When your résumé includes Guinness World Records for longest walk on a high wire and longest run on a Wheel of Death, you're a different breed of individual.
At 50 years old, Freddy Nock has more than four decades of experience walking on a tightrope. Though he got his start in the circus at the tender age of 4, he's better known for his feats of balance that require strength, courage and a certain amount of recklessness.
In 2012, Nock set seven world records in seven days — including highest tightrope run without a balancing pole over the Zugspitze in Germany, longest unsecured high wire run at the Thunersee in Switzerland, and longest downhill tightrope run at the Piz Corvatsch in the Swiss Alps.
But his dream, which he realized last year, was to accomplish the highest tightrope walk in the world.
Nock made his attempt in the Swiss Alps, at an altitude of almost 12,000 feet. He walked across a highwire that was less than an inch wide for more than 3,700 feet, gaining more than 164 feet in elevation between his starting point and where he finished. The daredevil carried a 57-pound balancing pole for 39 minutes as he made his way across a chasm between Biancograt and Piz Prievlus, the highest peak in the Eastern Alps.
What made his attempt even more challenging was that Nock didn't use a harness, a rope or an ankle strap. It was just Nock, his balancing pole and 3,000 feet of wide open air below. You can see him in action in the video below:
Nock's feat annihilated the previous record, which was set in 1974 when Philippe Petit walked across a tightrope that had been stretched across the World Trade Center Towers in New York City. Petit's walk came in at 135 feet above the ground. Nock traversed two peaks in the Swiss Alps on a rope 3,000 feet off the ground.
So what's next for this modern-day daredevil? He wants to attempt the same walk — but next time he'll do it blindfolded.
Like I said, equal parts courage and strength, with a little bit of crazy thrown in. You can keep up with Nock's feats at his webpage.