Wednesday, 24 April 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.

To read the full post click HERE

Sunday, 21 April 2013

US Trip 2013 - Take 5; Bay Area Chillout Part 1; 'Unicorn Graveyard' Highline

As soon as we got back to Lodi from our 2-day quickie in Yosemite Valley the weather decided to get windy again (sigh!) ... Faced with non skydiving conditions we were forced to continue the rage ;) Faith unexpectedly had to leave to Austin because of the important personal reason so we couldn't enjoy this time together. Short conversation with Jordan made everything clear and after a quick call to my old friend Damian Cooksey we were on out way to San Francisco. Sitting in a car I was excited about meeting him again after almost 3 years. Damian has been an mentor and inspiration to me for a really long time, we shared some amazing times during our trip in 2007 and other places. Actually he never stops inspiring, lately establishing and sending long 'Yosemite Falls' Highline which is double length of original line ...

While sitting in a car I was wondering how he is now and going through the old memories. We arrived in Berkley at the Bridges Rock Gym late afternoon, met up with Damian and Alex and spoke for quite a long time. I was glad to see Damian being happy and full of energy. We made some plans for next visit in Yosemite and I am truly glad Damian will be there with us. Next we went quickly to pick up Max and Jared from Oakland and rode back to the Gym to slackline and boulder for the rest of the day. Bridges Rock Gym is such a fun place to play. We climbed bunch of problems from V1-V7, tricklined, slacklined and even set up small and fun rodeoline.

Rodeo surfing
Getting close to the wall ...
Max on the fun V4 arete
V3 ...
... fun dyno
Jordan crimipin' on a hard V7

Damian and his fiancee Gail invited us for dinner. We enjoyed amazing home made pizza, had a good conversations, played with two adorable dogs and made plans for the next couple days.

After I've seen video of Faith and other peeps sending 'Unicorn Graveyard' Highline I immediately put it on my 'to do' list. Now we had a chance to repeat that amazing line laying next to the Pacific Ocean with the overview at Golden Gate Bridge.

We started next day repeating the session at the Bridges Rock Gym and then together with Max and Jared went to set up this gorgeous line. Both sides offer natural anchors. You just have to sling some boulders and it is ready. The line it self is 41m long and around 20m high. We rigged the line with Type-18 MKII and dynamic rope back-up (8.5mm diameter). It turned out to be perfect set up and the tension we got was just right.

The way down ... (photo by Jordan Tybon)
To read the full post click HERE

Saturday, 20 April 2013

US Trip 2013 - Take 4; Two-Day Quickie with Yosemite Valley

It has been already a week since Faith, Jordan, Andrew and I went together to Yosemite for a two day adventure. The plan was to send 'Yosemite Falls Classic' Highline and set-up and get some practice walks on 'Lost Arrow Spire Classic' Highline. We decided for that quick weekend action because of the super-windy weather in Lodi/CA which made it impossible to jump and land safely at the dropzone.

Our car 'Karl' ready for the Yosemite adventure photo by Jordan Tybon)

I have unfinished business with 'Yosemite Falls Classic' Highline since 2007 when Damian Cooksey, Jon Ritson and I bolted and established this line. During this trip I've sent the 'L.A.S. Classic' becoming 1st Pole to walk it and 4th person sending it OS-FM. Although, even I tried really hard, and got 3/4 of the line I couldn't send the Falls line. At that time my longest highline was 20 meters long. Heavy 'Yosemite Falls' Highline rigging (threaded tubular + tubular + 11mm diameter dynamic rope back-up) and massive exposure stopped me. The only people to send at the time where Damian Cooksey (FA, OS-OW&FM) and Corbin Usinger (OW).

Sending the 'L.A.S. Classic' Highline back in 2007

Compilation of Damian Cooksey sending the 'L.A.S. Classic' in 2007

We arrived in Yosemite pretty late and missed closing hour of Wilderness Center by just like 10 or 15 minutes. We registered that day but couldn't get the bear-containers without which we couldn't start hiking up the Yosemite Falls trail. Having no choice we decided to camp one night at legendary Camp 4. It was nice feeling to be back again together there after three years. After setting up tents we cooked amazing dinner to get the power needed for the next day battle.

Organizing and packing gear at the morning (photo by Jordan Tybon)

I woke up at 7am, ate quick small breakfast and started organizing and packing the gear. Our common friend Dave Meyers arrived in a middle of the night together with his girlfriend and few other friends. The plan was to get the bear-boxes at 9am when the office opens but of course we finally it took us way longer and eventually started hiking up the trail at 11.30am.

Faith hiking the last brutal part of Yosemite Falls trail (photo by Jordan Tybon)

I always forget that Yosemite Falls trail is no joke with a heavy haulbag. On the way back met bunch of other slackers I never seen before. The last part of the Yosemite Falls is brutal switch-back in a full sun and on a shitty annoying trail. I was slowly moving forward and finally reached the top after 1 hour an 50 minutes. Not bad considering that was my first hiking in a long time. I went down to Yosemite Falls line to say hello to everyone and see how is the line and the conditions.

To read a full post click HERE

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

US Trip 2013 - Take 3; Davis Slacklin'; fun with Jedi Jerry M.

Jordan and I spent last couple days in Davis hanging out with Jerry Miszewski (founder of Balance Community, world record holder and great friend) and his wife Susan. It was really fun times and I'm looking forward to repeat it pretty soon!

First day after we arrived we had a pleasure to visit BC warehouse and were just amazed by amount of the slackline gear we were faced with ... Slackline Porn to the maximum in a best quality available!! Of course we touched every piece on a display, had endless conversations about slackline rigging methods and did other interesting things slackline nerds like us do.

We went together to do some abrasion tests on the new Mantra MK II and Type-18 webbings and it turned out to be lots of fun. After setting up slanted line I had a pleasure to zip-line on it hanging on the haulbag filled with 50kG of shackle. Adding to it my weight (which is around 65-68kG) and small ring on which all of that weight was sliding on the webbings should be destroyed. Both Mantra MK II and Type-18 took this beating really well presenting only small abrasion, leading to important conclusion - the webbings are beefy and definitely suitable for highlining purposes. We decided to test both webbings further more next day in real life. After enough testing action we set up nice rodeo line and surfed as hard as we could.

trying to pull 50kG haulbag up on the slanted slackline ain't easy ... ;)

hardcore zip-lining/line testing ;D

After nice skateboard sessions (BTW Jerry's dad was pro-skater - that kind of explain Jerry's phenomena - must be the genes :P) we went to Jerry's and Susan's house were we had a nice pizza party and lots of good conversations - good times!

Next day we went to Nimbus Dam Recreation Area (close to Sacramento) where we set-up 73m long and 10m high 'The Next Step' Tree-Highline. The line hangs above really nice grassy creek. The spot is perfect offering nice corridor with no obstacles in a beautiful surrounding.

To read full blogpost click HERE

Peace & SlackOn!

Sunday, 7 April 2013

US Trip 2013 - Take 1; AFF in Lodi; 'things ain't always as easy'

I have spent last few days together with Jordan and Faith at the world famous dropzone in Lodi, CA. I have to say all the jumpers and the crew have been really nice to us sharing lots of knowledge and helping us to understand as much as we can in such a short period of time. The weather was mostly good, sometimes a bit rainy and windy. I did my tandem jump and 4 of my 7 AFF jumps, although I stopped at the 3rd level which I had to repeat.

My friends already finished their AFF and Jordan has another 7-8 solo jumps after today. For me the situation is a bit more complicated. I have to admit; skydiving is way more difficult then I thought. I definitely have some problems to relax while falling but I wasn't doing bad. Still deployed my chute on time, performed my tasks and landed at the dropzone. My last fourth jump during first day of AFF wasn't ideal, after my second turn I had a spinner and got stressed and de-arched a bit my body position but managed to pull on 5500 feet and landed safely. Even though my instructor would pass me after repeating the jump, Bill, the owner of the dropzone, wasn't quite happy with me. I heard he is quite character but now I had a chance to experience it on my own and it wasn't quite nice.

To read full post click HERE

Peace & SlackOn!