Wednesday, September 29, 2010

2010 Trickline Summary

The current year 2010 is slowly coming to the end. I spent most of it pushing my longline and highline limits. I am really happy with what I achieved and amazed how highline and longline were pushed to the next level by the others in the sport. I was part of some of this but it’s a topic for a separate entry.
Of course I want to focus on tricklining in this "article". I never was a really good trickliner and I do not think I will ever be the best. However, this year I joined Gibbon International crew which really motivated and inspired me to improve my tricklining skills. Being the Gibbon Rider wasn't easy at the beginning. I am more highliner & longliner. Although from a time perspective I think it was good for me because Gibbon is not only a trickline community. I saw tricklining on the highest level, performed live by amazing athletes. It would be hard to name all of them. Some of these guys are also accomplished all-round slackliners.
Being good in all kinds of slacklining became a personal goal for me, so I started tricklining more, and taking part in a trickline competitions. I met many nice people from around the globe because of that reason. I got inspired by all of them and want to thank to the Gibbon Family and other slackliners like Lukas Irmler, Reinhard Kleindl and Slack.FR Crew. I have also learned that you can assimilate nice moves from EVERY slackliner. It doesn’t matter if she or he is slacklining 1 year or 1 month – everyone has an individual and unique style.

Tricklining in Sokoliki Mountains during "Slackline Masters 2006" meeting/competition

The tricklining goals for me are: doing at least one new move during each session and practising on various lines. It should not make a difference if it is 2”, 1” or 3cm wide line. Of course I like some webbing for particular tricks. After this year my favourites are: JIBLINE tensioned with pulleys system at full length (I will post some pictures soon of how to attach 2" line to the pulleys system), SURFLINE tensioned really tight (great for BIG tricks) and old-school but still young, perfect all-rounder: 1” threaded tubular.

Trickline Contest (Slackfest 2009, Chemnitz) 1" threaded tubular from SBI (photo

During this summer I started tricklining more together with the Gibbon Crew. I went to Stuttgart few times where I did some tricklining in a parks and inside a gym with big foam-pit inside. Slacklining above the foam gave me the possibility to try totally new moves and tricks I was scared of. It felt totally safe to me but missing some tricks gave me a painful lesson. I got some NICE bruises because I fell really deep inside the pool before the foam stopped my movement. I had a lot of fun jumping on the trampoline. That was the first time I tried a backflip. It was pretty scary for me. A trampoline is great tool to try all crazy aerial tricks before you would try them on the slackline. I was really close to landing a backflip on the slackline many times. Before, there was never enough time or opportunity to warm up on a trampoline and then adapt the move on the slackline. After I will come back from my last highline trips I want to practice on the gym in Berlin. My buddy found a great gym we can use it for free. Maybe I’ll land some flips before the finals of the Gibbon World Cup ;) ...

Vibram Natural Games 2010

Highlining in Millau, "Bunny" Highline free-solo (photo by Jordan Tybon)

This big extreme sports festival in Millau was great opportunity to highline, and that was a main target for me. I walked 4 highlines and got my ass kicked on the 86 meters long beast-highline. I went there together with Faith, Jordan, Andy and Hayley, Mike and Robert driving from Stuttgart with the “Gibbon Van”. It was nice to not hitch-hike this one time. Besides highlining and presenting our slide-show on the big screen in front of a big crowd (thanks again to all the monkeys cheering us on) I took part in the trickline contest. The trickline competition was scheduled for the last day of the festival.

It was hard to talk in front of all these people ... (photo by Jordan Tybon)

In the first round I was competing against Reinhard Kleindl. Reinhard has really unique style. I really like his lemur-jumps with his hands in his pockets or double-turn 180 from the drop-knee.

Reiny in the air (photo by Jordan Tybon)

I had really perfect go and landed all the tricks and combos. It was pure fun in the brutal sun. After the contest I landed my first back-bounce!

(photo by Jordan Tybon)

In the second round I had to deal with competing against “Alpha” Mike. As usual Mike did some HUGE atomic butt-bounces and long perfectly done combos. I was astonished. It was really nice and Mike finally took the first place. Congrats buddy!

Watch out! Mike is coming! (photo by Jordan Tybon)

In the competition two 30mm wide lines from were used. One was a bit higher. I still think the higher one could have had more tension. Heavier guys were hitting the ground during some bigger tricks. As always it didn’t stop Andy from doing all the crazy shit. Lukas Irmler did really well and stuck all his technical tricks.

Andy scoring extra points for amazing tircklining face expression ;) (photo by Jordan Tybon)

Lukas Irmler in Action (photo by Jordan Tybon)

I finished in the 4th place. The contest was judged by Scott Balcom, Robert Keading and Freddy Zimmerman. Big thanks to all of them!


The final result of the comp:

(photo by Jordan Tybon)

1. Mike “Alpha” Payton
2. Lukas Irmler
3. Andy Lewis


Gibbon World Cup in Munich

Brenden Gebhart aka. Crazy-DUDE ;) ... warming up (photo by Jordan Tybon)

It was the first Gibbon competition I took part in this year. It took place in Munich. We had 16 people competing from all around the world and 4000 viewers! I was really tired and stressed. I was nervous because of the “one against one” formula. I don’t really like competing and it seemed to me like really competitive way. I was wrong, and soon I realized it is just fun and I was raging together with all riders. All of us were warming up for a long time. It was pretty hardcore warm-up; Mike and Carlos injured their ankles which sucked.

Injured ankle? AWESOME! ;) (photo by Jordan Tybon)

HARDliners from Chile! (photo by Jordan Tybon)

“Alpha” Mike was trying to stay optimistic but Carlos was really sad for a long time. Luckily his ankle got better soon after comp and he could jump around again.
In the first round I was competing against Bernd Hassmann. I knew he was the guy which won last year “King of Slackline” contest and he’s a good trickliner. I ignored my doubts and just did my best. It was big surprise when I got to the other round!

(photo by Jordan Tybon)

Unfortunately I had to compete against Bernd twice. He won the extra battle which gave him entrance to the next round (Carlos was injured and jury needed someone to make the amount of contestants even). Even though I showed few new tricks Bernd did some amazing butt-bounce combos and won in this round.

(photo by Jordan Tybon)

I was kind of disappointed but still happy for the 4th place. I decided to practice a bit more on the 2” line and work on different styles of tricks and technique. I knew I did some cool moves but they still needed to be landed clean and nice.
The main battle of the contest in Munich was between Andy Lewis and Felix. In my opinion both of them are on the same level and just represent a bit different styles and attitude.

Backflip-360 (photo by Jordan Tybon)

(photo by Jordan Tybon)

It was great round to watch. Andy finished his go with double backflip attempt. Felix landed so many sick tricks and combos that I thought he would win. The verdict of the jury was Andy Lewis wins! It was great time and first big lesson for me.


1. Warm-up

2. Official Video

Results of the Gibbon World Cup in Munich:

(photo by Jordan Tybon)

1. Andy Lewis,
2. Felix Hachfeld,
3. Luis Meier & Bernd Hassmann

Gibbon World Cup – OutDoor

The second edition of the Gibbon World Cup took a place at OutDoor fair in Friedrichshafen. In a first round I won with super nice guy Nick ten Hoopen from Netherlands (he’s doing really special butt-bounce combos)!

Nick and I jumping (photo by Jordan Tybon)

In the second round I was competing against Andy Lewis. I knew there is no chance to win with this crazy monkey. We raged together and I think that it was a nice round to watch for the audience.

BIG atomic chest-bounce (photo by Jordan Tybon)

It was really nice to observe all the guys in the comp. Luis landed “Misty Flip” during the contest, Felix landed backflip-360 and a lot more.

(photo by Jordan Tybon)

(photo by Jordan Tybon)

Everyone really rocked. It would take too long to long to write what I enjoyed about each of you guys but it was pleasure to be there with them.

More power, DUDE! )photo by Jordan Tybon)

(photo by Jordan Tybon)

Faith, Jordan and I did a highline workshop too which was a big success.

(photo by Jordan Tybon)

We spent the rest of our time talking to the other companies at the fair. After the man contest we had girls competition. My love took a 3rd place – great job!!

(photo by Jordan Tybon)

(photo by Jordan Tybon)


The results of this edition were the same as in Munich:

(photo by Jordan Tybon)


1. Andy Lewis,
2. Felix Hachfeld,
3. Luis Meier & Bernd Hassmann


1. Hayley Ashburn
2. Steffi Seidel
3. Faith Dickey

Urban Highline Festival 2010

Photos and Project by VacasPurpuras

I didn’t plan to take a part in the trickline contest during this slackline festival. Besides Faith and Jordan I was main person responsible for organizing it. Faith decided for me and I HAD to start ;). This year I prepared new formula for a trickline contest. We had two people battles the same as in Gibbon contest. The only difference was that contestants could choose one of three lines in each round, and had to use each line at least once before the contest ended:

- Jibline tensioned with pulleys system (17m),
- 1” threaded tubular webbing (20m),
- 30cm wide Slackline-Tools webbing (10m)

We had a lot of people, different styles and a lot of fun! I think there was no stress. Lots of people which never took part in a trickline contest started that time. My favourite round was between Anatolij and Mich :D. Jakub “Kwjet” did some amazing tricks I never seen before (points for creativity for sure)!

I want to thank to the main sponsor of the comp: Gibbon Poland and two other companies which founded nice prizes for the contest: and Balance Community!



The results of the trickline comp:


1. Jan Gałek
2. Lukas Irmler
3. Jakub “Kwjet” Hanuš
4. Adam "Malaj" Patejuk


1. Faith Dickey
2. Magda Smorąg
3. Karolina Lis

A few days ago I went to Łódź in Poland to meet with slackline crew from this city. I had a lot of fun! Big thanks to all of you! These are some of the nicest people I have ever met. Props to Maciek “Bor” – it was great to trickline hard with this guy. We had two days of total craziness on the trickline. Both of us inspired each other and made a big progress. Maybe we’ll meet together in Krakow and do some “extras” for the new trickline movie in October.

So, what’s next?

On On 5th of November I will take part in the big final of the Gibbon World Cup during IMS in South Tyrol (Italy). . People which were in the finals in both eliminations contests (Munich and OutDoor) will fly to battle during this great meeting. During the last round there will be 8 people competing:

I had better train hard ;)!

New trickline movie

Together with my friend Wojtek Kozakiewicz (VacasPurpuras) and my girlfriend Faith Dickey we’re going to produce new trickline movie sometime in mid-October. Watch out for some new ideas and great footage! The movie will probably be shot in Krakow in the old building which is right now a club. Wojtek has a plan to start with this movie in one of the biggest climbing movies festival in Poland. We’ll see …

For more inspiration watch these three movie (definitely my favourite from this year):

1. Andy Lewis "Step IN":

2. BOR – September 2010

3. GIBBON Slackline Allstars Tour “City Slackers”

Peace & SlackOn!

Monday, September 6, 2010


New production from my friend Wojtek Kozakiewicz (VacasPurpuras) is ready. It's the third slackline movie made by him. As you can see it is black and white. This time the main characters are: my lovely girlfriend Faith Dickey and Hayley Ashburn. Both of them are really experienced highliners. They rigged the highline together using 2 webbings (red "White Magic") tensioned with Line-Grip + pulleys system method.

hung in a harness for a long time and the rigging took all together 3 hours in a heavy sun. As we (the male part of the crew) were "not welcome" for the rigging we showed up later in a day and just help with some last pulls.
Hayley didn't have enough time to work on the line because together with Flo she had to take off to Stuttgart.
Faith sent the line both ways and than let everyone else have some attempts (Flo had the first sent that day - he did really well!).

Wojtek's LCD screen in his camera was broken so he didn't know exactly what photos he shot. In my opinion the footage is still really nice quality and the editing is awesome (the same as chosen music). I am always happy to work with Wojtek and right now Faith has the same feeling.

The "inspiration" for this movie was production "Girls Only Highline" trailer from which is about two girls (Jelena Schradi and Ingrid Laillaut De Wacquant) rigging and walking some highlines together. I had pleasure to meet and highline with Jelena in Millau (FR) during "Vibram Natural Games" festival.

always wants to promote the sport to the other girls and get more of them into highlining. This is more urban vision captured by VacasPurpuras fisheye lengths. The title of the movie came from 3 hours of rigging compared to 3 minutes time of walking the line.

So, here we go. "3:03" and girls on the 42m long and 30m high "Sieg Highline!" in Berlin, ENJOY!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Light & Fast HIGHLINE Rig

I was trying to figure out for some time the way to make highline rigging lighter without sacrificing safety at the same time. The inspiration came from climbing style of course. If you have lighter gear you can do more; ambitious projects in the mountains, be faster and more efficient. Finally, reducing the weight of our backpack will spare us some “pain-in-the-ass hitch-hiking” (if you go the dirtbag way), and make our projects easier on our knees on the way up and down.

Faith and I sorting highline gear before action (Greece, Meteora 2010) photo by Jordan Tybon

That doesn’t mean I want to discard traditional highline rig which requires super strong spansets, usually 2 – 3 ¼ T (WLL) shackles (I’m not sure but Terry might be using even stronger shit :P), heavy slackline-bananas or line-lockers sets etc. This gear will stay on my rack for a long time no doubt, but from my experience if the highline project is not easy approach and I have to carry the highline gear (+ camping stuff, climbing stuff, food …) I don’t want all this heavy stuff.

The idea of “Light & Fast Highline Rig” is not only my idea. As usual, a lot of influence came from observation some great highliners like Terry Acomb, Jerry Miszewski, Bernhard Witz and Landcruising crew. Thank you to all of you guys! BIG Thanks to Andy from slackPro! who helped me a lot with producing some prototypes and always listen to what I had to say. It was really nice to have the guy with big knowledge and all needed tools to help me with that.

Situation NR 1One highline, bolts for anchors


Usually in highline rigging I am using spansets. I have two kinds of them. Green beefy spansets I bought in US (great for wrapping around boulders, they are very durable, and there is a big safe margin) and purple and orange lightweight spansets from Slackstar (700kg WLL).
When an anchors has more than 3-4 bolts it’s really hard equalize the spanset (so on each bolt is the same force) because spansets usually are thick and wide. Than next thing is you have to use steel binners or triangle mailons (quick links) which are wide enough to fit the spanset. To take 6 to 9 of them ((3 to 4) x 2) is already a lot of weight.

Trying to equalize 5 bolts using Slackstar spanset ("The Great Bongzilla" Highline, USA, Moab, UT 2009) photo by Jordan Tybon

The solution is to use oval mailons which are 35kN each and lighter. If you don't want to carry spansets, you can use 11mm diameter static rope for an anchor. You make a loop out of the rope using double or triple fisher-knot. I have two pieces 8.5m long. So, after tying the know I have 4m long sling (maximum). It’s really easy to adjust. You can buy 11mm diameter static rope which has 30-35kN of strength. This is totally strong enough, but to stay totally safe you tie loops from each bolt to the anchor point using some free pieces of webbing (11/16” or 5/8” tubular webbing is perfect). I saw this methods in Moab. Terry and Jerry are using this type of anchor. It’s easy to adjust, lighter than a spanset and takes less space in a backpack.


For my light rig I use 12mm stainless-steel Omega-shaped shackles only (you can buy them from example from: SlackPro!, Slackstar, or Landcruising). On the longer highlines I like to use two webbings. Till 60 meters I take with me “White Magic”. On the shorter lines I prefer dynamic rope as the back-up. To reduce the weight you can buy smaller diameter single dynamic rope (8.6 – 9 mm) which can be used also to climb to the highline if needed.


When you take two webbing across the gap you have to make sure that the lines will stay flat. If it’s windy it could be hard so the best you can do is to hang something heavy on the free tail of the webbings. After that I attach both webbings on the non-rigging side with two lightweight "slackPro! lineLocks". Another person stays there to remove the slack from the top line and adjust the back-up webbing.
On the rigging side I have prepared pulleys system with two lines clipped to it. I use two shackles with lock-mans; one on the top, another one on the bottom + the lines should be taped together close to the lock-mans so they don’t move around. If I know the length of the line I can estimate how much pulley system I need. After I have it ready I let the pulleys system free and my buddy is removing slack from the top-line and back-up (leaving it more slack so there’s only small force on it). After tensioning the highline is ready. I just have to tape the lines together (it’s possible to do before the trip too) and back-up the pulleys system + clip the free tails from lineLocks on the other side.


In this case I always bring the webbing and back-up rope across and then use the pulleys system first to tension the back-up rope. To attach rope to the shackles I use double figure eight knot. I don’t need two lineLocks and two lock-mans (only one lineLock and lock-man). Afterwards the same as before: taping, back-up the pulleys + clip the free tail from lineLock to the anchor.


This is gear for my pulleys system:

- 30m long 10mm diameter static rope,
- 1 x 45kN oval mailon,
- 3 x 35kN oval mailon,
- Gri-Gri,
- 2 x double 50kN CT pulleys,
- 2 x single CT pulleys,
- 1 x oval aluminium binner and Tibloc (for multiplier),
- 1 x 12mm Omega-shaped shackle or Triangle 45kN Petzl mailon (depends if leave pulleys in the system),
- 2 x CT 36kN aluminium rigging plate

Even lighter and still strong enough and effective pulleys is this model from SMC:

Model: SMC MINI Double PMP

More info


Together with Andy Riedrich from SlackPro! I had customize light-weight product called "slackPro! lineLock" similar to slack-banana. The first version is not perfect yet but it works good enough and was tested on 56m long “Island King” Highline and 95m long world record highline “Master of Universe” walked by Jerry Miszewski (both lines located in Ostrov, CZ)

SlackPro slack-bananas in action on the "Master of Universe" Highline (Ostrov, CZ 2010) photo by Jordan

Some info about FIRST version:

- it is small,
- it is easy and nice to remove the slack,
- it is pretty light,
- the angle between the bolts is really nice,
- if both lines are tensioned and the lineLock are above each other they don't put to much pressure against each other (there is solution to avoid this problem totally)

PDF file with specs of the lineLock for the back-up line

Closer look ... ("Master of Universe" Highline, Ostrov, CZ 2010) photo by Jordan Tybon

Soon (in about 4-6 weeks), I’ll have version 2 for testing. Some things which will be changed to make the product lighter and easier in use:

- the bolts in front and on the back of slackline banana will be bigger (replace 10mm diameter blots with 12mm)
- the bolt in front will have an option to open it so you don't have to get through all the extra slack (for example like in Jerry's "Web-Lock"),


Web-Lock (Berlin, 200m longline, 2010) photo by Jerry Miszewski

- the side-plates will be made of aircraft aluminium ( 1 to 2 mm thicker) to make the product even lighter,
- the middle bolt will be moved more to the middle of the banana so there is more space between it and the front bolt,
- the back-up slackline-banana will come with the dyneema slings longer than the top-line banana (so they don't press against each other),

- the back bolt will be easy to remove so you can clip to 12mm U-shaped shackles for the 9:1 pulleys system

SITUATION 2One highline, need to sling boulders for anchors

Spansets are not light but they’re really good to sling the boulders. It’s hard to break them, they have a big surface, which means a good grip on the rock. In my opinion 1T WLL spansets are good compromise (still strong enough and lighter than green spansets). The easiest way to buy them is from or Landcruising has also some nice spansets to sell as well. I always put tree protection (from example Tree-Wear from Gibbon is perfect) under spanset where it sits on the sharp edges. After I have my anchors ready the rest of rigging goes like in SITUATION 1.

SITUATION 3More than one highline

If I want to rig more highlines than one I am taking Line-Grip with me. It’s not super light-weight tool but comparing to the other set of pulleys which takes extra space and weight in my backpack Line-Grip is definitely the winner. If I use Line-Grip to tension the lines I clip shackles with lock-mans on the non-rigging side and lineLocks on the rigging side. After pulling the line tight I remove slack from lineLock and release the pulleys system (always protect webbing from the sharp edges of the pulleys etc.)! If it’s needed I can tension both lines (back-up or top-line / top-line and back-up rope) at any time. It’s always better start from tensioning back-up line first.
We used this method on the 95m highline and it worked perfect!


Before I leave to set up the highline I prepare everything I can, for example:

- put the ring on both lines and clip it to slack-banana/slack-bananas, tie all the knots I can tie before,
- prepare pulleys system so I don’t have to do it on the top,
- put the things to the back-pack in order (so I don’t have elements I need at the begging on the bottom)

I am sure I can still find the way to make this rigging even lighter and faster. The way to go are new materials and more experience. I will post about it after I use this method multiple times on different projects.
If something is not clear, easy to understand please post about it. I’ll like to hear what you think about it. Any ideas to improve it?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

"Active Jarocin" Festival

Festival Website
Contact number: (+48) 501 748 504
News on

"Active Jarocin" - first edition on 5th to 6th of June 2010. On this festival Faith Dickey, Jordan Tybon and myself will present our highline skills on the 20m long urban line. After the "highline demo" we'll play our slide show from "US Highline Trip". We also have 5 movies which will be played on the "4 Elements" movie festival. You can find the list below:

Wojtek Kozakiewicz (Vacaspurpuras):

1. "V"

2. "whiteNoise"

Damian Czermak:

1. "Stone Free" Highline

2. "Epic Trip Trailer 1"



Festival program:

5th of June:

- Highline Demo Presentation (maybe it'll be possible to try for the other slackliners),
- Live Music + DJ from Ictus Collective,
- Outdoor clothing fashion show,
- free consulation with sport fitness nutritionist and trainer,
- Noridic Walking,
- dancing shows,
- speed climbing and dyno contest

6th of June:
- second day of "4 Elements" movie festival and media presentations

Monday, May 24, 2010

Slackline in a Nutshell

That is the first post which is a translation of the last article I wrote in my "Slackline Corner" section of GÓRY climbing magazine. It'll be published in the May issue. Down below you can find pictures of the original and English translation. Soon I'll translate and post the first three articles from US Highline Trip [trailer]. Enjoy!

Page 1

Page 2, [PHOTOS DESCRIPTION: "Surfing" - Jan Gałek/ photo by Jordan Tybon, "Longline" - 124 meters line on the Slackfest in Chemnitz 2008/photo by Uwe Glaubach, "Urban Highline" - Bernhard witz in Radolfzell Highline/photo by Marty Schmidt, "Tree-Highline" Jan Gałek on the "Walk the Line 3" festival/photo by Marty Schmidt, last picture: Faith Dickey on the "For Your Eyes Only" Highline (42m length and 150m height) OS-OW & FM, Greece, Meteora/photo by Jordan Tybon]

Text: Jan Gałek
Photos: Jordan Tybon

Title photo description:
Bernhard Witz on the "Heaven's Gate" Highline - OS & FM ascent with a 5 meter long leash, Meteora, Greece

"After the three-part report from the US trip it is time for the explanation. The US trip was specifically a highline trip, which is why it lacked the definitions I present in this article. I am hoping that earlier publications made this extreme version of slackline more clear to everyone. Right now it is time to start from the beginning and describe this fairly new discipline. I am sure that for some this will be a revision of the knowledge you already have, or maybe making order of some information you found before in our magazine, different publications or on the Internet. Let's make it clear - it's difficult to define slackline on two A4 pages. If you want to know more visit my blog on goryonline, where I'll add an expanded version of this article.

It is a sport and an art of balancing on 1" (25-26 mm) nylon webbing stretched between two anchor points.Webbing used in slacklining is stretchy and dynamic which allows one to do many different tricks on it. One uses only their body to maintain balance (NO helping devices such as a balancing pole). Many people mix up slacklining with tightrope walking but the only similarity for both activties is balance.

In the first slackline rigs only climbing gear was used. After some time the first companies appeared which were producing special slackline gear. The first slackline company, "Slackline Brothers Inc." was born in sunny California. In about 30 years the gear evolved a considerable degree. Nowadays besides the "original" 1 inch nylon webbing there is also polyester webbing in use. Not a long time ago a new super-strong and ultralight webbing made from "vectran" (material common to dyneema, but with a lower melting temperature) was produced (more). Another change is the width of the webbing. Besides traditional 1" webbing is webbing from 5/8" to 2" in width (2 inch webbing is a main product of the German company Gibbon, for example). In a circulation are also some "industrial" elements, such as shackles or spansets. It looks like slackline equipment is becoming more and more specialized, and slackline varieties are more independent from each other. Stronger and lighter gear enables people to push the limits.

Originally slackline came from USA. Today this 'sport' is about 30 years old. Rumour has it that the first slacklines were rigged between trees at Camp 4 in the Yosemite Valley. At the beginning it was a rest-day activity for climbers. As time passed slackline became a separate discipline. Scott Balcom was one of the slackline pioneers. In his book "Walk the Line: The Art of Balance and the Craft of Slackline" you can find that the first people slacklining were Jeff Ellington and Adam Grosowsky, which the author of the book saw in 1983 during summer in Yosemite. Balcom was fascinated with what he saw. When he was leaving the Valley he made a promise to himself that he had to come back and walk a slackline stretched across the Lost Arrow Spire (Ellington and Grosowsky attempted the L.A.S. highline right after Balcom left). After one year of training including walking the first highline in a history, (in November 1983 around Thanksgiving - 2" webbing stretched between huge cement arches of the Pasedena Bridge, CA) Scott arrived to Yosemite ready to face the Lost Arrow Spire challenge. Unfortunately he did not cross the gap that year.

Photo from Scott Balcom's archive

After gear and training modifications, on the 13th of July 1985 Balcom walked the Lost Arrow Spire highline [video].

Photo from Scott Balcom's archive

During the next two decades it would be the highest highline on the world (880m height, 17m length). L.A.S. Highline is still today the biggest highline icon and has only 3 free-solo ascents: Darrin Carter (1995), Dean Potter (2000) [video] and Andy Lewis (2009) [video].

Kinds of Slackline
You can divide slackline into categories because of the types of gear, length, height or even amount of tension on the line. There is no official system. The slackline categories written here are used by the majority of the slackline community but that does not mean by everyone. The three basic kinds of slackline are: SLACKLINE (different names: "lowline", "trickline"), LONGLINE and HIGHLINE.

Slackline - I already wrote the main definition earlier in this article. This is webbing tensioned close to the ground ("lowline" - fall is relatively safe). In use is also the name trickline - it is a short slackline, which is a great way to practice tricks. It depends on preference how much tension is on the line - personally I think for jumps and dynamics tricks tighter webbing is better and for static tricks and surfing I prefer a looser one.

Longline - basically it is just a long slackline. Of course a lot of people would ask what is "long?" There is no official border separating a slackline from longline. For the beginner 30m webbing would be considered a longline, and for the more experienced person that could be trickline. For a long time the 100m mark was unreachable. Damian Cooksey was the first to break this distance [video]. Rigging longlines requires special gear, rigging experience, knowledge and a lot of imagination (breaking the webbing under big tension could be really dangerous!).

Highline - it is a slackline stretched between two anchors up high. In this case it is also hard to give any official numbers. If falling off the line has death potential and you therefore must use a leash, then it could be defined as a highline. You can also divide highline to a couple groups. Because of the location we have: urban highline (in a city/urban environment), tree-highline (highline between trees) which is actually a great preparation for the "real" highline, and of course highline in the rocks or mountains.
In the highline groups you can also define a midline - which is a slackline stretched high. Although a fall from this kind of slackline would have some serious consequences you probably would not die. Whether it is a highline or a midline is subjective (the same subjectivity as the difference between a free-solo ascent and highball boulder problem).

On the highline you can also use multiple types of protection:
- harness + leash,
- swami-belt (piece of webbing or a cord tied tightly around your waist) + leash tied at the back (taking a fall in it could be painful or damage some body parts),
- belt-loop swami - you tie your leash around your waist (quite serious fall consequences),
- extra long leash - usually a highline leash is about 2 meters long. Something 2 or 3 times longer can increase your adrenaline rush. It is just another good mental training method, before free-solo ascent.
- free-solo - I don't think I need to explain this one.

Not a long time ago Dean Potter walked a highline in Moab (UT) using only a parachute for protection [video]. So, than we have the next term - B.A.S.E.lining.
What is next? Deep Water Solo Highline (DWS Highline)? Who knows ...?

OS - on-sight (first try),
FM (full-man) - both directions ascent,
OW (one-way) or HM (half-man) - one-way ascent,
OS & FM - walking the line both directions on the first try,
FA - first ascent of the line (opening of the new project).

- longest highline - 85 meters (Mischi Aschaber) [video],
- longest "classic" highline - 67 meters (Jerry Miszewski - 2 lines [FM] [video], Faith Dickey [OW], Damian Czermak [OW], Jan Gałek [FM]),
- longest longline - 217m (Mischi Aschaber),
- highest highline* - 1000m - north Eiger Wall - "Mushroom" Highline (Bernhard Witz and Johannes Olszewski),
- highest free-solo - Bernhard Witz - "Mushroom" Highline [video],
- longest free-solo** - 30 meters, "Taft Point" Highline, Yosemite (Dean Potter) [video] [article].

Slackline has come a long way. Nowadays there are far more people with the "incurable slackline disease." The slackline community is not short of new outstanding talents. Similar to climbing we have rapid changes in each new generation. Limits are being pushed further and higher. In Europe and United States there are many different slackline festivals. I will write info about them on my blog as well. This year we should have a couple nice meetings in Poland too.

"Those who pushed the limits... will eventually find them".
Scott Balcom

I have two questions in my head: if slackline parallels climbing, is it slowly approaching it's limit? Or will we ever reach that point? Time will show..."

* - in the article I made a mistake - sorry about that! The highest highline was rigged and walked by the guys from and Mischi Aschaber in Norway (1100m height) [video],
** - The longest free-solo by Dean Potter was walked on Amsteel-Blue which is round rope and not flat webbing. Personally I still consider it as the longest free-solo and think it was bad-ass.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Highline trip to Meteora 2010

In a few days Faith, Jordan and I are leaving to Meteora in Greece for 3-4 weeks of highlining and climbing. Before that we have to hitch-hike about 1800-2000km with all the heavy gear in our backpacks. It will be 'interesting' adventure. Our journey has small delay, but in 2-3 days we should be on the way. Today we'll prepare, split and pack all our gear.

Gear <3 ... (not all we have to take)

I played a bit with my slackline gear (of course). I bought some nice 6T stainles-steel shackles from Kwjet not so long time ago. Right now I have my perfect longline-system

Soon, more serious slacklife and dirtbagging with my love and friends :)

Peace & SlackOn!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Through US on the webbing

So on 14th of March 2010 Faith, Jordan and I had presentation about slacklining and highline on the travelling and climbing festival "Kolosy 2010" (eng. "Colossus 2010" - basically about our 3 months highline & climbing trip in US. I was quite surprised when finally the room was filled to the last seat. It was really nice for us that so many people was interested on our presentation.
It was long journey by trains straight from Prague in Czech Republic.

On the way - salami and bread for 3 days straight ... dirtbag life for ever

Polish trains - Securing the door, making sure our threesome wasn't disturbed ... ;)

Day before our presentation I got really sick after trickline session. Anyway it was worth it. We set up short line using Type-18 webbing and SBI pulleys. It was kind of scarry to pull some tricks above the concrete floor (like chest-bounce etc.)

The outside of the presentation hall

Yeah! Got it one time for a short period of time :)

Faith doing 'not so easy' static trick :)

Rest ...

We didn't have enough time to talk about everything, so I describe a bit some photos during slide-show and talked couple funny stories from Yosemite and J. Tree.

Presentation poster: ""Through US on the webbing", Jan Galek's lecture (about) Slackline and Highline, special guests: Jordan Tybon and Faith Dickey, 10.30 on Saturday, seminar hall". On the picture Faith Dickey walking "60ft. Cave Corridor" Highline in a swami and Jerry Miszewski sending "Big Boy" Highline

We used slide show (by Ruthie Taylor and Jordan Tybon) and movie trailer "Epic Trip" (by Damian Czermak) - you can find them down below:

"Epic Trip Trailer 1" by Damian Czermak

"Grolsch Expedition US Highline Tour" by Ruthie Taylor and Jordan Tybon

After presentation many people said to me it was great and ask me more questions about slacklining and highlining.
We came back to Wrocław during the night. We travelled by small bus with all "GÓRY" magazine crew first(it was really fun).

Jordan eating 'polish burger' on the way back ... What happened to his face ;) ?

They took us to Katowice and then after 3 hours in a train we got finally to Wrocław. Everyone of us was totally exhausted but the same time, really happy! Faith and I went to sleep and rest and Jordan hitch-hiked to Berlin the same day (RESPECT o_O!).

It's hard to live the 'SlackLife' ...

Thanks to everyone who helped us a lot! Especially to Piotrek and Marek from "GÓRY" climbing magazine, the ride to Katowice, to the company Campus which sponsored our presentation and all people which came to watch our photos and movie!

BTW Down below you can read the third part of "US Highline Trip" article in "GÓRY" climbing magazine (GÓRY Nr 3 (190) Marzec 2010, "US Highline Trip - część 3" (p. 74-75) (click to enlarge the photo):

Peace & SlackOn!