Perhaps now is a good time to look away if you are in any way uncomfortable with the thought of walking along a piece of rope strung up between two high rise buildings.
Residents of St. Petersburg, Russia were thrilled and impressed on September 26, as a man walked across a city centre tightrope believed to be 40 metres above the ground.
To make matters even more hair raising, the city was rocked with stormy winds that day, making the stunt truly terrifying to observe.
The stunt was filmed by a fascinated onlooker, with the footage quickly going viral. At certain points in the video, the tightrope walker can be seen falling from the wire – saved only by his safety cord.
He’s able to pull himself back up like a true professional, looking completely unfazed. Meanwhile, form the comfort of my office chair, the mere sight of him dangling at such a great height genuinely turned my stomach inside out.
Once the stunt was complete, appreciative onlookers erupted with applause. The man – whose identity at this point was still a mystery – took off before the police arrived, leaving his audience in a state of excitement.
The person who captured the bloodcurdling footage explained:
I was going to the Ice Palace for a hockey game and saw this random man walking on a tightrope between high-rise buildings. Apparently, he is a professional Stuntman and is ok.
Local media were later able to identify the daredevil in question, naming him as 27-year-old rope access technician, Aleksandr Gribanov.
In a statement which’ll give anyone with a fear of heights a shudder, Aleksandr told Russian news site SPB about the adverse weather conditions which made his perilous walk even more difficult:
Your legs slip, [there is heavy] wind. Plus there is additional excitement because you know that what you are doing is illegal.
The weather adds piquancy to this case, it was not easy, because the slings are wet, legs slip, wind. Yes, and the feeling that you are doing everything illegally, adds excitement.
When [I] finished the passage, the audience shouted and applauded below. It was great.
Fearless Alexander – who also works as an industrial climber – has been practising the sport for four years, training for at least two hours each day:
We train constantly and everywhere. Often in parks, above the water – it’s beautiful and a lot of spectators gather. We like to go to the mountains – there is usually no one interferes. [sic]
Alexander chose the location at random, spending three hours gaining access to the staircase, climbing onto the roof and installing the high wire. The walk itself took ‘just’ 10 minutes.
This isn’t the first time he’s used the streets of St. Petersburg as his stage. Alexander has previously installed wires between city centre lanterns, above the Obvodny Canal and often uses disused factories as his training ground.
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Not going to lie, Alexander may well be the coolest person I’ve ever seen. But no way could I ever be tempted to get up on that rope, no matter what the weather conditions may be!
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.