One century ago, fierce battles broke out in the shadow of Monte Piana in the Italian Dolomites as WWI began. The 18,000 young soldiers who lost their lives at that site were honored this past week at the 2015 Highline Meeting Monte Piana, an annual event that unites young people from all over the world through their shared passions for adventure and the sport of highlining.
Since the first meeting was organized by co-founders Alessandro d'Emilia and Armin Holzer in 2012, thrill-seekers have gravitated towards the Dolomites each year for the chance to slackline between mountain peaks, hang out in hammocks suspended hundreds of feet above the ground, and meet like-minded people. This time, however, the event was even more poignant because of the 100-year anniversary of the conflicts near Monte Piana. To remember those who died on the field a century ago, Ticket to the Moon coordinated a special “Rainbow Warriors” session as a symbol of peace and a tribute to the past. 26 athletes came together to sing, laugh, and lounge in 17 colorful hammocks strung up high in the sky. “Just a hundred years ago, winters up here were characterized by bombs, grenades, and lots of pain,” d'Emilia and Holzer explained. “Our idea was to re-experience Monte Piana in friendship and peace with each other, accompanied by kindhearted feelings during the day, and lulled to sleep at night by magical silence.”
Like last year, Vienna-based photographer Sebastian Wahlhtter was there to photograph the Highline Meeting, which kicked off on September 10 and just wrapped up on September 15. Highlining, he told us, is an “incredible experience.” He shared: “I can remember the first time going to sit on a highline, and it was really an intense experience. Once you are in the hammock, it's perfect, and you get a feeling of freedom; even though it's so exposed, relaxing is not a problem.”
Overall, Wahlhtter says he's grateful to be part of such a unique event. “This is a gathering and special experience for everyone participating,” he wrote to us in an email. “But the hammock action is also a symbol and a tribute to the past, and should remind us that there were also other times at this place when people were killing each other. In a way, the whole concept can also be reduced to ‘building bridges' instead of fighting each other.”
My Modern Met granted permission to use photos by Sebastian Wahlhtter.