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 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: 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 Two: 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 where countless world-class BASE exits await the brave and bold, 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, 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 nearest 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 every 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!
Over the past many years I’ve been fortunate enough to live a simple life of travel and balance, meeting amazing people along the way and accumulating a massive collection of video footage and photographs. I try my best to publish and share these documented moments with everyone but the reality is I mostly prefer spending my time outside creating new memories rather than sitting in front of a computer processing hours of footage and crunching away on long stints of editing. I like to think that in modern times I’ve found a delicate balance between these two experiences, which has allowed me to support a life of continuous adventure, but not too long ago I was only living out of my car devoted to the outdoors more than any other thing in life. Which brings me to my meeting with a friend named Jon Lang back in Oregon, whom a couple years ago approached me with an interest to edit some of my archival footage to use in a college assignment back at Oregon State University. We started hanging out together and began bouncing ideas back and forth about starting a production company and how we could go about getting a bit more professional with our documenting habits and obsession, but to summarize a long story short, we eventually went our separate ways as Jon was pursuing a career in the free skiing world and I moved out to Moab, Utah where my life became sculpted by the awesome community and sandstone cliffs that I now interact with everyday.
The video above is comprised of my collected archival footage from an expedition to Thailand with the Moab Monkeys, highlines in Joshua Tree/Moab/Yosemite, along with some additional video footage Jon compiled of the first annual Smith Rock Highline Gathering I organized and the many deep water solo lines I developed in central Oregon with the help of many rad friends. Looking back on all these memories always makes me smile and reminds me of the footprints I’ve left behind and gets me excited for the new adventures to come. There’s been so much progression in the sport of slacklining over the years that it’s obvious the passion and pursuit of balance will always see leaps and bounds as long as this passionate community continues to devote their lives to its obsession and progression. Jerry Miszewski has been a huge influence in the community, pushing the limits of length, endurance and innovation with the sport while Andy Lewis has been exposing the world to his ‘slacklife’ philosophy with his many crazy shenanigans, world traveling pursuits and awesome combination of parachute sports alongside a one inch piece of webbing. Both athletes are featured in this short video, alongside countless other individuals who have also spearheaded the progression of slacklining in so many other ways. Much of this footage has been locked away with my collection of hard drives and has yet to be seen by the public until now. So, sit back and enjoy this fast paced edit created by Jon himself.
In closing, I just want to say that it’s been an honor sharing these smiling moments of balance in nature with so many talented artists and I look forward to the new friendships and adventures that wait on the horizon. Until that next line is established or plane ticket purchased, slackers keep up the high life and stoke of balanced progression. The world really is watching and we’re just having a good ol’ time cultivating a happy life of smiles, vertical challenges and real adventure with our closest friends and heroes. What a time to be had!
Often around this time of year I find it pretty difficult to stay indoors for too long, let alone commit energy to being on my computer regularly. Once the birds begin chirping, the sun shines high in the sky and the psyche becomes contagious amongst friends, sitting in front of a digital screen seems a daunting task when countless adventures beckon from outside. Despite procrastinating interweb updates, I assure you life has been extremely active and fruitful for the past many weeks. Since returning to U.S. soil from 5 weeks in the southern hemisphere, many projects have been accomplished in Moab as the Monkeys continue pushing the limits of extreme shenanigans. The high standard of desert adventure has expanded exponentially with a slew of new awesome projects going down! Amongst them; a new tower highline was established and walked (the 25th of its kind in Moab), an 80 meter rope swing was pioneered and jumped, the Colorado River was slacklined across during a spectacular white water rafting/climbing trip, a new revolutionary space net was invented for BASE jumping, tent lounging and other forms of chilling (see photos), and lastly I began working as the assistant cameraman in the making of a new climbing movie (with Chuck Fryberger Films). These examples represent the tip of the iceberg for all the Moab Monkeys, as we’ve recently been doing more professional shoots and televised performances abroad and in the states. In short, the PSYCHE dial has steadily been cranked up to 11, with few moments of rest between rigging and de-rigging projects constantly. The proud resume goes on but in keeping this post short and sweet, so as to get outside sooner than later, I’ve provide some visual evidence to explain what my words cannot… I only expect life to continue raging with this momentum through the coming hot months, as we all collectively plot and scheme new ways to push the limits of outdoor adventure. Stay tuned for new updates along the way, it’s sure to be a bumpy and exciting ride!
- Screen Grab by Kyle Berkompas of Chuck Fryberger Films
Few words, more images, end to beginning…
Urban Jungle Highline: As the last week of our trip slowly comes to an end, the team was able to get permission to walk between two apartment buildings in downtown Niteroi as part of a Brazilian TV show. This projects was a test of creative rigging in an unfamiliar terrain of concrete structures and constant noise. The rooftop scenery from this line was incredible and represents, for many of us on the Moab Monkeys team, our first urban highline.
New addition to downtown Niteroi’s urban scenery
18 stories above the concrete abyss
Marcio Cardoso getting the first Brazilian crossing of Niteroi’s new urban highline
Ezequiel Ruete taking in the noisy exposure of the urban setting
Improvised and creative rigging in the urban environment
Return to Tartaruga: The crew returned to walk Tartaruga Sinistra and we proudly established the first 3 walks of this 47 meter long beast. Many of the local Brazilians gave their best to it and will be returning soon with vengeance in mind.
Scott Rogers getting his send on the longest highline in Brazil, weighing in at 47 meters long and very exposed.
Allan Pinheiro walking amongst the clouds
Week three in Brazil is coming to an end and the Moab Monkeys met up with “Lucky” Luke Chappell and some other Brazilian BASE jumpers to explore the urban jungle of Rio de Janeiro. This week’s episode includes some building BASE action and some new highlines above downtown Niteroi. The buildings will go unnamed, as frankly we don’t even know what they’re called. The two highlines shown include the “Sweat Shop” at 17m, established by Allan Pinheiro a few years ago, and “Sol Opressor” which is a new line in the 45-50m range. Enjoy this week’s episode and keep your eyes out for more! The Monkeys have one more week in Brazil and we’re preparing for our biggest project yet!
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Above is a brief trailer of some local Moab BASE jumping and highline footage compiled between Slackline Media, Moab Monkeys and the epic SkySight team for a SONY advertisement. The Monkey team has been working with this professional group to capture some of the most breathe taking and inspiring extreme sports aerial perspectives. I’m excited to be surrounding myself and working with such motivated and talented individuals in life. Every person has contributed something special to this project and I very much look forward to the adventures to come from all our hard work and raging in the cold. As history tends to repeat itself, the continuing cycle of adventure is guaranteed to mature into the next step of what is shaping up to be an amazing year so far!
For more information concerning SkySight and the awesome work they’ve been producing, check out the links listed below. Make sure to “Like” their pages and follow up on continuing projects as they capture life from new unparalleled aerial perspectives never before seen!
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