Saturday, September 26, 2009

Summer Time – Part 1: „Sokoliki Highline Trip 2009” – making up backlog

It's really strange that vacation went so fast. So many things happend yet, still I didn't follow through with many plans. This was a vacation of slacklining, longlining and highlining for sure, but I didn't climb as much as I wanted to. It was however a time of lucky coincidences, I met a lot of nice people, saw new places, visited old ones, and developed my skills to some extent. I'm convinced I spent this time in a good way. Once again I have to make up backlog on this blog. As always I didn't have enough time to be up-to-date with writing.
I'll start from the first part of my summer trip - highline week spent in Sokoliki Mountains in Poland.

Damian on the "Tabor" campsite - happiness at the sight of all this gear?

Damian and I arrivet to Sokoliki on the 30th of June. On the first day we set up (for the second time in history) "Big Air" Highline between "Sukiennice" and "Krzywa Turnia" Rocks (36 meters length, 30 meters height). Rigging as always didn't go smoothly but definitely faster than the last time.

Rigging - on the picture you can see two Climbing Technology metal rings taped together

I was the first to go. Somewhere before the middle I unexpectedly took a leash-fall. I was feeling a little bit surprised because the last time I walked the line OS & full-man.

Coming back after leash-fall

On the second go I walked it both ways. Still such a length was a little bit challenging for me. I thought that I would put off walking it in a swami-belt. Damian had really good try walking the highline in the direction of "Sukiennice" Rock. Unfortunately he fell dwon two or three steps before the end. His foot slipped off from the new webbing (the webbing was really slippery!).

So close!

On the way back he went on his first try! Damian is the second person now which has walked the longest highline in Poland!

Damian cruising ...

That day Damian was tried to walk "Big Air" in the direction of "Sukiennice" Rock one more time, and Kajtek sat and fell down on the highline.


Finally, because of cold and windy weather we went back to "Tabor" campsite. On the second day we went with all needed equipment (driller and 4 bolts bought from Micaj) to place anchors for the new highline between "Sokoliki" Rocks. We were really enthusiastic about the possibility of doing something new. Right as we placed an anchor on the "Duży Sokolik" Rock, raindrops began falling from the sky. What we could do? We just covered the bolts with duck-tape and ran away to hide under "Sukiennice" Rock overhang.

Team ...

... drilling.

And if you don't have enough glue ... just use chocolate evaporated milk ;)

The thunderstorm was raging for about three hours, the black clouds pouring out a huge amount of water and clapping with thunders into surrounding rocks. Finally the wall started to getting soaked more and more, so we moved under a bigger overhang. After some time our location got terribly wet. We were just waiting for when the storm would subside ...

Raining again ... Kajtek under "Sukiennice" Rock overhang

While we were hiking down at last, the storm got stronger again. Hiking down changed quickly into a downhill-slide ;). We reached campsite totally wet.
Because we couldn't do anything in those weather conditions, together with Tomek, aka "Soya", we decided to take a walk to the small village in the valley to buy something to eat and see what was going on down there, what with the huge storm and all. What we saw in Karpniki was definitely worse than we had imagined. A small mountain spring changed into a fast river. Some guy was explaining to us that the water level was even higher then before.
You could see everywhere damage, broken bridges, and destroyed routes. Practically everyone in the village had a flooded house. We bought something to eat and went back to our safe campsite.

"Big Air" Highline - view from Karpniki village

On the way back it cleared up and soon the sun was shining again - really strange weather!
Tomek showed off with his culinary talent by cooking delicious soup. We spent the rest of the day on a slackline just to keep on moving. Tomek probably walked his longest slackline OS that day. Damian and Kajtek went home for two days to take care of some business.

Tomek "Soya" slacklining on the "Tabor" campsite

Rainy slackin' (photo by Radek)

During the next couple days we were fighting with the weather. We were alternating hiking up and down escaping from rain/storm on a steep trail with all the equipment in our backpacks. We decided to deposit our gear near "Sokoliki" Rocks after a few of the laps, but when we climbed to the highest rock in the area we were right in the eye of the storm. That was just too much for our psyche. We packed all needed gear into Tomek's haul-bag and put it into a plastic bag. Then we hid under some boulders. Apparently the tactics seemed to be effective and next evening we placed the second anchor on the "Mały Sokolik" Rock.

Drilling ...

Evening view from the top of "Mały Sokolik" Rock

In the morning my 'czech brother' - Kwjet showed up. Tomek and I set up a new highline, "6th Avenue". Everything was going smoothly and after an hour the highline was ready.

Rigging ...

I went first. I think for the first time in my life I decided to try on-sight a highline in a swami-belt. That was quite intense but luckily I walked it OS and didn't have to check if a leash-fall in a swami is painful.

"6th Avenue" Highline - 1st ascent (OS & full-man)

Tomek has been trying hard after me but the atmosphere was really tense. Nothing strange - groups of tourists observing and commenting on every move you do is not so helpful if you want to walk the first highline in your life!

Stress ...

Next in turn was Kwjet. Of course walking 15 meters long highline wasn't a problem for him. Without any problem he walked OS both ways. I was really happy that he liked the location, highline and my rigging style.
BTW I'm recommending this place for a "first time" highline. The distance between this rocks is not so scary - it's only 15 meters, the highline is perfectly horizontal and you can start really safe from the standing position on both sides. Maybe exposure is not so small but it's a highline. Isn't it:D ?!

Kwjet Oslaf - 2nd ascent

Reaction from comparing anchors with the old anchor used on a "Big Boy" Highline - "really, that was the anchor?!" :P

After this short 'warm-up' we went for the "Big Air" Highline. Kwjet played some of his 'psytrance' sets on his earphones and literally walked this highline as if in a trance (there must be some connection with his psytrance sets on his mp3 :P). His walk did not go without some fight but mainly it was really smooth and impressed me very much! I was probably almost as happy as Kwjet was. I walked the highline both ways also. Then together with Tomek we relaxed on the top of "Krzywa Turnia" Rock with some special herbs ;) ...

Kwjet Oslaf - 2nd ascent in OS & full-man style, 3rd in general

Next morning Tomek woke me up really early. I was thinking, "How can he wake up so early? How is it possible?". Anyway, early in the morning we hiked up to the "Sokoliki" Rocks. Tomek was ready to go before "tourists attack". This time "soya" started from "Mały Sokolik" side. He was definitely motivated that day. After a short moment of hesitation he stepped on the line and walked it on the first try this day. After a minute all Sokoliki and probably even people on the campsite below heard Tomek's scream of victory. We hiked down in really good mood to the campsite. During the rest of the day I was climbing and highlining.

Tomek "Soya" Ostrowski on the "6th Avenue" highline (3rd ascent, one-way)

Damian returned on Saturday. Michał "Korny" also arrived to Sokoliki Mountains and Artur "Idil". Straight away we went for a shorter highline between "Sokoliki" Rocks. Damian went first, in a swami - the same as me. He walked it without any problem OS both directions.

Damian "Deamon" Czermak (4th ascent, 2nd ascent in a OS & full-man & swami style)

Next person to go was Artur. After a couple of tries he decided to rest. Respect for all his attempts. That was his first highline and he was starting from "chongo" and catching webbing every time!

Artur "Idil" Kwieciński

After Artur went Michał "Korny". On his second try he reached the second end. Unbroken calmness on his first highline - I guess it means he has strong psyche :P? The way back he walked it on his first try. All this after only 5 or 6 months of slacklining in general!
Wonderful slackliner! :D

Happiness - "Korny" style

Michał "Korny" Korniewicz on the "6th Avenue" Highline (5th ascent, full-man)

That day we met two czech guys climbing on the route near "our ledge". One of them walked the highline OS & full-man. Bravo!

Next happy person :) ...

Ondra on the "6th Avenue" Highline (6th ascent, OS & full-man)

That was the last person which walked this highline on our 'highline trip' in Sokoliki Mountains. Never before in polish slackline-history had so many persons walked one highline on one trip. Sometimes it was really crowded on our small ledge. The name of the highline came from the number of people who walked it. We had a lot of fun and a good atmosphere for sure! I'll remember those moments for a long time. I think besides walking on a highline the most pleasant feeling is sharing "highline-time" with other "dudes". Thanks for everyone for a really good time and beautiful fights on a highline! It's a pity that Artur and Kajtek didn't reach the second end of the webbing, though I know they were able to do it. It's not the most important thing, but next time we will not allow you to leave without walking it ;) !




Party? Kwjet and his psytrance dancing ... he, he

Despite bad weather, Damian completed his full-man ascent on the "Big Air" Highline the same day.

Damian "Deamon" Czermak on the "Big Air" Highline - full-man ascent

"Fuck Yeah!" ?

That time I walked "6th Avenue" Highline in a swami a couple times to make my mind stronger.

After this together with Kwjet we tried new tricks on a highline. Then we went to check out a new spot for a highline between "Jastrzębia Turnia" and "Rogatka" Rocks. We climbed on both of them to check if there was a need to place some extra bolts. It seemed that place is ready to walk!* (* I executed this project together with Faith Dickey on 17th of August 2009, but about this I'll write later)

Kwjet on the ledge of "Jastrzębia Turnia" Rock - in the background "Big Air" Highline

For a good end of the day together with Kwjet we climbed on the route "Ambroży" (7a) on the "Krzywa Turnia" Rock.

Kwjet on the "Ambroży"

and 'vigilant' baleyer ;)

On Sunday we were highlining on "6th Avenue" Highline for the last time. "Korny" walked it again confirming his good slackline-shape. Kajtek and Artur were trying hard for the last time.

Artur - "the last battle"

I was training my new exercise; breaking main rule - "don't look down!" by looking down while walking. I think it's a good way to improve your sense of direction and mind-strength.

"Don't look down!"

In the evening we broke down both highlines and all friends besides "Soya" went home. Tomek and I packed our backpacks again and the next day we went to Berlin.

"This is the end ..."

Jarek "Blondas" Liwacz gave us a ride to the railway station in Jelenia Góra and at that point starts new story ...

Damian on the "Big Air" Highline (movie)

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