French tightrope walkers defy gravity

    11:38 AM, Dec 19, 2013   |    comments
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    PEISEY, France (CBS) -- Defying gravity 415 yards (380 meters) above ground, Julien Millot and Tancrede Melet, two of the most skilled high liners in the world, walked a line on the Vanoise Express cable car between the snowy mountain caps of the French Alps on Monday (December 16). The walk was part of an event celebrating the 10 year anniversary of the Paradiski ski resort and its Vanoise Express transport system.

    The two Frenchmen, who have battled highline around the world, balanced on the line, only 2.5 cm wide, which linked two cable cars.

    For the two athletes, tackling height is a way of life: "We're all scared of heights. It can show differently on different people. What is common to both of us is that, despite being afraid of heights, we love to play with heights on a daily basis, we like to confront ourselves to heights whether by being on the highline or jumping and with our friends we use heights because we want to make the most out of nature," said Julien Millot.

    The line crossed by Millot and Millet was 65 yards (60 meters) in length. At this height, only a small rope attached to their harness prevents them from plunging to certain death.

    "We have no choice but to trust our equipment because it's our lifeline. Our approach is to go step by step. We don't overestimate or underestimate ourselves, we just do what we can when we're ready. Julien and I are both engineers so we are rigorous with the installations and it allows us to have a clear mind and avoid any dangerous hazard," said Tancrede Melet.

    The Vanoise Express cable car links the two ski resorts of Les Arcs and la Plagne and is one of the largest cable car transport system in the world. It connects the two resorts in only 4 minutes at a speed of 45 km/h or 12.5 meters per second. It has two double decker cable cars that hold up to 200 passengers.

    The exterior of the cable cars were also redesigned for the occasion by fashion designer Jean-Charles de Castelbajac.

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