Austrian overcomes fear of heights to aim for slackline record
FRANKFURT, May 25 - An Austrian man tip-toed along a line strung 185 meters (607 feet) off the ground in Frankfurt on Saturday, attempting to set a new world record for "highlining" despite his fear of heights.
Reinhard Kleindl, 32, used only his arms to balance as he walked twice along a 30-metre-long polyester rope anchored to the two wings of Frankfurt's U-shaped skyscraper Tower 185 above hundreds of cheering supporters.
Kleindl said he was trying to set a new record for walking the highest urban highline, but no one was immediately available from the World Slackline Federation to confirm if this was a new record.
According to Kleindl, the previous record was set by a group of French adrenaline junkies on a line about 120 meters above the ground, between the Les Mercuriales twin towers in Paris, two years ago.
Unlike tightropes, slacklines are not held rigidly taut, making it harder to balance.
After completing his walks, Kleindl whooped with joy and admitted he was a bit afraid of heights.
"The effect of the height was worse than I had expected. The straight lines of the building just seem to drop down into infinity," said the long-haired and bearded Austrian.
Kleindl, who studied particle physics before becoming a professional slackliner, was due to repeat his walk three times during a two-day skyscraper-themed festival that started on Saturday.
(Reporting by Maria Sheahan; editing by Belinda Goldsmith)
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