we know how Dean Potter is going to die."

Watch the video of Dean Potter's slackline walking below and make up your own mind. It's in Chinese, which adds an extra dimension to the surreal spectacle. 

What do you think? Is he a maverick hero living the dream or an idiot risking his life for nothing? 

Don't forget to check out our Adrenaline and Extreme stuff to do on your gap year.