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Posts from the ‘Ropeswing’ Category

“Global Gladiators” New Reality TV Show, African Adventures and a Space Net-Rope Swing Challenge

The e-mails volleyed back and forth for a couple of weeks. Digital communication across separate continents discussing the details of a new German television series in the making. Think American Ninja Warrior meets Survivor. The premise being that two teams of German celebrities will explore the vast wilderness of Southern Africa, competing in a series of outdoor obstacle courses over water, land and air. The competitors will travel over 2,500 miles distance through rugged environments in a windowless freight container, stopping only to compete against one another in a succession of impressive outdoor challenges across some of Namibia’s most breathtaking sceneries. They’ll jump from helicopters into water, rope swing out of one of our patented space nets and free fall hundreds of feet above the ground, among many other exciting physical and mental tests.

Global Gladiators Space Net

The new rigging assignment was to build a space net that would be suspended somewhere in the desert of Namibia, as part of a new adventure reality television show called Global Gladiators. Our objective was to prepare a new net that would have a rope swing component out of it, something we’ve only prepared in the home comforts of Moab. The game plot was designed so that the contestants would cross a long horizontal rope (tyrollean-traverse) hung in the middle of a canyon to access our suspended net, scramble around on the large hammock surface to find a hidden hand-held bocci ball, free fall out of the net into a large pendulum rope swing and attempt to throw their ball at a fixed target below. Basically a very extreme game show version of bocci ball. Easy enough, right? Well, from a rigging stand point Scott Rogers, Tiffany Junge and I knew this was going be an extremely technical rigging task in a very harsh desert environment. We naturally smiled at the new challenge and began devising a plan. With no time to waste we started brainstorming innovative ideas together, drawing up design diagrams and making important calculations.

Space Net Build

Before knowing all the details of the job ahead we needed to first do a reconnaissance trip to Southern Africa. Global Gladiators sent Scott Rogers out to Fish River Canyon, which happens to be the largest canyon system on the continent of Africa, located in southern Namibia, to find the perfect space for our proposed rigging challenge. Upon returning to Moab, he reported that the most promising gap he could find was 400 feet across, at its smallest span, and the rock quality ranged from very bad to pretty solid. A geological mixture of optimism with a hint of spiciness. We knew this big budget project was going to be full of new obstacles and the scouting trip confirmed this to be true. Amenities, available gear and human support, we were told ahead of time, were going to be scarce so our pre-expedition logistical planning would have to be extremely precise for everything to be executed flawlessly. In addition to our homework, we were given a second assignment to create another challenge for the show that would take place at a totally different location in Swakopmund, immediately following our de-rig schedule. The expedition was shaping up to be jam packed with lots of excitement and hundreds of miles to be traveled across vast parts of the African desert, in the midst of their hot summer season. This was a job that would require military precision, effective team communication and impressive rigging expertise. With next to no shade available in the canyons, temperatures were forecasted to be hovering around 115 degrees fahrenheit and we would only have access to a very small rigging team at our side. Considering all the facts on the table, we smiled once again, realizing that our decades of accumulative rigging experience, desert acclimatization in Moab and unique climbing/rigging skills made us the most qualified and only professional team in the world capable of completing such a task, with crew safety always at the forefront of our minds.

Space Net Build

Fast forwarding a month, after a mirage of logistical planning and flying half way around the world to a new desert environment, we all found ourselves gathered in a small studio apartment in Windhoek, Namibia with extreme jet lag. We unloaded our massive coils of ropes, metal bolts, steel carabiners and remaining gear on the floor to begin prepping. The following days would consist of meeting parts of the Global Gladiator’s production team, sourcing more ropes and materials in town and then eventually heading out across the desert expanse to confront a multitude of rigging tests ahead.

Space Net Rigging

The design of the space net to rope swing challenge (titled “Spidernet-Boule”) was that each contestant would manually pull themselves across 400 foot long horizontal ropes (tyrollean-traverse) to the center of the canyon, while hanging 120 feet above the rocky ground from a climbing harness. Once positioned above the suspended space net we would lower them into our colorful net, attach them to a new leash system and they would begin scrambling about the perimeter of the webbing, searching through a series of dangling black bags to find a specific colored hand-held bocci ball. Once found, I would attach them to a separate 100 foot long rope swing, already secured to the edge of the net, so that they would plummet toward the ground at high speeds and attempt to toss their bocci ball at a tree target below at the apex of their swing. To conclude the game, we would lower them carefully to the ground from the swing ropes and they would be judged based on their ball accuracy to the target and time taken during the challenge. Depending on how close the ball landed to this target determined how many points they would accumulate as a team and as individual competitors. At the end of the game, the losing team would be forced to pick a team member to leave the television program and thus no longer be in the running for winning money or being crowned the Global Gladiators champion.

SPIDERNET-BOULE VIDEO LINK (chapter 4, part 2)

Working 16-20 hour days to prepare this stunt, 5 consecutive days in a row with no more than 4 hours of rest per night, we accomplished our rigging goal and provided an extremely adventurous experience for the German contestants. Despite the long hours of work in very harsh desert conditions, temperatures hovering around 114 degrees most of the day, we kept each other safe and focused as a team. Our effective ability to take care of one another in the high stress environment, while maintaining safety as our primary objective throughout the experience, was noted by the production crew and they left with a tremendous amount of respect for our professional rigging abilities. What we created and coordinated as a cohesive team unit was nothing short of world-class rigging with an awe inspiring outcome for the Global Gladiators television program.

After wrapping up production with the 8 German celebrities and spending the following morning de-rigging the net, we barely had enough time to breath or celebrate before setting off on a 14 hour drive to our next set location of Swakopmund. Read more

Behind the Lens

 

Life as a nomadic adventurer has no defined path or “how to” book on finding success. A lot of my personal experience in trying to “make a living” with this traveling lifestyle is built on the foundation of following my own intuition, committing to the adventure and trusting that it all works out in the end. There are moments of doubt and periods where I feel a bit disoriented without a real schedule to abide by, but the flip side of this coin is a self-directed path where I’m moving in unexpected directions of joy and new terrain. Throughout the many years of traveling out of my vehicle seeking various opportunities to play in nature, I’ve stumbled across many groups of interesting and uniquely gifted people who often think, act and live outside of the box. A modern tribe of pseudo-rebels and trouble makers defining their own rules to life, often far from the concrete jungles and confined indoor cubicles of urbanized society. Most of them happen to be outstandingly creative and coordinated athletes, while others are inspiring artists and free spirits who live by a similar code of passion in everything they do… I’ve concluded this to be the recipe for a truly meaningful life of creation, and I’m continually surprised by the many forms it manifests all around me. Whether your passion is growing a garden or walking a slackline high above the ground, it seems whenever you dedicate your life to cultivating meaning through personal action and interaction, a positive life is carved out in front of you. Decisions and experiences tend to gravitate toward a community of like minded people on a similar path of happiness and progression, and this is the real source of momentum that keeps the wheels spinning and the engine turning over time.

So who is Kyle Berkompas?… Many years ago I found myself in the desert of Moab during the Thanksgiving season, at yet another highline gathering of balanced athletes and artists from around the world. It was there that I noticed an unfamiliar face amongst the small accumulated crowd, which at that time was something of a rarity since our family of slackliners was even smaller and more close knit then. The popularity of Moab as a highline mecca, just 3 years ago, was still hidden under the radar and these gatherings were pretty small, exclusive and lesser known. When I first saw Kyle he was on the edge of a cliff, assembling a long camera crane for an upcoming video shoot with Andy Lewis. I became suddenly aware that a high budget film was being made and Kyle was at the forefront of documenting the slacklife-style which we had all been living. Upon striking up conversation, I learned he was working for Sender Films and was creating a piece on Andy which would later be featured in the Reel Rock film tour traveling the globe. We started working and spending time together then and I offered to help with the production over the next week… I think there was a moment of realization that came with this, that slacklining was slowly blowing up in popularity and the media coverage about our adventure lifestyle would eventually become a bigger catalyst for spreading our balanced gospel worldwide. Since that day, Kyle and I have cultivated a great friendship and we occasionally get the opportunity to team up on video projects together, primarily documenting the progression of the Moab Monkeys and other inspiring athletes who push the boundaries of outdoor adventure.

 

Over the years, Kyle’s camera skills have become more refined and his ability to get the epic shot in any outdoor setting has exponentially improved with his evolving craft. From commercial shoots with Alex Honnold to his upcoming film Exposure Vol 1, it seems Kyle is always traveling the globe documenting the most progressive achievements with the best “extreme” athletes alive today. Currently working for Chuck Fryberger Films and doing freelance projects on the side for large companies, Kyle is a committed artist ready to document the adventure anytime, anywhere. The success he has created over the years continues to inspire me as an aspiring professional cameraman and friend, and I’m very proud to support and share his work here at Slackline Media.

The above short videos are samples of his recently edited work with the Moab Monkeys and other desert nomads who seasonally call this dry paradise home. I was fortunate enough to be hired on as the camera assistant/behind the scenes documenter for these projects, during which time I learned a lot about the industry and what it takes to capture adventure sports from unique perspectives. Utilizing state of the art camera equipment and progressive flying technologies, we teamed up with the amazing aerial filming experts at SkySight, based out of Boulder, CO, to capture these incredible sceneries from never before seen views using the RED Epic camera… For those of you unfamiliar to the world of modern camera equipment, this technological set-up with flying octocopter included, costs around $70,000 in total. The RED Epic is capable of capturing digital video at an incredibly impressive resolution of 5K and at mind boggling slow speeds for ultra awesome slow-motion sequences! This was the first time in history that these two technologies had been paired up together! It was an absolute honor to have them record the evolving shenanigans of the Moab Monkeys and Mason Earle’s newest/hardest crack project in our desert backyard. So as usual, sit back and crank up the volume on these presented short films! If you feel the love, share them and spread the works of Kyle Berkompas, SkySight and the Moab Monkeys as we constantly push the limits of outdoor adventure and human achievements.

To check out more work from SkySight click HERE

What’s going on in and outside the office of Chuck Fryberger Films click HERE

Stranger Than Fiction EpicTV Short Film Festival

~Brian Mosbaugh

230′ Rope Jump is Reborn…

 

About 3 years back while highlining in the vast desert of Utah, a new and innovative rope swing concept was born and put into practice. As a balanced community of highliners who constantly seek out elevated challenges, we’re regularly spanning gaps in space and above slot canyons which present new opportunities for recreating with gravity. In this case, the idea of using the middle of a highline as a potential floating anchor emerged between the creative minds of Jan Galek, Faith Dickey, Jordan Tybon and myself… As a warm up and trial rig for larger rope swing opportunities in mind, we created a “short” 70 foot pendulum swing over a shallow bowl of sandstone. The jumps were successful and the rigging was solid. We all laughed and rejoiced in the fun we were having, then moved onto our next highlining destination as usual. This new location presented greater potential for free fall into space and as we considered the project we were undertaking, our butt holes puckered and our hearts began to race. Upon finishing the trial rig, we anxiously stared into the abyss below and imagined ourselves hurdling through the air in the biggest pendulum swing we had ever seen or considered possible. Since it was my birthday, my generous friends, needing a willing guinea pig, offered me the first jump to test out the rig and to check the clearance between the canyon walls (note that we first used a weighted haul bag as a test). After the adrenaline subsided and grinning faces transitioned into nervous expressions, everyone was psyched about what had been accomplished.

 

Flash forward many years later… After hundreds more highlines had been rigged and experience was gained in the elevated world, I was approached by my Moab Monkey teammate, Scott Rogers, to supervise the construction of my previous ground breaking rope swing. The video montage I had edited after the first rig was completed surprisingly captured the attention of over 400,000 YouTube viewers and was even featured on several Japanese television shows and CNN in the United States. With a greater following and viewing of what we had made, a new group of successful film makers were eager to repeat the experience and capture it in a new innovative way. Devin Supertramp, who boasts over 870,000 YouTube followers and over 150 million views on his video channel, was excited about the new project. What I originally thought would be a time of supervising and monitoring the safety of this complex project became a more involved undertaking for both Scott and I. We became directly responsible for the rigging, safety and preparation of over 15 jumpers during the course of a 2 day filming period. With great pride, no one was injured or hurt during the frigid conditions, and everyone left with a HUGE smile and greater appreciation for our creative pursuits. Scott and I also were able to help film and document the experience from high angle positions, hanging from ropes in precarious places in the 400 foot abyss, where other film makers were unable to access and document with comfort. This is where we are most naturally talented, hanging in space and maintaining a calm smile is where we shine as highliners. We give into the pulling gravity and intimidating positions, allowing for us to focus on getting the shot and help out new friends to create this wonderful masterpiece which you now can see. Several of our shots were used in the final edit and the Moab Monkeys had the awesome opportunity to network with new and inspiring film makers… We look forward to the brainstormed projects to come this spring and fall with Devin and his crew, to give a greater perspective of BASE jumping and highlining in new locations.

Featured above is the final edit of Devin’s hardwork and editing skills put into practice, and below is the video which tells the behind the scenes story of how it all went down. I hope you all enjoy the finished products!

 

P.S. Stay tuned for a full edit of another rope swing I rigged at Smith Rock State Park… Here’s a sneak preview of the jump, sorry for teasing so much.

~Brian Mosbaugh