Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Praha - Slackline Paradise

I received some news from 'czech brother' Kwjet about big longline and highline session in Prague. In this case word "BIG" was really suitable. In the plans were a 152 meters longline in 'Stromovka' Park and a 57 meters highline called "Wild Sarah". That was Kwjet's one year old highline project. This was so tempting that I didn't even think about the decision - I just went there. I decided to hitch-hike to Prague because I did not have enough money for transportation and living expenses on the trip. I took Faith to the bus to the airport (she went to London for a week) and then started hitch-hiking. It took a very short time to get to my destination (5 hours and 3 rides). I went by metro from "Cerny Most" to "Ferenc" station where I met with Kwjet. We spend the whole evening drinking beer and smoking joints with our czech friends (Smolda, Peeto and Klara). The night before I left I only slept about 2 hours so I became tired very quickly. When I got to Kwjet's apartment I fell asleep like a brick.
The next day Kwjet woke me
up really early and we went for some longline action. We set up 97 meters and 152 meters longlines.

Our set up for 152 meters longline :)

More friends arrived to longline (I don't remember all names). Kolouch and my polish friend Damian showed up when the lines was already hanging.
For the warm-up I on-sighted 97 meters line which had about 1,5 meters of sag. Before me Kwjet walked it in this style without any problem
of course. He must be some kind of longline-machine ;).
I tried 152 meters longline and I walked it OS & full-man. I was really happy. I pushed my longline limits again in the best style.

On the 152 meters longline in "Stromovka" Park

Damian Czermak also walked this line. He did it one way on his 2nd try and other OS. For the rest of the day I was playing on the lines, listening to some really good D&B sets, having fun. I walked 152 meters longline 4 times without falling and many, many times 97 meters line.

Damian on the 152 meters longline

After the longline session we moved to Kwjet's house to rest and eat a bit and then went for some Urban Ninja Highline action in the centre of Prague next to the National Theatre. We rigged 36 meters long highline 6 meters above the river, between the stone column of a fence and a tree on the other side. We didn't use any back-up, only webbing - "White Magic" attached to slackline-bananas (this webbing is 31kN strength). That was enough, and even if we would add back-up there you would fall into water anyway. It made this highline a little bit harder (you didn't want to take a whipper) and it was pretty dark. It was really hard on the way to the tree. You could hardly see the end of webbing. The other direction it was easier because there were some lamps on a street nearby. Kwjet went first. After a couple of catches he walked it full-man.

Kwjet going for the first ascent :) ...

Kwjet after perfect slackline/highline day - pure happiness! ;)

I went after Kwjet. Luckily I walked OS & full-man, but at one time I was really close to falling and catching the webbing.

Prague's Ninjas Gap - OS & full-man

After me was Damian. He walked it, and on the way back he even surfed the line a bit.

Damian "Daemon" Czermak - surfing on a line

This highline was walked by Petr "Peeto" Kucera and Kolouch as well. Congrats for everyone!
After beautiful end of this epic day we went to a bar, drank some beer, listened to rock music and went back to Kwjet's to sleep. We needed to rest a bit before D-Day - setting up and attempting the 57 meters long highline "Wild Sarah".

Photo gallery from the 1st day (longline session and urban highline action)

Video from the "Ninja Urban" Highline by Kolouch

Next day we went for the most important part of our trip to Prague - "Wild Sarah" Highline. It is located on the outskirts of the town. To get there from Kwjet's place we had to go by tram, metro and one more tram. The way there took almost one hour, but it was worth it. It's really rad that right in this city you have beautiful highline place with a lot of potential (Kwjet has one highline project there called "Mother-fucker" and it's about 80m long. There is space even for something longer!) .

Highline Paradise

Rigging was really nice. Both anchors were totally natural. We used 9m long 2 tons slings (with 7:1 factor) and clip to them webbing and 8mm diameter dynamic back-up rope. We used 3 tons orange webbing and leave pulleys system on a webbing. Everything was backed-up. After pulling and taping the line Kwjet went for the first ascent. The line looked really shaky, and Kwjet which is really good in highlining and looks normally really stable that time had big struggle on the line. I thought it's not a good sign ...

Kwjet attempting 57 meters long "Wild Sarah" Highline

I tried the "Wild Sarah" highline after him. I had some really good attempts. My best one was when I got somewhere to the middle and then took a big whipper. The line was too lose. I even didn't expect that I would fly so far away from the webbing! It just happened in a split of second. Damian also had some really good attempts.
After this we decided we needed to un-tape the line, release the pulleys system, remove slack from slackline-banana on the other side and then tight the webbing more. That was a lot of work, but it was good decision. I went again with a good mood and hopefully quite a clear mind. On my second try I was really close to the end however the leash fell out from my harness belt and I stepped on it a couple of times the fell at the end. On the third try after big fight I reached the second and.

Going for the first ascent ... :D
For me it was the best highline moment ever. I felt so pumped and happy. Kwjet tried it one more time and after some nervousness and shakiness at the begging he got in the zone and walked the rest of the line as if in a trance. It was great to watch him. Damian had some really good attempts, but it was getting dark, and all of us were quite tired.

Damian on the "Wild Sarah" Highline

I was talking with Kwjet about our ascent about half an hour without any breaks. We were so happy! That was really a special moment. We didn't have time and strength to walk it back but we'll return to finish. Damian and I had to go earlier to the railway station. We missed out train and stayed in Kwjet's apartment one more night. In the morning we went back to Poland and that was the end ... Thanks again for everyone who made all of this possible!

Pictures Gallery from the "Wild Sarah" Highline

Video from "Wild Sarah" by Kolouch :)

Peace & SlackOn!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Autumn Longline Session

On 8th of October together with Faith and Korny we set up 100 meters longline on a new spot - in Park Szczytnicki.

Location of the new longline

After many rainy days that was the first time when sun came out and it was warm, not too windy ... Perfect conditions for a longline session. We tensioned the webbing with 4 double pulleys + ID and simple multiplayer. It was strange how easy it was to tension.

Tensioning the line ...

Maybe this length of webbing was not so special for Faith and I, but Korny had been trying to walk this distance for a long time. That day he walked it OS both ways. It was his first send of 100 meters. He looked really stable on the line and I have to admit it was quite impressive. I was really happy that he finally got what he wanted. Michał "Korny" Korniewicz is the third person in Poland who walked a slackline at least 100 meters long - CONGRATS buddy!

"Korny" on the longline

I could see that something switched in his mind or the way he moved (or both). It's hard to explain, but you could see the difference!
Korny left after he completed his ascent. Faith and I stayed there a bit longer, playing on the 100m longline. We did a couple of chongo-starts from the middle, double-drop knees, walk the line without using your hands etc.

Gear ... <3

Faith :)

At the end of the session we loosened the line totally (as much as we could) and walked it both ways. It was totally fun! I could see it was right decision to go for longlining. The weather from that time in Poland is still the same all the time - rain, wind, cold ... I want to go to US right now ...

Pictures Gallery

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Posts to come (MORE BACKLOG)

I wrote a couple of posts yet, but there's still a lot to do. So before I write about the present I want to deal with some action from the past. I think that it will be a lot of writing because I was slacklining and travelling a lot this summer ... So down below is a list of things I should write about, and it's a bit like a chronology of my last summer time ...

1. "Walk the Line 3" - slackline festival in Radolfzell,
2. Working as slackline presenter on the outdoor fair in Friedrischafen
3. Climbing in Chamonix together with Faith and Tomek,
4. Hitch-hiking back to Poland,
5. Urban Highline Festival in Lublin,
6. Tree-Highlines in Kraśnik,
7. "Wide Space" Highline
8. Next trip to Berlin,
9. Longlining in Wrocław (new polish longline record, and women longline record),
10. Presentation about slackline in Lądek Zdrój,
11. Highlining in Hejszowina together with Damian and Faith,
12. Urban Highlines in Warsaw

It's a lot of work to do ...

BTW Some news about the present and near future. Right now I'm training before the trip to the US. Together with Damian Czermak, Michał Korniewicz and hopefully Faith Dickey I'm going to do some rad highlining and climbing in Yosemite Valley, JTree, Moab and maybe some rocks in Texas. The weather is shitty right here in Wrocław, so probably I'll train more in a climbing gym then on a longlines and highlines, but I think it'll be good to come back to tough climbing training on the "Nora" and "Eiger" climbing walls. I hope the weather will be better and then we can climb in the rocks, longline and highline again before the trip.
Yesterday Faith and I went for some longlining in a new spot in my city. I tested a new pulley system, and set up a 100m longline alone without a big problem.

New pulley system ... (more pictures)

Walking this line was really difficult and I fell near the second anchor, Faith made it on her 2nd try. Anyway it was good to walk some longline after such a long time without slacklining, also checking new gear possibilities :) ...

Looking forward to the future ...
Peace & SlackOn to everyone!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Life is good in Berlin!

Even the trip to Berlin was quite an interesting adventure. We had some troubles with police on the railway station in Jelenia Góra. At the beginning it seemed that the reason was the mess of trash around us. We explained politely it was not our mess, and we put all the trash to dumpster. Next argument of the police was that we could not sit there if we didn't have tickets. We had our train in the evening, but probably to them sitting there should be for us a big privilege. They couldn't stop asking us questions about everything. Finally they asked Tomek: "Where you met? What is your profession?". After Tomek's explanation, which was also presentation of polish slackline and highline history, they left us alone. Probably these officers didn't want to admit they did not know what slackline and highline is.
We reached Zgorzelec late at the night, or maybe it was early in the morning already. Totally tired we jumped to the train going to Berlin. Tomek and I decided that we would not buy a ticket. Anyway I thought nobody would have the courage to wake us up and check our tickets, because we were so dirty and sleepy. Steeling a ride was a success, and on 6th of July 2009 we turned up "Warschauer Strasse" station in Berlin. From there we had really short distance to the climbing wall "Kegel", where Tomek is working. Soon it appeared that I would be there almost all the time, also a couple of nights. I could describe this four days I spent in Berlin as one big chill-out time. Together with Tomek I planned to set up a new waterline somewhere in a city centre. Last time when I was there, together with Tomek aka "Soya" I set up 30-40m meters length slackline above "Spree" river. That line was walked by Tomek, Matthias and I.

Slackline above "Spree" river (20th of June 2007)

Tomek aka "Soya"


We found a couple of really good spots, but at the end we decided to set up highline ... above big half-pipe in skatepark ("Skatehalle-Berlin"). It turned out that Tomek had some connections, specifically with Jana which is co-owner of this skatepark. After a short talk our project on the highline was confirmed. On 7th of July, at night we began our 'action'. We placed two bolts in concrete pillars on both sides, and then we connected them into one anchor. We placed crash-pads (borrowed from climbing wall) under the webbing on the ledge.

Drilling ...

Tomek has walked new highline as the first person. This was probably his first OS & full-man style ascent on a highline.

Tomek on the highline above half-pipe (1st ascent, OS & full-man)

I walked it after him in a swami-belt. I walked it many times this night, also free-solo at the end.

Free-Solo ascent

When we had enough highlining we tried skateboarding. Tomek was practising a little bit before this night. We borrowed skateboards and knee protectors and under Jana's supervision we were learning riding on a small half-pipe. This was totally fun and so addicting that last three days I spent riding on a half-pipe, and the rest of time I worked on slacklining and climbing on "Kegel" climbing wall.

Tomek un-rigging the highline. In the background "beginners rider team" ;)

Next day I moved to the big half-pipe. Riding on it is way more fun! It also makes your body really fucked up ... I think never before my leg muscles were so sore. Despite this obstacle I was riding till late night and total exhaustion.

First lessons on the small half-pipe ...

... and riding almost under a rail on the big half-pipe :)

All in all this four days I spent in Berlin was great in every respect. We set up the highline over the half-pipe two times. I almost forgot that during the second night highline session some Spanish friend of Tomek also walked this line (I don't remember his name, but this was his first highline).
At the end of my stay in Berlin Jana gave me a new skateboard as a gift (fuckin' niiice!)! BTW I recommend "Skatehalle-Berlin" to everyone. It's a really nice place even just to sit and drink some coffee with nice people.
Thanks for ton of fun and all help especially from Tomek and Jana! I think I'll be in Berlin more then one more time. It is definitely my favourite city right now.
That Friday I went by train to Radolfzell to take part in "Walk the Line 3" slackline festival as the 'special guest' ;). More to come ...

P.S. Thanks Faith for all help with my poor english ;)!