Thursday, 26 May 2011

Arco - Galileo TV Project

Last weekend Helmar, Flo and I went down to Arco, Italy to establish a new project for the German Television show, 'Galileo'.  Janek and Faith have worked with Galileo in the past,

Flo and Helmar explaining bolting
you can see the older program from Faith, Jan, Andy and others Here.

See the full Photo Gallery Here

We decided to meet on Wednesday, Helmar and I would hitchhike to Stuttgart and then we would decide where to sleep somewhere on the 6.5 hour drive down to Italy.  Gibbon was nice enough to loan us their van and some new lines, and we actually made it to the valley on Wednesday night.

We parked by a small lake and slept as long as we could until the blazing sun peeled us out of our sleeping bags, and then out of our clothes, and finally woke us up. The view was incredible, I always love to drive into a new area in the night, and seeing only massive cliffs the next morning.

Upon arriving, we were thrilled with the number of possibilities.  We drove around aimlessly, just parking, walking around, scoping out lines.  We made note of several potent possibilities and decided to take a little break and go swimming in Gardasee.  Unfortunately, the wind from the lake was extremely cold, and our enthusiasm for swimming quickly faded, Flo was the only one brave enough to go in, but even he couldn't stand it for long.

After that we went to meet up with Fabio Leoni, to talk to him about some highline possibilities and also the house project.  We finally caught up with him at the La Sportiva shop in Arco, and after quickly buying a topo map, picked his brain for possibilities. He was also very psyched about the house project idea, he said that this is exactly what Arco needs and it would be perfect in this location, which was really good to hear. Unfortunately, with the planning of the climbing World Cup next month, he didn't really have a lot of time; however, we will be back and are surely grateful for his help on this project!

Friday was back to work, we hiked all over the Alps, drooling at the Dolomites, searching for new possibilities.  Several we found were quite spectacular, but unsuitable for filming or approach. So we decided on a line directly next to the 'Star Line', a line done by Johannes and Bernhard for 'Stern TV', another television program. So we were set to have to lines, right next to one another, that were both filmed for television :)
By Saturday, we were already pretty exhausted, the traveling, the heat, and the hiking had taken their toll, and when we went down to meet the camera crew, they could see it.  After a little while, we began the approach, mixing filming and hiking and carrying gear up to the top. Then we had to do a bit of storytelling, explaining why certain spots were good or not, and then we got ready to bolt the new line.

Unfortunately for us, the weather had other plans, as two storms converged above us, sending 4 hours of rain and lightening down on us and our gear. The film crew had no other option but to retreat back to the city, they had to buy new clothes because everything we had was soaked. The three of us took shelter under trees or tiny overhangs and waited, freezing. We literally had no time or energy to go all the way back down, and we really needed to get the bolting done at the first possible minute, or else we would simply run out of time.
At about 7pm, the rain stopped, and eventually it was blue skies again. Helmar and Flo worked together bolting the nose side and as I bolted the other side, they worked to bring the lines across.  By the time it was dark, we had the anchors drilled, the lines across and fixed to the the slings.  We packed up the necessary gear and stashed what we could, then went down to sleep and cook, knowing that we would have to wake up especially early the next morning to make up for lost time.
There was another reason for the necessity, a mountain running race was taking place the next morning, and the trail was closed from 9:30 until late in the day.  The camera crew was there to meet us bright and early, and we headed up again. The tensioning went really well, despite the severely uncomfortable working conditions, both sides required a tricky rappel.
Flo was the first one on the line, sending both directions on the second try, having only a mis-start with his chongo.  Helmar was next and walked full-man onsight, completing the line without difficulty, and then it was my turn. I quickly explained the idea behind a swami belt for the camera and began to rappel. I didn't quite realize how hard it would be to wriggle myself out of the harness while sitting on the line, but eventually I succeeded and I was then asked by the crew, 'Jordan, if a swami is more dangerous and more scary, why do you use it?' To which I replied, 'Because I like to be scared.' Which someone later declared as no answer at all, but rather begs only the following question, 'Why do you like to be scared?'
Ironically, the film team was somehow ready to get going before we were, and Helmar and I had to convince them that it was worth their effort to stay a bit longer while we walked a second time and did some tricks.  Helmar went out and threw up a sick double drop knee and some nice surfing, and I threw on a harness and had a nice long exposure turn and some lay down tricks.  I also managed to squeeze a few no-hand butt bounce combos in there.

All in all, a good, but stressful trip. A huge thanks goes out to Flo, Helmar, the film team, Galileo, Gibbon slacklines, and Fabio Leoni.


Tuesday, 3 May 2011

France 2011

Recently, I went down to southern France to visit some friends and do some new lines with Tancrede. 

See the full gallery HERE

We headed out from Berlin and down towards Frankfurt, where we visited some friends of Annalena and I was lucky enough to get a very rare piece of dark wood for my new chess set.  After that we traveled further to Clairmont-Ferrand, to visit some more friends and break up the driving.

Finally we went to meet Tancrede, and got to do some climbing and highlining in warm, sunny southern France. Unfortunately for me, I was sick for the entire trip, two weeks in all, and was also climbing on a broken toe. Tancrede was also in the middle of preparing his van, but we got a couple of lines done as well as a lot of climbing.  Montpilier is a wonderful place to live, in 20 minutes, you have mountains, in 20 minutes you have the sea, caving, wonderful weather, quite a spectacular location.
Tancrede free solo

We were able to do two lines, we attempted a third, but actually ended up pulling down some rock in the process.  You can read Tancrede's Report HERE
Tancrede surveying the damage

All in all, we had a good time, participated in the opening of a new river line, and had some fun on the shorter line with Future Makers. A big thanks go out to Tancrede, Christian and the other french crew for rigging and bolting the lines.

After leaving Tancrede, we headed finally to Tolouse, to visit Arnd and Gael. While there, we managed to set up a new 40m waterline over the river, which was especially funny because I was only a couple meters above the tour boats that constantly drove through. The tourists really seemed to like it, the police, on the other hand, did not, and we eventually got shut down.
Hello Tourists!

But I did get to walk this line about 12 times back and forth before the police came, and managed to stop a lot of unsuspecting french citizens in the process. Celine Sadonnet was there to take pictures:
see her gallery HERE
walk number 10