Wednesday, April 24, 2013

US Trip 2013 - Take 6; Bay Area Chillout Part 1; 'Hole Rock' Highline

We had a lazy start after the day before when we rigged and seshed 'Unicorn Graveyard' Highline. It took us long time to wake up, eat breakfast and so on and when we showed up at the Bridges Rock Gym it was almost 2pm. Damian was ready to gave up on us, but we spoke for a short moment and decided to go on a REALLY fast run.

We were getting ready for the 'Hole Rock' Highline (23m L/21m H/1219m of exposure). The line with which I had unfinished business since my first trip to USA in 2007. After our Yosemite trip Damian Cooksey, Jon Ritson and I went to bolt and rig this line on Mount Saint Helena. It was a really hot day, the hike is not so short and the last part of it is brutal scramble through sharp and spiny chaparral. The time in Yosemite had us in the mindset that we didn't need to carry water. Unfortunately on Mount Saint Helena there is no springs and we had 1/2 liter of water in between three of us. We finished finding and scoping the line but we had no power and time to bolt, rig and walk. Jon and I were so dehydrated we almost passed out.

Soon after that Damian went back to finish the line together with Pierre Carrillo, Andy Lewis, Jenna and others. I always wished I could be there and during that trip I could finally get a second chance.

From the left; The Hole Rock and The Hailstone Rock
Damian Cooksey putting up FA of the 'Hole Rock' Highline (Jan 19, 2008)

More info about the line:
- link 1,
- link 2 (go to the 7th page).

This time after chaotic but really fast gear preparation DamianAlex, Jared, Jordan and I were off for a late afternoon adventure. We were unaware it's not such a fast drive and approach but we knew we can do it if we are fast. The way there was really funny. Swearing at bad traffic, talking stupid stuff and joking all the way to our destination. The talking was over as soon as we started hiking. Deadly pace killed all conversation and everyone was focused on just going fast and catching a breath. The bushwhacking and loose rock sliding at the end was kind of funny experience but I wish I had my long pants on for that. We were under Hailstone Rock exactly after one hour - not bad!

Alex almost at our spot (photo Jordan Tybon)
Rock-Skiing ... (photo by Jordan Tybon)
Re-packing next to the Hailstone Rock (photo by Jordan Tybon)

Immediately we started setting up the line. I forgot how beautiful this place was and about red ants too ;) ... Damian went to not tensioning side and Jordan and I accompanied by or small monkey Alex, finished the rest of rigging.

Rigging the Hole Rock side (photo by Jordan Tybon)

Together with unpacking, sorting gear and rigging we were done after another hour. I got the privilege of going first so I did and sent OS-FM in an ankle leash. It was a great feeling.

Ankle-leash OS-FM (photo by Jordan Tybon)

Jordan went next in a swami sending the line same style with no problem. Alex was next in line  and put some great effort. We were all supportive and I must say Damian is a great mentor for this young man. Even though this young, amazing slackliner didn't get it this time he stood up and walked it few steps the way back to anchor. Congrats Alex! I am sure you will send your first highline really soon. Keep on believing, get on something short and exposed and after you get it, everything will be all of the sudden way easier and different ;) ...

Jordan as a swami-ninja
Alex getting ready ... (photo by Jordan Tybon)
Alex on the line ... (photo by Jordan Tybon)

It was almost already dark and a bit windy but I felt good so I walked the line freesoloco-FM. It was already after 8pm and we had to leave as soon as possible. Bushwhacking in a dark was a bit dramatic and painful at the times but finally we made it to the main fire-road and could switch of our headlamps hiking down in a bright moonlight. We got back to Berkley, rode Alex back home (we're hoping his mom wasn't too angry that her son was so late) and went to crash in Oakland at our friends place. Next day at the morning we left back to Lodi/CA.

That was some amazing times. I am really glad that I had a chance to meet an old friend and some new people too. BTW I think Damian will be coming to Urban Highline Festival this year for the 5th edition of our event. He'll have some cool presentation and a movie to show. Get excited!

Peace & SlackOn!

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