With his inimitable balancing act, Swiss artist Freddy Nock achieved a spectacular world record on Sunday, which will be submitted to the Guinness Book of Records as “the longest and highest wire walk above sea level without a balancing pole”, according to his spokeswoman.
With no security ropes or balancing pole, the 46-year old walked almost a kilometre up the 2-inch wide Gletscherbahn cable car rope in one hour and 20 minutes to the summit of Zugspitze mountain, which is almost 10,000 feet above sea level. The height differential was 348 metres.
Luckily, the weather conditions were perfect with a lightly clouded sky and hardly any wind, according to the Tages Anzeiger newspaper.
Although Nock was about 150 metres from the ground, with only the tips of his toes on the tightrope, he winked at about 200 spectators as he approached his destination. At times he even balanced on one leg.
“It was a stressful walk”, said Freddy Nock, explaining to reporters that his feet were still shaking afterwards.
Zugspitze was the first success in Nock’s “7 records in 7 days” project. In a week, Nock wants to clock up a total of seven world records in Switzerland, Germany and Austria. And it's all for a good cause: to raise awareness for the work of UNESCO’s education for children (Bildung für Kinder in Not) project.
After Zugspitze, and a walk on the Feuerkogelbahn in Austria, Nock’s record tour will finally reach Switzerland. Tightrope walks on the Diavolezza and Corvatsch-Bahn this Tuesday and Wednesday should give the public butterflies in their stomachs.
Nock will be in Bern on Thursday, where he plans to complete the longest and highest bicycle crossing on a tightrope.
On Friday, Nock is expected to attempt the highest tightrope walk on the Jungfraujoch, and the following day comes the grand finale over the Thunersee with Nock aiming to achieve the longest tightrope water crossing without security.
Nock, who grew up in a famous Swiss circus family, first walked a tightrope at the age of four. He was 11 when he attempted his first high-wire walk.
On his website, Nock says he “wants to give people courage to believe in themselves, to follow their dreams.”