Welcome to Balance Community!

Dedo de Deus

EVERYTHING STARTED WITH A PHOTO. As soon as I hit the eye on the profile of Serra dos Órgãos (RJ - Brazil) a perfect abyss came to my mind. The geography of the Finger of God and its connection to the "neighbor" Fish Head invoked my most audacious dream to this day in the life of highliner. At that very moment, my head has already thought of connecting those two mountains - and, in the same second, my body began to warn of the difficulties and challenges that I would have to face until I got there.

Dedo de Deus Team

Four years have passed since then, with that image stubborn in inhabiting my imagination. Choosing to do a highline in those mountains meant raising my level (and that of sport) to a new level. Add to that a surreal setting and the whole history of the Finger of God, an icon in the area and a strong symbol of national mountaineering - its first ascent dates back to 1912, and its shape, similar to a hand pointing to the sky, illustrate the State flag.

To realize dreams like this, I try to break them into pieces. I think of the capacities necessary for everything to materialize. And so, going back to the details, I realized that my experience wasn’t enough. The risks would be very high.

I embarked on two and a half years of total dedication. Hours of study, mountaineering experiences, and greater contact with climbing and its different practices. There were many trips inside and out of Brazil to simulate inhospitable environments that required complex logistics. The successes in some projects and the many mistakes in others have made this construction of skills a transformative and meaningful path.

Rafa on Dedo

I have been evolving in the practice of slackline and in my joy in living. I was facing my fears, leaving the comfort zone whenever possible. All this gave me confidence to get the idea of ​​the Finger of God out of the paper in 2016. I just did not imagine that this would be just the first attempt, full of surprises.

THE STRUGGLES THAT NOBODY SEES

OUR PLAN WAS DARING. And there was no room to measure efforts. We gather local guides, cameramen, friends and athletes from different countries. A large and distinguished group was formed. Since we did not have many previous interactions in similar projects, the clear objective of conquering the highline was the union force of the collective.

Rigging Dedo

Right from the start, the rain did not give a truce in the mountains. One more big challenge to test our spirit to face the situation. We decided to start the rigging even under adverse conditions. The team progressed up the mountain, setting up fixed ropes and pulling the weight up. We were making progress, calculating risks and seeking motivation.

But the adverse scenario was overcoming the psychological of the members. Friction between team members began to occur, disbelief was taking shape and mood decreased with every drop of rain that fell. In dealing with nature in its wildest and most remote form we need to listen and learn from its signals.

Beautiful Sunset on Dedo

The whole effort was not enough: we were defeated by the mountain. A hard fall to accept. Mixed feelings appeared as soon as we left the Serra dos Órgãos region without rigging the dreamy highline.

But something was telling me that we left there to get back even stronger. The errors indicated (in the most difficult way) the points of improvement. And here was the key to our success.

Less than a year later, we started with the right season, the month of August, the window closest to the drought period on the group's agenda. The number of people also decreased significantly. And the great "secret": to carry the weights to the top of the Fish Head, and not the Finger of God, as we had tried in vain a year before.

This removed from the logistics all the work of hauling for the access to the peak of the Finger. Not that it would be easy to do it in the Head instead, but the plan eventually made all the difference.

CONNECTING DREAMS

WE SET OUT FOR THE NEW MISSION with two Brazilians - Ighor Pereira, who also worked hard in 2016 - was again on the team - two Frenchmen, Pablo Signoret and Antony Newton and two Americans, Jerry Miszewski and Ryan Robinson. A small but extremely capable team. Among us, current and former world record holders in the highline and in the various slack disciplines. Athletes who are raising the level of the expeditions and making possible crossings that previously were only reality in our most courageous daydreams.

Rafa on Dedo return

Based on a refuge in Teresópolis (RJ), very close to the Serra dos Órgãos National Park, we face a first day full of clouds and expectations. A fine shower received us, and the similarity of the weather with the previous year began to worry. Seeking confidence, we separated the equipment and decided to climb to the top of the Fish Head in the morning of the following day.

We set off early, dividing the weight of the webbing and the equipment, connected like a centipede. Three athletes carried heavy backpacks while another member was ready for the relay. Strength and timing were essential to overcome the steep hike and unguarded climbing parts. And to this idea of ​​"phytopeia", as we call our hard and fun walk with the webbing, worked. We set up the anchor and descended happily with progress.

The big day had come. The weather was drying and opening. And the goal of one more ascent to the mountain was to return to the refuge with the line rigged. So, we would have to climb the Finger of God and connect the two peaks. An extremely delicate and fundamental part for success.

I left early with Antony for the Finger, while the other four headed for the Head top. We started at a strong pace, but when we reached the "chimneys", it was not easy to carry a heavy backpack with all the anchor material and also the bolting equipment. The psychological and physical pressure was enormous.

Team Moments

Controlling and channeling thoughts and all responsibilities in a positive way helped in the pace and completion of the climb with the equipment. Five and a half hours later, we reached the summit. We could not see a hand in front of us.

For a brief moment in the clouds, we saw the other crew at the other anchor. A moment of joy and greeting, and another important step taken. The sense of accomplishment is good, though, it was time for more focus and attention to the next step. We started the radio communication and soon began the flight of the drone, which would take a fishing line with 400 meters of length. Without any visibility, the challenge was greater. But the maneuver worked. Shortly thereafter, the webbing was finally rigged.

What an incredible feeling, those two days of intense work, synchrony and many efforts now translated into that finalization. The will to celebrate was great, but prudence and weariness made the decisions. With caution, using our flashlights, we descended the Finger, found the other team and went towards to the refuge.

The Finger of God

The next day was a rest day. And the blue sky already helped to renew the energies. We decided to take a peek to see if we could see the highline of the road. Yes, you could see from below! What an incredible scene! To look at the connected peaks was a moment of ecstasy. The excitement inspired us to organize the junk and go to sleep on the summit.

TIME TO MAKE HISTORY

THE WALK BROUGHT TO MIND everything that we had passed in the previous year and this new attempt. Maybe that's why, when we finally arrived, everyone was completely silent. Contemplation. What a composition that tline made with the scenery of the mountain. The line was now part of the Serra dos Órgãos scenario.

Pablo decided to make a try. Straight up, he has already crossed without any falls (323 meters of distance by 500 meters of height). The first between Fish Head and Finger, baptizing the new "On the Line of God". The story was being made. The colors of the late afternoon begin to unfold and the winds intensify, ending the chance of other quieter walks. We decided to eat and rest.

Pablo with the Send

Sleeping in the hammock, I was awakened when the light of the full moon lit up in the sky. Shortly afterwards, I did not realize that I would wake up with Ryan calling me to see the most beautiful sunrise ever. Without much thought, I jumped out of the comfort of the sleeping bag and headed toward the summit to greet the first light of day.

A mystical, introspective and plural morning. Colors transforming behind the formation of the Three Peaks way further ahead in Salinas. A moment when the line and our energies vibrated in unison with the sun's rays. The calm and the well being of already being in the summit motivated a lot for the beginning of the crossings. Ryan, followed by Jerry, and after my attempt.

I could not wait to experience that emptiness. I wanted to be part of that silence, to float in the rhythm of the wind and the ideas. To arrive in a way that until then seemed "lunatic" at the top of the Finger.

Jerry on Dedo

The conditions were great. I walked enjoying every step, every little imbalance. The one-way crossing was with a fall. The expression and the feelings of stepping on the other anchor point were extremely intense. A few tears (and a lot of calm) took over me.

I decided to let go of the line and enjoy that experience alone. Connected only with my dreams, my privilege view of the world and my longings. It had no better feel than the wind on my face. I concentrated again and prepared myself for the walk back.

The sensation of leaving the Finger and facing the height was transformative. The arrival at the starting point marked the accomplishment of a remarkable step in my trajectory.

View from Above

The forecast of bad weather made us anticipate the dismantling in one day. The descent required a lot of attention - the combination of weight and fatigue can be a serious risk factor.

Even near the end of the crossings, the scenery was fancy. Clouds forming between Finger and the Fish Head. The sun rising behind the clouds in a great moment of splendor. We concentrated on making our last walks in such beauty. Moments of transformation forever incorporated.

We leave the steep mountains of the Park in harmony and with eternal memories. With our soul washed from failure the previous year, we have very well closed our period of spiritual connection with that land.

We did a chapter of the local - I believe even world - history of mountaineering. There's a lot still to be processed. But I do not remove from my imaginary that I'd like to see the repetition of this line and other crossings in this very special region.

The learning was intense. The connections were deep. One more saga of powerful feelings, nerves on edge and difficult decisions. At last, the dream came true. We left there extremely strong. May the balance make more and more sense and this search for its details never stop.

Ryan with the crossing

The full team

Line Specs

Length - 323m (1,059 ft)
Direct Height - >500m (1,640 feet)
Exposure - >1000m (3,328 feet)
Mainline - Aero 2
Backup - Feather PRO
Tension - ~3kN




← Previous Post
Leave a Reply
Post your comment

Balance Community: Slackline Outfitters