Tightrope walker conquers Great Wall

Updated: 2013-10-19 00:08

By Sun Ye in Jixian, Tianjin (China Daily)

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Tightrope walker conquers Great Wall

Uygur tightrope walker Adili Wuxor (in red) and his apprentice, Yakup Jang, walk on a 331-meter rope spanning two towers of the Great Wall at Huangyaguan Pass in Jixian, a county in Tianjin, on Friday. PHOTOS BY KUANG LINHUA / CHINA DAILY

Chinese tightrope walker Adili Wuxor walked without safety nets or harnesses for 331 meters above a strip of the Great Wall in Jixian county in Tianjin on Friday.

It was the 42-year-old's first challenge above the Great Wall. He and his apprentices chose the Huangyaguan stretch of the iconic site for the Friday afternoon event.

Donning red cow skin boots, the two each held a 13-kilogram balancing stick that stretched 10 meters. They were otherwise unprotected.

He and his 26-year-old cousin Yakup Jang walked from opposite ends of the tightrope, crossing paths in the middle and maneuvered around each other.

During the 40-minute event, each walked backward on the tightrope for a brief moment. The pair also sat on the steel rope then immediately stood up on a single foot to wave to the crowd beneath. For a while, Adili walked blindfolded. He also danced and thumped his feet on the rope to accompanying music.

But the most difficult part came when the two crossed paths and performed a tricky maneuver around each other. Yakup Jang laid down on his back and let Adili step on his chest to cross.

In the Friday event, the pair were performing the traditional acrobatics of the Uygur ethnic group called Dawaz. Their family has been passing on the art for several generations.

"Truth be told, I'm not entirely fearless so high above the ground," Adili said. "But courage is the most valuable thing for the art and we train ourselves to be brave."

"I'm of the sky. That's what I do," he said. "And the Great Wall is a place particularly symbolic."

Adili holds the Guinness World Record for walking 1,400 meters unprotected on a tightrope in 2000, crossing the Dehang canyon in Hunan province. He has also walked across the Bird's Nest and a part of the Three Gorges.