For every story they say there is a beginning, middle and end. For this story there is a stop in Thailand, Poland and Switzerland. During this short journey of 3 weeks around the world Scott Rogers, Andy Lewis and myself spent about a weeks time in each country playing with gravity and doing a little “work” along the way. It was a trip of firsts for me experiencing my first (B)uilding jump in Bangkok, being part of a team rigging a new world record urban highline, committing to my first terminal BASE jumps from amazing cliffs in Lauterbrunnen and seeing so much more along the way. I attempted to take some photos on the blazing trail and here are a few I wanted to share to give a glimpse of the beauty and diversity of the sights, sounds and people we got to play and smile with. I hope you enjoy!
Chapter One: Above the City (Bangkok, Thailand)
The new world record length urban highline has finally been rigged and it weighs in at 167 meters long (547′) and 180 meters high (590′). Andy made his first attempts on the line in the middle of the night at 3:00 AM in preparation for his televised walk a couple days later. He was able to eventually get across the line, while all the cameras were rolling, with many falls in between. One of the most impressive lines I’ve seen to date! So much thanks goes out to everyone who organized and supported this project: Paul Amornwet of Tab Agency, Jan Kaeding of Gibbon Slacklines, Balance Community for the awesome vectran webbing and our support team of Thai climbers that were a huge help in establishing this line.
Chapter Two: The 6th Annual Urban Highline Festival (Lublin, Poland)
Slackliners from around the world have been gathering in the quaint historical town of Lublin, Poland for the past six years rigging dozens of highlines in this amazing urban setting. Thanks to the efforts of Jan Galek, Faith Dickey, Jordan Tybon, Wojtek Kozakiewicz and so many more, this gathering continues to gain momentum and attendees as the slack scene gets bigger and more individuals are discovering the benefits of being better balanced people. This celebration takes place alongside a massive gathering of Carnaval where mimes, aerial silk performers, contortionists and other artists come together to showcase their skills and vision with a big audience that casually strolls through the town square as highliners walk above in every direction. The vibe is so much different than Bangkok and it was an incredible experience to see so many familiar and new faces that have become the community of modern slacklining. Officially the Europeans have been pushing the sport in a huge way making been advances in the lengths of highlines being walked today and exploring new environments to construct these lines in space. Without a doubt the church lines were my favorite to walk at this gathering since its such a unique opportunity to walk in this sacred space… If I could share one bit of advice it would be to attend this event every year if you have the chance!
Chapter 3: The Valley of Death or Glory (Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland)
Welcome to the world of 2,000 foot tall limestone cliffs amidst the most beautiful alpine mountain environment you’ve ever imagined. With gondola services that take you to the top of either side of the valley with countless world class BASE exits, this place is either a Disneyland paradise for talented trackers and wingsuit pilots or the Valley of Death if you make any mistake. Taking anywhere between 8-15 seconds delay before pitching your pilot chute and being under an inflated canopy overhead, you can leap from these heights and fly like superman away from the towering walls to touch down in a grassy field and have a 15 minute walk to the local pub. For those more adventurous types, a couple gondola rides and a 3 hour hike can get you to the top of the infamous Eiger or other alpine regions where you can expect a 45 second flight or more depending on your skill level and chosen flying suit… This place absolutely blew my mind in terms of how outrageously scenic it was and the seriousness of performing a jump with perfect execution. It seemed everyday someone was having a cliff strike, landing in the tall trees or worse, which added to the commitment level of every action you took. I’ve made it a goal to spend time in this place every year as long as I’m current in my flying skills, because I can’t imagine a more beautiful place to spend time with friends truly flying in a dreamlike environment. Thanks so much to Andy Lewis, Scott Rogers and Jimmy Peterson for being there for my first long delays, you brothers will always be near and dear to my heart!