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.