Two Frenchmen and one British man performed a remarkable feat on Thursday when they ‘highlined’ across Dettifoss waterfall, RÚV reports. Highlining is a sport similar to tightrope walking or slacklining, in which participants “traverse a narrow, springy band of rope suspended high above the ground.” In this instance, the three highliners walked a rope that spanned 270 meters [886 feet] and was roughly 100 meters [328 feet] above the waterfall, which has the greatest volume of water of any waterfall in Europe.
The trio are part of a larger highlining team that travels around the world practicing their craft. When they first arrived at Dettifoss, they hadn’t decided on an exact location for their crossing. But when a rainbow appeared over the waterfall when they were scouting, they decided to base their crossing location on where they saw it. It seems only fitting, then, that several rainbows appeared in the same spot during their crossing on Thursday. "Some people were afraid," said Bjarni Karlsson, a park ranger at Vatnajökull National Park who himself watched the crossing. "But most people were interested and excited."
Highliner Daniel Laruelle says the sport is like a meditation. “If you manage to stay calm then you enter a quasi-meditational state on the line. It works more often than not, but when there’s a lot of stimuli around you—like, for instance, a giant waterfall or a bunch of rainbows, then it can be difficult to keep your focus,” he admitted. But the teammates insist that the practice is actually safer than it looks. “As soon as I’ve secured the safety,” said Daniel, “I can go out on the line and fall as often as I want.”
His teammates Nicolas Pouchars and Theo Sanson agreed. “It is actually more dangerous to drive a car around than it is to go out on the line,” said Theo. “Although your head says something else. We do this because it’s fantastic, but it’s also symbolic. We are all looking for balance in our lives, but it is a long process and takes us a lifetime.”