north gully slackline

I spent last weekend helping haul gear for the Extreme Ginger kid, aka Robin Avery, for an impressive 38 m long, 240 m high* slackline over the North Gully between the Second and Third Squamish Chief peak.

I was hoping to give the line a try. I’ve dabbled in highlining in the past, but as it would turn out, I’ve still got a long way to go before I’m in the league of the Gingers. I’m not gonna front, I was way the fuck outta my element. My “attempt” consisted of tyrolean-ing across just for kicks.

Professional rigger Matt Maddaloni and split the cost of a $1100 chunk of Amsteel Blue. It’s the same stuff that Dean Potter uses for his highlines, with a breaking strength of 38,000 kg. Too bad the line turned out to be 3 m too short.

Matt rigged the Amsteel anyway, making up for the lost length with four static cords. Nobody had walked on Amsteel before, differing from webbing in that it is round and a bit more slippery. Also, the whole line had a tendency to rotate, which made for some very tricky walking.

Robin was the only person to even come close on the first day, getting about halfway. He took some fantastic falls, making for great footage which I’ll get around to posting eventually. Just a few stills for now.

I didn’t stick around for day two, but they re-rigged the line to fix the rotation issue and Robin sent it. Jeremy from Slackers made it about halfway.

A big congrats to Robin. That guy has balls of steel. Read his account here. Turns out the highline wasn’t even the worst of it.

*Very rough estimate, from noting it took a rock 7 seconds to hit the ground. D = 1/2*9.8*t^2, ignoring wind resistance. I’d guess it was closer to three rope lengths, i.e. 180 m. In any case it is up there.

north gully slacklineRobin and Matt at work.

north gully slacklineLong slacklines need substantial tension. Pulling the line tight, with 4:1 mechanical advantage.

north gully slacklineDuncan’s pack was probably around 40 kg, but there’s always room for a trumpet. Duncan, Joel(?), Jeremy, and Scout.

north gully slacklineThings got real quite when everything was set. Robin stepped to the plate with zero hesitation.

north gully slacklineRobin messing around for the cameras.

north gully slacklineJust to prove it wasn’t a total sausage party. Anna and Duncan.

north gully slacklineRobin attempting a Chongo start from halfway.

north gully slacklineOh yeah, and yes the hair is amazing.

north gully slackline