Canadian Jay Cochrane walks above the Pearl of the Orient Tower in Shanghai, China as he accomplished a world record for the highest and longest nighttime building-to-building wire walk on September 24, 1996, during the Shanghai Tourism Festival.
The skywalk and Festival showcased the newly designated Pudong empowerment zone in Shanghai's redevelopment of the slum area into an economic powerhouse of high rises and waterfront development. The Pearl of the Orient Tower, was completed in 1994 and designed to make the viewer think that pearls are dropping onto an jade plate.
This was my second trip to China with Jay Cochrane, his follow up to The Great China Skywalk in 1995 in Qutang Gorge, one of the legendary Three Gorges of the Yangtze. Watching Jay glowing above the Pearl of the Orient was one of the most majestic views I have ever witnessed, You were only able to see the cable in the spotlight. Jay told me afterward that most of the time he couldn't see anything, he walked by total feel. That description helped convince us all two years later when he skywalked blindfolded in Las Vegas.
Jay Cochrane, "The Prince of the Air", walks on a cable over the Yangtze River in Qutang Gorge, China, on October 28, 1995, during The Great China Skywalk . The skywalk was and is the greatest highwire walk ever made spanning half a mile between the canyon walls and 1,350 feet above the river. Thousands of spectators lined the trails within the legendary Three Gorges of the Yangtze. The gorges are now filled with water with the completion of the Three Gorges Dam, creating a 500-foot deep reservoir in Qutang Gorge.
In 1995, digital technology was in its infancy and I was hired by Jay Cochrane to guarantee that a picture of his skywalk deep in the interior of China would be in newspapers worldwide. Armed with a macintosh laptop and a Nikon Coolscan, both new technology, I accomplished the goal. I was the only member of the western media allowed to travel to the location as a member of Jay's entourage.
It began a twenty-year documentation and friendship with Jay Cochrane as he skywalked across the world. Jay passed away from cancer in 2012 and I miss him every day.
Learn more at JayCochrane.com