Walking a Tightrope Between Mountains

(gentle electronic music) - [Faith] When you highline often, you really learn to train your fear like a muscle. Sometimes the height isn't the scariest part. Sometimes it's the exposure, which is how much space you can perceive around you. (gentle electronic music) My name is Faith Dickey, and I'm a professional slackliner. (gentle instrumental music) So slacklining is the umbrella term for all the different facets of walking on a flat, woven band. One of these facets is highlining, which is walking a slack line high off the ground. One of the best ways to train for highlining is setting up slack lines over water. When the current is passing underneath you, you automatically start to fall that same direction, and it's almost like you're not in control of your body, and that's great practice for highlining because in highlining when you're dealing with all the fear and adrenaline, oftentimes it feels like you're not in control of your own body either. (water splashing) (gentle electronic music) Chamonix is a town in the Alps of France, and it's one of the places that really drives me in highlining. What's different about highlining in the Alps is that the whole experience is more intense. Being that high off the ground, you look at the valley below, and the houses are just tiny specks. They look like toys. It's unbelievable. One of the highlines that I walked recently in Chamonix was on Aiguille du Midi, and when we reached the top, it was a totally clear, blue sky, and we were surrounded by peaks, but during the process of rigging, the clouds started to roll in. It was like an acid trip walking the line. I was out there in space and exposure, trying to balance, and the line was swinging beneath me. Meanwhile, these huge, white clouds were passing, and the line would disappear. The anchor would disappear, and then it would reappear, and there was no way to control it. I just had to hang on. - [Woman] Yes. (murmuring) Oh man. - [Faith] The beauty of the mountains is awesome, and yet it is a landscape that demands focus and respect. Alpine highlining is the purest form of the sport I can think of. (gentle electronic music)

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