Living on the Edge

On a special episode of In Depth, we feature some of the world’s acclaimed thrill-seekers. From free solo climber Alex Honnold to big wave surfer Laird Hamilton, guests recall their most extreme stunts and adventures while explaining the mentality needed to live life on the edge.

Living on the Edge


Alex Honnold: I visualize my death to stay alive

Alex Honnold on how he prepares for a free solo mountain climb by visualizing himself in all aspects of the climb, even death.

Alex Honnold: Climbing without ropes

Alex Honnold talks death, not worrying about friends’ and family’s sorrow and other climbers’ deaths.

Kevin Richardson: People are too scared to live

Lion Whisperer Kevin Richardson speaks to the danger in his daily life with the lions, equating it to the same level of risk taken on by free-climber Alex Honnold or Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton. Richardson says yes, his job is dangerous, but to stop would be like cutting out a piece of his heart

Paul Nicklen: Nearly dying four times

Renowned wildlife photographer and conservationist Paul Nicklen shares four stories of near-death experiences, including diving with walruses and breeding elephant seals, malfunctioning scuba diving equipment and an empty oxygen tank.

Paul Nicklen: Risking my life for a photo

Renowned National Geographic photographer and conservationist Paul Nicklen looks back on past experiences where he risked his life during photojournalism assignments, sometimes unnecessarily. Nicklen reflects on pushing the limits while doing what he loves and says he plans to take less chances in the future.

Travis Pastrana: The fearless are either injured or dead

Action sports star Travis Pastrana describes how he lives for life’s scariest moments and the importance of respecting that fear.

Laird Hamilton: My closest calls with death

Big-wave surfer Laird Hamilton recounts some of the incidents he believed would end his life, plus the frequency and importance of rescues during tow-in surfing adventures and losing trust in one friend who wouldn’t put his life on the line to make a save.

Laird Hamilton: I’m dead if I fall

Big-wave surfer Laird Hamilton reflects on the risk of death and serious injury when surfing monster waves, comparing various waves to dog breeds and being the first to risk his life surfing the Jaws surf break in Maui. Hamilton also talks of realizing a lifelong dream surfing an “unrideable” wave at Teahupoo in Tahiti.

Rob Dyrdek: I was mauled by tiger, attacked by shark

Rob Dyrdek gives a rundown of his crazy television stunts, from being intentionally attacked by a tiger and shark to nearly dying while tow-in surfing alongside Laird Hamilton.

Steve-O: Closest I’ve come to dying

Steve-O regales with a rundown of notable stunts throughout the years. Highlights include having his cheek pierced with a fish hook to become live shark bait, applying leeches to his eyeballs, walking a tightrope over an alligator pond and catapulting a full porta-potty with himself inside.

ony Hawk: My worst, life-threatening wipeout

Tony Hawk recalls breaking his pelvis and waking up in an ambulance after a stunt for MTV’s “Wildboyz”

Richard Branson: Cheating death in a giant balloon

Sir Richard Branson shares harrowing details of his multiple near-death experiences as he attempted to pioneer hot air balloon expeditions across the Pacific Ocean, Atlantic Ocean and around the world.

Mario Andretti: Some of us in this room won’t survive

Mario Andretti opens up about the higher rate of racing fatalities during his prime years and how he walked away from a dangerous Indy crash in which his car flipped at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Niki Lauda: I have a reason to look ugly, most people don’t

Niki Lauda shares details of the difficult, initial recovery after his 1976 crash and subsequent skin grafting surgeries. Lauda candidly offers perspective on his burns, why he always wears a hat and his wish to be treated like everyone else.

Niki Lauda: Racing after nearly dying

Niki Lauda shares some of the hurdles he overcame to return to Formula 1 racing just 40 days after his fiery crash at Nurburgring, including the immense pressure from the public and regaining the confidence to get back in his Ferrari.