Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Highlining and Longlining

San Luis Obispo Highline

Take a deep breath. Ignore the depths below. Try to stand up... fall... again and again.

Finally I stand, my leg is shaking like a sewing machine, control it, breathe. I steady for a moment. Take a small step, breathe, breathe, another small step, breathe, and Noooo!... I lose it and fall again.

The the other end of the line is 60 feet away and the ground directly below me is only 60 feet away, but we are on top of a mountain, the land slopes steeply downward for a thousand feet or more. It is airy up here.

I think that I have walked a line just like this only a few feet off the ground, hundreds of times. Why should this be any different. It's all mental. I am protected by a safety harness and line. Nothing will happen if I fall. But falling isn't fun. The adrenaline gathers all at once and whoooshh I'm plummetting towards the earth. And then the safety catches me, but the line isn't static, it stretches as I fall further, and bounce and spin and go upside down. I pull myself back up to the line, balancing to sit and breathe and wait for the calmness so I can try again.

Stop motion video of the master, Jerry Miszewski, surfing the highline

sorry, its kinda cheesy but I had to do it.

And Russ demonstrates how to take a fall.

Here are the pictures of my first try.


My only time taking steps. And then the fall again.

The Setup
 A lot goes into setting up a highline, for obvious reasons. You want to be safe. The equipment used is rated to super high strength. And everything is backed up, and backed up again.




Garfield Park Longline

The line is about 130 feet long and about 7 feet off the ground. When you are in the middle of the line there is several feet of sag in the line. The pictures below are of Russell Phetteplace walking the line and doing crazy yoga tricks.

Here are a few of me walking the line.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

RED ROCKS - november and december 2009

I spent a few weeks at Red Rocks in November and over new years. In November I climbed with my buddy Josh whom I met at Red Rocks last April. Josh was just a fledgling leader at the time but now is climbing as hard as me. We climbed a lot and got on a few classic routes, some of which lived up to their reputation, others not (mainly Chrimson Chrysallis). The two that did live up to their rep and rocked my world were Levitation 29 and Cloud Tower. Those are two routes I would go back and do again and again, if it weren't for the grueling approach.

Over New Years I got to meet and climb with a lot of new people, which was great. We didn't climb anything too long as the days were short, but I did get on a few short routes that pushed my limits, such as Desert Reality, pictured below.

The thin crack leading up to the roof is 12d and called Desert Crack. The roof, called Desert Reality, after the similar Yosemite route Separate Reality, is about 20 feet long and goes at 5.11c/d. If you link the two together it is called Desert Gold and goes at 5.13. Awesome. We traversed in just under the roof from the left.

Looking down at Desert Crack

The start of Desert Reality.

Hanging out under the giant roof. Desert Reality 5.11c

Looking lost after my glasses fall 500 feet to the ground.
Finished up the climb, but my partner led the rest. Unimpeachable Groping 5.10b, 8 pitches.

Leading a 5.11b sport route at the Stratocaster wall.

Toproping some 11a

This was a nice 10a at the brass wall


The new years eve crew. From left to right, Senor Jtree, Lucas, Levi, Alejandro, and Brian. picture by Alejandro the Spaniard

The OG driving crew and my badass truck. From left to right, Brian, Angelo, Levi, and Lucas

A climber on Eagle Dance. This was taken while Josh and I were climbing Levitation 29. The Eagle wall is perched way up high in the back of Oak Creek Canyon. It has beautiful rock, amazing views, hosts a slew of classic routes, and is a pain in the ass to hike to.

Josh workin hard to fight the pump just after the 11c crux on Levitation 29. Look at the intensity in his face. 5.11c is near my limit, but the numerous bolts on the route make it seem much easier, at least psychologically

Josh reaches the top of the over-hyped Chrimson Chrysalis, 5.8, still beautiful, though I wouldn't climb it again.


You can really get a sense of the scale of the place with these two photos

The finishing moves on Triassic Sands, 5.10b, one of my favorite climbs in Red Rocks.

The beautiful corner of Dark Shadows, 5.8.


Mt. Wilson