Sunday, 18 August 2013

Free-Soloing Lost Arrow Spire - "The Doubts and Ecstasies of a Highline Free Solo"

During our last trip to US Jordan and Jan accomplished their goal to free-solo "Lost Arrow Spire" Highline. It was a long-time goal for both of them. For Jan it took another 6 years after his first ascent of L.A.S. back in 2007 to go back and feel ready for this challenge. It was even more meaningful because this time it was a 2-team friends mission. It was quite a process to get to this point when free-soloing Spire seemed like a good idea and it took some sweat and pain to get there. The topic of free-soloing is quite controversial and we would like to say we don't want to encourage anyone to do it (although we do really like it and it means a lot to us). We do want to inspire people and even if one day someone takes their first leashless steps on the highline because of us we are sure it is because of their own will and need. Another thing is we never heard of someone who would just go free-solo something without any preparation. Even with a lot of preparation and right mindset it is hard to let go and commit. Lately Jordan and Jan put up a story which was published on the Outdoor Research website. The photos used in the article are snapshots from footage taken by a friend Grant Thompson. We want to say thanks to everyone who inspired us and believes in what we do. We would also like to mention that the same day Jordan and Jan free-soloed the Spire, the line saw another beautiful free walk from the friend of ours Braden Mayfield.

'The Doubts and Ecstasies of a Highline Free Solo'

"In May, Outdoor Research and Somewhereelseland Team members Jan Galek and Jordan Tybon became the first two-man team to free solo the Lost Arrow Spire highline in Yosemite. Here’s Jordan’s breathless play-by-play of their feat, with additional notes from Jan.

We had just two days to complete what was, in hindsight, a somewhat ambitious adventure: to rig, walk, and free solo the Lost Arrow Spire highline. It was early May and hot—really hot. Jan and I were in Yosemite and spring had finally arrived, the Valley alive with excitement.

We had rigged the spire some weeks before—it had been an excuse to see some friends who were in the valley and a quick distraction from the stress of an AFF skydiving course in Lodi. It was good to get on the line again before the free solo mission to remind ourselves of the rigging details. We noted exactly how much equipment we needed, and it would be tough to carry off with only a two-man team. As a highliner, I have a pretty intimate familiarity with heavy backpacks. But the packs for the spire weighed in at about 135-140 pounds, considerably more than I’ve had the pleasure of carrying for any project in the past.

Yosemite Falls Trail is steep, slippery and full of rocks and lovely endless switchbacks. We made it in about two hours and managed to set up our tent just before rain came crashing down. On any other day, I would have suggested we wait until the next day to rig, but I knew that we were pressed for time, so out we went as soon as it stopped raining, leaving just before dark to rig a complicated highline.

The spire is about a 20-minute walk from the campsite. After fixing our first abseil, we descended to the flake and began to build the anchor, placing the four blue cams, equalizing with an industrial sling and attaching the line to the anchor. We used very dynamic webbing with high stretch and a thin 8.5 mm twin rope as backup. Everything is redundant in highline systems, and when rigged properly, highlining is quite safe. The lines were attached to my harness and I trailed them behind me, taping them together at large intervals to reduce the chance of a line getting caught as we climbed the backside of the spire."

To continue reading click HERE

Peace & SlackOn!

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