“What is it that confers the noblest delight? What is that which swells a man’s breast with pride above that which any experience can bring to him? Discovery! To know that you are walking where none others have walked; that you are beholding what human eye has not seen before; that you are breathing a virgin atmosphere. To give birth to an idea — to discover a great thought — an intellectual nugget, right under the dust of a field that many a brain-plow had gone over before… To be the first — that is the idea. To do something, say something before anybody else — these are the things that confer a pleasure compared with which other pleasures are tame and commonplace… These are the men who have really lived — who have actually comprehended what pleasure is — who have crowded long lifetimes of ecstasy into a single moment.” ~Mark Twain
The day seemingly started like all others, nothing drastically different from the rest, aside from the lingering anxiety and excitement from the previous nights sleep. Escaping from my tent into the crisp Fall morning air I realized today was THE day, the highline was finally rigged and awaiting its first crossing… This feeling of mixed emotions, of both elation toward the prospect of success and the stress of confronting a deep challenge, is something I often struggle with when a big line is rigged and the showdown is moments away. “The Kingline” of Smith Rock State Park has, in short, been on my life’s “to do list” ever since I started climbing at Smith 5 years ago. As I saw the obvious rock features towering above the climbing mecca I knew my destiny had been sealed. Ever since that day I had envisioned the two points in space connected with an imaginary line with every passing day I entered the park, it was quite literally staring me down and haunting my dreams. Rising up 500′ above the Crooked River, which snakes its way around the sculpted volcanic rock of Smith, the gap appeared to initially be about 200′ apart but was later discovered to be around 180′ instead. This distance was certainly going to be a revealing test of my balance, mind and willpower to stay centered and on the line throughout. Would I stand the pressure or fall from fear of success or failure? The day had not fully started and I knew the answers weren’t far away…
Photo by Patrick O’Neill
In the end, it was on my third day of battling The Kingline that success was met and a dream was fulfilled. The feelings I have surrounding this drama are of pure happiness and a complimenting sense of relief. The first walk had gone just as I had imagined, a lot of struggle leading up to a sense of calm completion. After a couple days of walking to, and beyond, the half way point I knew it was possible to finish. This realization always entails two conflicting emotions which I patiently try to juggle with in pursuit of success. It allows me to understand that I am able to meet my challenges head on with hard work but simultaneously brings me out of the momentary focus of being in the moment and not anticipating the outcome of my efforts. With every attempt on the line I had to pull myself from the excitement of finishing the walk until I was back on firm rock ground atop the opposite tower. The struggle to stay calm minded, detached from expectation, and steady with each step is often in contrast to the invading commentary of the minds filtering monologue. Your mind knows you can walk the line but somehow convincing your body to do so is always a delayed experience. There is often an indescribable gap between the visualization of success and the actual achievement of it that has to be gently coerced into manifestation. I’ve come to know these penetrating voices in my mind as “the committee,” where I imagine the many personalities of myself bickering back and forth around a table, incessantly talking when silence is all that is needed. Each voice tries to dominate above the rest and all that comes from this is distraction. The real challenge in staying continually focused on the line involves mastering the ability to silence the ranting noises and staying in the moment of the present uninterrupted. This is the technique I have learned to push past my limits, fears and anxieties in all walks of life. To embrace the present and bask in its ever changing potential for new experiences.
Photo by Patrick O’Neill
The reflections I’m now left with at Smith Rock are a combination of amazement and psyche for the future projects ahead. After devoting a great deal of energy, money and time to the development of the present 19 highlines in the park I feel as though I can finally leave with a clear and happy conscience. My journeys now lead me and Ethan Holt toward Moab, Utah to revisit old friends and many gaps in space above the majestic red sandstone of this beautiful country. What will manifest from here on is yet to be determined, but big goals await completion and new terrain remains unexplored in South America! The appetite is hungry for more adventure as I remember to live in the moment, be patient with my dreams and be thankful for those which have been met and conquered. I have now walked The Kingline full-man (in both directions) and have witnessed many friends giving their best on its beastly length. Without the help of Ethan Holt, Christian Krr and many others this line would not have been possible to realize. I acknowledge and am incredibly thankful for the help and encouragement of friends and family around me who have led up to this exceptional experience. Without the team effort we are nothing, so onward and upward we will go.
Here’s an epic short clip, captured by Nick Braun, of my walks on The Kingline. This cinematic experience is brought to you by the local central Oregon company LineCam, a new and revolutionary filming technology destined toward a great future. Click HERE to explore news and other short films captured from this up and coming cinematic style. Please explore their website and make sure to show support by clicking the LIKE button on Facebook.
Also, you can follow the adventures and photographic work of Tyler Roemer by clicking HERE