This year’s annual Rhythms of Rimba festival was hosted in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, where a gathering of conservation focused scientists, artists, musicians and activists came together to share ideas and passions about the changing planet. Environmental awareness and education was at the forefront of this event’s theme, where the public got to participate in all sorts of interactive outdoor experiences (such as the space net and slacklines) while also learning about important environmental issues and our human impact on the Earth’s biosphere.
We live in a complex world together and our future hinges on the ability to cultivate better balance with our surroundings and create more harmonious relationships with the diverse wildlife sharing this living space. The slackline is a great metaphor for this challenge, providing an opportunity to play outside, find our center, breath deeper and tread a little lighter. Fun is fun, and when people of all ages, religious backgrounds and different nationalities come together to smile, laugh, balance and enjoy the outdoors, a new language is communicated and something transcendent happens.
The space net similarly provided an experience for everyone to sit back, slow down and enjoy the natural beauty of a sunset with strangers. Ultimately our human net-worth is only as strong as our capacity to net-work with one another.
Thanks so much to Anton Ngui and Linn Yong for pouring so much blood, sweat and tears into this event year after year, it was an honor to be a part of your vision. A big bow of appreciation goes out to my main rigging and adventure partner Scott Rogers for joining in the epic adventure, it was surely one we’ll never forget. To Tree Net Willy for coming through with some desperately needed paracord and nets at the last minute. And finally to all the other participants, local bad asses, speakers, bus drivers, DJs, hotel staff, etc. who helped out in the process, you are greatly appreciated. This kind of collaboration doesn’t happen without a community who supports it.
As a lover of mountains I often find myself seduced by the siren’s call 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.
A new evolution of space net rigging finds its way into the mainstream media as a worlds first music gig high in the sky above Queenstown, New Zealand. Sponsored by Jägermeister and featuring the UK sensation band Modestep, this was truly a project of epic proportions. The space net has now found another use outside of its extreme platform for sports such as BASE jumping, rope swings and highlining around the world, having been converted into a globe trotting suspended musical stage. Who would have thought, right? What a pleasure it was working with the wonderful staff at Jägermeister this past September in the beautifully scenic countryside of New Zealand, especially while getting to know the witty and talented musical duo of Modestep. Pat Lundy and Josh Friend, you two are legends!
There’s so much that takes place behind the scenes to make a project like this become a reality so I wanted to officially recognize the hard work and efforts of Secret Compass, who helped coordinate this event with me for 15 months leading up to the live gig itself. Tom McShane, Tom Bodkin and Dave Lucas you guys are amazing individuals who really worked your butts off to get this ball rolling and on time. To all the invaluable local New Zealand mountain guides: Hugh Barnard, Davie Robinson, Bruce Dowrick, Tarn Pilkington and Tony McCutheon, without you all we would have been lost in the cold wilderness for a long time. To AJ Sutherland, Donna Allen, Tim Reid and Tim Pierce your audio and visual expertise allowed us to have real sound in real nature. Tony Young, thanks for creating all the stunning aerial drone shots that made for a beautiful cinematic touch. Geoff Ellis, you persevered in working around the clock to create the necessary perspex platforms for all the instruments and band. Heli Glenorchy, your piloting skills in the backcountry are top notch and nothing short of perfection. Sherwood Queenstown thanks for looking after us and providing ample flat whites for our caffeine needs every morning. Last but not least, my main rigging hand and long time adventure partner, Scott Rogers, you’re such an incredibly talented professional to have at my side when undertaking these big commercial stunts. Your thoroughness and diligence in all these impressive endeavors with the Moab Monkeys never goes unnoticed. The same can be said of Cody Tuttle, of Wingate Motion, who was one of the principal shooters for the main feature and ‘behind the scenes’ video seen below. Your artistic eye and fierce courage to get the shot in the toughest of circumstances is truly inspiring. A lot more could be elaborated about the trials and tribulations of this crazy project but I’ll simply let the videos speak for themselves. Thanks everyone for all the hard work and enthusiasm on this breathtaking worlds first live music gig high in the sky. Cheers!
Two years ago I embarked on a journey into the Himalayan mountains of Nepal that would profoundly shake my personal beliefs and be the beginning of a beautiful cross-culture family relationship. Accompanied by a small group of filmmakers, close friends and Nepali mountain guides, we spent a month in the country interviewing, documenting and setting the foundation for the film you see below. Over the past couple years, many trips have been made back to Nepal by parts of our original expedition crew of Scott Rogers, Cody Tuttle, Cherise Tuttle, David Porter, Suresh Nepali, Tenjing Sherpa, Phuri Sherpa and myself to make this film a reality.
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Nyima is a modern day story of a low-caste Dalit family struggling to survive in the isolated Himalayan village of Samagaun. It examines the shifting cultural dynamics of a developing young girl, Nyima, who lives in a raw and unforgiving mountain environment. Pushed to the outskirts of her remote village, this intimate narrative is told through the curious mind of a young protagonist searching for answers about her identity as a human and Untouchable outcast member of society. The viewer will go on a beautiful cinematic journey examining the responsibilities and struggles of daily life for this unique Untouchable family, which lives in stark contrast to the first world experience. This film offers breathtaking scenery with a rich cultural lens focused on the greater social problems of the caste system in Nepal.
While every Dalit person is born into the social caste system with limited choice or chance toward radical self improvement, there exist a growing number of developing Nepalese communities whom are breaking free from the confines of their social oppression. As a younger generation gains better access toward greater social equality and more educational resources, many outdated cultural taboos and oppressive ideas of identity are shifting. The implications of these progressive younger communities are becoming the catalyst for a new Nepal shifting toward a brighter and more educated future.
As a group of adventure filmmakers, we want to continue our exploration of Nepal’s beautifully diverse culture and continue to produce impactful media on the subject. By studying the different ethnic groups affected by the institutionalized caste system we hope to draw greater global awareness to it and be a catalyst for social change. From the pristine mountains of the Himalayas, to the busy street life of Kathmandu, caste discrimination is an obvious part of the country’s rigid social hierarchy. Through access to better education for Untouchables and giving the silently oppressed populace a platform to speak, our media and fundraising efforts provoke powerful cultural reflection alongside real human support. We are personally invested in helping the wonderfully generous and authentic people who so kindly have shared their intimate stories, lives and strife with us.
Human rights; to see the change that is teetering on the edge of society come into fruition. We want to see each child, no matter their social standing have the opportunity to receive education so they can become influential and an integral part of their society.
I just got back from the humid jungles of Borneo, where myself and other members of the Moab Monkey crew installed a new custom space net in celebration of preserving biodiversity. We spent the past week enjoying the sights and sounds of Sandakan, Borneo, rigging a colorful “Jungle Nest” above a beautiful lake at the Rainforest Discovery Centre. This was all coordinated as part of an amazing annual festival to celebrate, preserve and teach about the immediate need to protect our rapidly disappearing jungle environments. Over a two day period, hundreds of professional artists, educators and musicians gathered at the 2015 Rhythms of Rimba celebration to share their thoughts, concerns and plans to slow the destruction of their surrounding jungle. During the event it was our duty to facilitate over 200 people from the general public, getting in and out of the suspended net (with a huge amount of help from local Bornean climbers), to enjoy a new perspective of the canopy life around them. Although our role may not have been as educational as the professional lectures given, it offered attendees the opportunity to push themselves past comfort levels in their beautiful home and see new perspectives along the way. We also took advantage of this time to rig several slacklines in the area to teach the general public how to walk again. This gave them a greater appreciation for their own personal balance and mind power, which empowers humans for life.
One of the biggest steps in preserving the rapidly disappearing jungles, due to expanding palm oil plantations and other forms of corporate exploitation, is the simple act of educating people on the importance of protecting biodiversity as a whole. If you don’t understand the fragility of your own home or wildlife, you’re less likely to take a stand against its destruction. Similarly, if you don’t value its natural presence then you won’t see the absolute need for its existence. This is why the festival was created, to make a positive impact on the surrounding communities and take a stand against the decimation of our own biodiversity.
Orangutans in rehabiliation
Orangutans in rehabiliation
Sun Bears in rehabilitation
Sun Bears in rehabilitation
Sun Bears in rehabilitation
By deforesting our rainforests in the name of human greed we simultaneously destroy all fragile ecosystems, plants and animals that require them to live, including ourselves. Borneo supports over 15,000 different plant species alone, which rivals that of the entire African continent, and may well represent the highest level of over all plant diversity on planet Earth. A lot of this vegetation remains endemic to the unique island of Borneo, so when rampant deforestation and wildfires takes place, as a direct result of the growing palm oil industry, this precious life disappears forever. When you take into account that many endangered species are already struggling to live on this large island (the thirds largest in the world after Greenland and New Guinea), such as the colugo flying squirrels, pygmy elephants, Sumatran rhinos, orangutans, clouded leopards, gibbons and sun bears, you realize many changes need to be made in regard to our human behaviors and priorities for this biodiversity to continue existing. If drastic changes aren’t made more life will be lost and our future generations will be deprived of a more diverse world to live in.
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