February 11, 1963–November 23, 1998) was an extreme sport practitioner, known for the dangerous sports of "free-soloing" (rock climbing without ropes or other safety gear) and "controlled free-falling" (falling several hundred feet from a cliff then being caught by a safety rope), for which his record was over 1200 feet. He was known for living a bohemian lifestyle, rarely working, and living in a tree house for months at a time. He was the star of several rock climbing videos, which brought free-soloing to a wider audience. Dan had one daughter.
He died on November 23, 1998 at the age of 35 after his rope failed while performing a "controlled" free-fall jump from the Leaning Tower rock formation in Yosemite National Park. The failure was investigated by the National Park Service with assistance from Chris Harmston, Quality Assurance Manager at Black Diamond Equipment. A change in jump site angle probably caused the ropes to cross and entangle, leading to the rope cut by melting