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!
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.
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!
~ Brian Mosbaugh
Getting into the world of BASE jumping could easily be considered both the worst and best decision I’ve ever made in life. That being said, I feel extremely happy about the introduction of a new adventure and passion, accepting whatever consequences may come from this choice. One of my defining character traits is that I love and appreciate life for all its dramas, both the ups and downs, and I do my best to fully accept all spectrums of the experience. With this new chapter, I’m hoping to experience unique elevated perspectives and explore greater opportunities for world travel, community bonding and gain a better understanding of my mind and gravity. Although obvious before every jump, there exists the lingering reality of femurs shattering, friends cratering and life expectancies being cut short. As terrible as that may sound, I fully understand there are no guarantees in this sport, which accurately describes the very nature of what ‘living’ has come to mean for me over the years… I wouldn’t define myself as an adrenaline junkie by any means, although I do embrace the natural high from time to time, but the real reward and conquest is in overcoming your fear and celebrating the minds ability to push through hard circumstances. Accepting your potential fate while on the edge of a cliff, bridge, building, etc. and distilling it all down to a fast paced moment of focused flight feels incredibly liberating and freeing from a culture that insists on safety nets, insurance policies and supposed guarantees. The sensation of falling and being saved by your own canopy is all very fleeting and a matter of trust, so it reminds me of a condensed lesson in a greater appreciation for the life experience. To make the best of the adventure and enjoy every passing moment no matter how short or prolonged it can be!
Joey California pulling low for a water landing
What I can say confidently so far about this new reality shift is the over all experience of momentary flight and relaxation is absolutely unparalleled to anything I’ve yet endeavored in my 28 years of living. The free-fall in space is mind blowing, the sound and feeling of air rushing past your body exhilarating, and the quiet canopy flight pure joy; adding to the delicious icing layer of this mouth watering cake. In pondering other methods to get my adventure fix, maybe crack-cocaine would have been a better life choice for a multitude of reasons… I’m sure the the longer high would comparatively outweigh the heavy repercussions of potentially ending your life so quickly, but somehow smoking from a glass pipe and having rotten teeth seems a less glamorous and more dangerous decision at this particular junction… Anyway, I stray from the points at hand so let me bring it back to the present. As a new jumper in this sport, I respect the learning curve and am staying highly aware of my own intuition and comfort levels. This honesty has rarely led me astray in perilous situations so I’m hoping to maintain a consistent ‘on heading performance’ with this mind set throughout the journey.
Moments before a 5 front flip TARD aerial
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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