Yes, You Can Walk a Highline Between Two Gondolas

How do you make slacklining even harder? String your slackline between two gondolas.
Alex Schulz slacklining between two gondola cabins at the Zugspitze
One man between two gondola cabins © One Inch Dreams/Johannes Olszewski
By Sissi Pärsch

Alex Schulz from "One Inch Dreams" already has 10 slackline records, but this may be his most unique challenge yet: a slackline between two gondolas on the Zugspitze cable car. That's right – his 'anchors' aren't exactly anchored. The walk took place at 2,600m (5,830 feet) high, 150m (492 feet) above the glacier. Read more to find out about the highs, lows, vibrations, and fluctuations!

Explain what you've done...

Simple. I walked from the roof of one gondola cabin to the next one.

Really? That's it.

I can rephrase: I moved quickly across a highline stretched between two not-very-steady cable car cabins, 150m above the Zugspitze Glacier, at an altitude of 2,600m.

Alex Schulz slacklining at the Zugspitze
Concentration and talent © One Inch Dreams/Johannes Olszewski

Sounds easy. Did you nail it the first time?

Nope – I fell the first time, due to the safety wrapped around my foot. I made it the second time! But we did about 10 tries for the TV production.

Originally, you wanted the cable cars to be moving...

Yep. We had just done a highline at the highest point in Germany, the Zugspitze. That was really fun, and with great action like that, new ideas are often born. We wanted the cable car to be moving during the highline, but it would have been impossible – the two cabins don't always move in sync.

How hard was the project planning?

It wasn't easy! First, it was expensive. We also had to get official approvals and find strong media partners. But we managed it!

Alex Schulz slacklining at the Zugspitze
Alex is rather stoked with the stunt! © One Inch Dreams/Johannes Olszewski

It wasn't easy convincing them you knew what you were doing...

It took several hours to convince the head of the Zugspitze cable car that we were qualified and could do this safely.

The 'mechanics' weren't so easy, either...

No. The first spot we planned to stretch the highline between the two cabins left them fluctuating in movement by quite a bit – so we had to find a spot where they would be closer together. The problem with that spot was that there was a 10m (33 feet) height difference between the two cabins, putting the line at a very extreme angle! We solved that in a creative way – by putting four tons of water in the higher cabin.

Alex Schulz walks a high line between two gondolas on the Zugspitze
The view from cabin to cabin © One Inch Dreams/Johannes Olszewski

That's a lot of work! And how did it go during the attempt?

What was good was that the weather played nice – when the wind is blowing faster than you walk, we had to call it off, because the cabins were moving so much they would have torn the slackline.

What was the biggest challenge?

Overcoming the feat of the extreme exposure, and the movement of the line in the air.

Why do you do what you do?

It's fun. I go to beautiful places. The slackline community is great, too. Ultimately, though, what I've learned from highlining is also really helpful in everyday situations.

Explain, if you will..

When you highline, you search for exposure, and thus control of your own fears. You need high concentration, and confidence in your abilities.

Alex Schulz 'Space Line' in the Yosemite Valley
Another project, the 'space line' in the USA © Jared Alden

That confidence has give you some records...

A few. The longest polyester slackline, and the longest slackline over water. Three times I've held the record for the world's highest slackline. I've got a few more things planned!

What's next?

Putting together some really cool projects. I want to take One Inch Dreams in the direction of providing professional services – slackline stunts, events, marketing gigs, etc.

Your tips for those interested in highlining?

Know your stuff. You learn through experience, and practice with secure constructions in safe places!

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