As a lover of mountains I often find myself seduced by the siren’s song of the summit, heeding to the mysterious whispers of the wind at great heights. Whether climbing up an exposed rock face or flying down a mountain with great speed, I am powerfully drawn to the exploration of heights and its strong gravitational pull. Motivated by the intrinsic allure of seeking answers to questions I don’t yet have, or stepping courageously one foot in front of the other through life challenges, I trust my intuition to know where to go, when to stop or turn around. This is all part of the sacred mountain wisdom.
Since I was a child, I’ve responded to this innate urge to go up, to climb into the trees, the hills, the mountains everywhere I go. Seeking creative ways to focus my body and mind together, I move upward against Earth’s gravitational pull in the most efficient ways I know possible. Rock climbing, highlining and BASE jumping are my chosen disciplines where I get to play with the unforgiving elements of nature. Through them I get to confront my deepest fears and encounter my greatest strengths. As an athlete and photographer, I attempt to capture this magic for others to experience through my lens.
MOUNTAIN has been touring the world for the last year, alongside a live performance soundtrack from The Australian Chamber Orchestra, and is debuting in New York for its U.S. release on May 11th. It’s a truly breathtaking visual masterpiece that tells the essence of what draws mankind to the dangerous heights of mountains, the outer limits of our fear and the ultimate pursuit of outdoor adventure. I’m extremely grateful and elated to see a glimpse of Moab’s incredible athletic achievements featured in such a world-class film and am excited to have contributed some of my archival video footage to its creation. What an honor to be alive.
Roughly 400 rag-tag dirt bags and silent heroes from across the globe gather in the sandstone cliffs outside of Moab during Thanksgiving 2015 for Gobble Gobble Bitches Yea and Turkey Boogie; two festivals that are dedicated to supporting each spark that engulfs the imagination and pushes the limits of human possibility. Within 10 days, 17 highlines were strung, two space nets suspended and one Russian BASE swing constructed in the middle of the desert by dreamers, inventors, and influential creators coming together to create an unstoppable community. “It’s a cool environment to do groundbreaking things with talented people. It always has been and will continue to be that way.” says Scott Rogers, Director of the upcoming Wingate Motion film “Sky Tribe”. This group creates an atmosphere only portrayed in the Hollywood blockbusters, like finding the magical wardrobe or taking the red pill; you feel like you’ve made it to Neverland.
The tight, red canyon walls drop more than 350 feet below leaving you standing at a precipice of possibilities. Everywhere you look you are surrounded by the world’s best of the best in extreme sports, and each one of them is here to collaborate with your inspiration. That is where Scott Rogers and Cody Tuttle, Co-Directors of Wingate Motion, come into play. Documenting such incredible feats was a no-brainer for these two alongside the help of Brian Mosbaugh, Corey McCarthy, and Sarah Taz. Scott and Brian are two of the original Moab Monkeys and have been a part of the festival since it started many years ago. “At the beginning, we were setting world records every year. At the very first GGBY we rigged a 135 foot highline with Terry Acomb called ‘A Walk In The Sun’ and that was a world record. Several years later, Andy Lewis walked a 330 foot line which was the first highline longer than 100 meters,” Scott remarked. While records never have been a priority at the festival, they tend to happen thanks to the creative, open, and energetic people who gather there year after year.
Photo: Cody Tuttle
It was only a matter of time before the world would find out about GGBY and the Turkey Boogie events held in Moab. In eight years, the GGBY event grew from a mere 15 people on a camping trip to 400 people choosing “the outlaws over their in-laws” as Scott describes. With the growing community, 2015 was the biggest event yet, with GGBY and the Turkey Boogie mashed together for the second year in a row. The Wingate Motion production team hung off cliff faces, climbed tall boulders, and bounced across 4WD desert roads to work with the most talented Wingsuiters, BASE jumpers, and Highliners in the world. Over the week we captured the first two-way wingsuit flight off of Castleton Tower, the longest human anchored highline, the rope swing to BASE and Russian swing to BASE, just to name a few. “The cool thing about the event is that it’s a collection of so many awesome people that are so creative and so open to expressing their creativity uninhibited, because it is such an open and welcoming environment that it’s conducive for doing new and cool things,” says Scott. And that’s exactly what Wingate was able to capture.
Photo: Cody Tuttle
Wingate’s “Sky Tribe” lives somewhere between the documentation of the rare extreme sports we all know and love, and the embrace of the friends and outlaws we love as family. This community is built upon striving for more as a whole, thus empowering the individual; making each world record event a group achievement, which can’t be explained better than witnessing the human anchored highline. “That’s why we are making this film, to not only document this amazing event, but to inspire other people and other communities to continue doing things that they are passionate about; to grow, to create, to inspire others who continue to increase the collective amount of good things that we still have as humans in this world and try to offset the bad.” Scott describes the passion behind the film project we all share at Wingate. This film will unveil a totally new world for anyone who has not experienced the BASE or Highlining community, creating the feeling of a world hidden in another reality. This is our family, our Sky Tribe, and we encourage you to share, join in the fun, and to hopefully be inspired to go out with your own tribe and discover the realm of human possibility.
Check out how the 9th annual Turkey Boogie/GGBY gathering has grown in yet another Red Bull featured video below. A tribute to the slacklove that Terry Acomb has so graciously offered to the world of extreme sport athletes exploring the red rock wilderness of Moab, Utah.
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!
Monkey missions in Moab typically consist of several adventure sports all coming together in beautiful locations and with an amazing group of talented friends. This past week of shenanigans was no different and in typical monkey fashion I’ve stepped away from the experience reviewing the photos, videos and memories with a sense of overwhelming awe and appreciation for all the incredible people and life pursuits we’re collectively creating here in this desert paradise… The privilege of being surround by so many inspiring and gifted people in this outdoor community is a constant reminder that life is continually moving toward new adventurous pursuits that we all get to share with one another.
Andy Lewis finishing up his sunset sends of Demonix and Diabolix. Walking from one desert tower to another and back to the desert rim to finish up the days work.
All in all, four separate desert towers were summited (The Warlock, The Cauldrons and The Witch), two beautiful tower highlines establishhed and four new BASE jumping exits opened. As far as logistics go, it took a solid 3-4 days of hot exposed adventure rigging/climbing to gain access to all these points in order to prepare for the accomplishments ahead. With two new highlines established; Demonix (51 meters/167 feet long) and Diabolix (67 meters/220 feet long) many visiting slackliners saw new personal bests go down. Seeing so many people struggle through fear, apprehension and difficult circumstances, while having success in the end, is always an inspiring note to end on. Scott Rogers, recovering from a very serious tib/fib fracture only six months ago, successfully walked both highlines (setting a new PR) and joined myself on a BASE jump from the summit of The Warlock tower, which hasn’t happened in what seems a long time. Sharing these types of adventures together as a group of friends and athletes always brings us closer and I love seeing the elated smile of my friends after landing a canopy. It’s a precious moment that I lack words to describe its excellence.
Watching my personal heroes overcome huge life obstacles and come out on top as wiser better people reminds me that I’m surrounded by the right crowd and instills pride in my heart. This community has always inspired me to improve my focus and balance and this past adventure helped stoke the fire even more as the summer heat kicks in and the desert adventures continue on. It was a pleasure sharing this experience with everyone involved (Faith Dickey, J.R. Racine, Ray Diaz, Daniel Albrecht, Monica Beck, Parker Gales, Dan Krauss, Aleta Edinger, and Scott Rogers) and I know we’ve all stepped away from the experience as better people with a bigger smile on our face and new stories to someday share with the grandchildren. I hope everyone continues to love life, push themselves in new directions and share amazing experiences with the precious people they’re surrounded by. Slack on!
Continuing the slacklife with yet another Jay Bird promotional video, Ryan Robinson and I payed a visit to one of my favorite desert lines which we established this previous summer together. During the original rigging of “Arch Nemesis,” Ryan had a lot of trouble staying on the highline due to its unfamiliar exposure, but upon our return and with a month of training behind him he came back with a vengeance and crushed it like a boss. We spent a total of two days re-rigging this gem and walking its length with happy repetition in front of a camera. In my opinion, this unique highline stands alone in the vast desert of Moab’s red rock country as a 5 star line for anyone psyched on esthetics and lengths of 170 feet. Seeing these ancient natural creations and interacting with the surrounding environment always makes me appreciate natures unmatched ability to carve out art in this rugged landscape. Its always an honor to walk in this beautiful place, exploring new heights and progressing our personal abilities to balance and create artistic expressions in space. This project made for another fun opportunity to present a taste of Utah’s breathtaking scenery and grandeur, which always stretches on as far as the eye can see.
True commitment to adventure has its undeniable moments of peril and fear, but what it offers in return is an unparalleled sense of contentment and bliss with the world around you. It’s definitely not the luxury life that it’s made out to be, there are still many stresses, doubts and moments of depression to combat, but when it comes down to the important issues I feel incredibly happy to live this way despite the very real dramas and consequences that come up occasionally. For example, losing close friends and acquaintances more regularly is a part of this lifestyle choice, and because of this fact you learn to really appreciate the small things in day to day life which are commonly overlooked. Drinking coffee with your friends in the morning, sharing moments of debauchery and laughter, walking with two functioning legs and feet, these are all amazing things to be thankful for. Because of the inherit risk of injury and death, we experience a profound appreciation for being in good health and staying so active in a beautiful world. What I’m trying to convey is that it’s not always glamorous recreation… It is, however, rewarding in countless other ways which can only be felt in the heat of moment, through a shared smile and glance amongst friends, living life on the edge of risk and reward.
Ever since I began committing myself fully to the elevated adventures of rock climbing, highlining and now BASE jumping, I’ve felt a greater sense of peace and connection with the natural world around me. Its led to some of the closest friendships and relationships I’ve ever had and has certainly been the greatest roller coaster I’ve ever been a part of. There are ups and downs along the ride, balanced between moments of fear and elation, bliss and depression, but ultimately its all been a part of the journey and you eventually learn to appreciate every spectrum of the experience. After spending close to 5 disciplined years living out of a car, traveling along a seasonal migration pattern in pursuit of better weather, rock and higher perspectives, I’ve now come to appreciate having a real home base in Moab, surrounded by some of the most talented and genuinely alive people I’ve ever come to know. We spend our days as self directed adventurers, basically exploring the vast desert which surrounds us and taking on whatever creative outdoor projects comes to mind. Alongside this story, we find ourselves documenting the experience in an attempt to both convey the beauty and focus required to accomplish such feats, which can only be achieved by repeatedly overcoming dangerous scenarios through calculated risk and dedicated training. It goes without saying, that a lot of what we’re doing is conceived of as ‘crazy’ and ‘excessively risky’ by the general populace, and this is true to some extent, but the difference I find in our perspectives stems from an overall miscommunication of life philosophy… I could just as easily make the life choice to spend my days working in an office, making money on a predictable schedule and having insurance policies to pay for annual dental check ups. Or… I could choose to shrug off some of the societal expectations and material wealth to instead LIVE in the moment and in pursuit of a path where risk and bliss exist on a thin line that’s incredibly fun to balance along. These situations aren’t necessarily exclusive to one another, happiness and freedom not being allowed in the office setting that is, but they often lead to different life approaches with different life choices. The reward for regularly pushing past my fears with better honed focus allows me to see the world with new eyes and experience profound levels of happiness with my friends always by my side. It’s hard to explain really, but at the epicenter of this lifestyle is the ability to truly enjoy the fleeting and beautiful moments that pass by during this finite time we all have to share together, here and now.
That being said, it’s alway a pleasure working with other creative and talented artists/companies who find a similar passion of documenting these adventures in a professional manner. Both Daniel Moore and myself, recently had the opportunity to collaborate with the company Jay Bird, who produces some of the nicest and most comfortable wireless ear buds I’ve ever had the pleasure of listening to. Because of the incorporated blue tooth technology, you get to experience a crisp and clean sound without the annoyance of wires getting caught up in your clothing, harness or BASE rig, while still enjoying your favorite tunes to get you pumped up to power your passion. Together, we did a quick evening commercial shoot with these guys jumping one of the most classic Moab BASE exits, known as Tombstone. This incredible rock feature is an astounding sandstone monolith that has over 400 vertical feet to free fall and fly, all while being a short 30 minute hiking approach from the parking lot where you land your parachute. A classic jump by all definitions of the word. Anyway, I hope you all enjoy the video which tells a story of friendship and adventure shared between two close friends who pursue a passion of freedom only achieved by letting go of your fears and jumping into the void.
I've committed my life to the pursuit of world exploration and pushing the boundaries of human limits. I have a strong passion for climbing technical rock routes, BASE jumping in the mountains and walking lines of 1-inch webbing at varying heights. In this shared space I hope to convey the stories of inspiring outdoor communities and individuals who interact with nature adventurously.
Slackline Media is a shared platform where all forms of slackline and other adventure sport related news, blogs, projects, photos and films can be openly viewed and appreciated. It showcase the evolving lifestyle of actively balanced individuals who are continually pushing the boundaries of human achievement.