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'Polizei Macht Frei!' Highline

Last month Jordan and I had a free weekend and decided to start ticking possible highline spots off our urban highline list in Berlin. We did some research on the internet together and found this amazing spot - old abandoned chemical factory. Looking at the pictures online we definitely saw potential of the place but it turned out to be even better then expected.

We packed our haulbags full of gear and took of quite early at the morning (at least for us it was early start). After driving for a while we finally saw two big chimneys sticking out on the horizon. The excitement level reached its ceiling. We were speculating how big it is, how long, if there is a ladder to top, is it strong enough and so on. I definitely felt like a kid going to do something I should not do ... and actually it was totally justified feeling as we were going for illegal ninja highline action.

We parked our car further away and started hiking. It was kind of hard to find the spot but eventually we found the right path. We had to climb over the fence and soon we could scope and play inside this amazing location. Besides the chimneys we came here for, there is bunch of outdoor and indoor highline possibilities which have to be explored. This place is so big and awesome you could organize here a urban highline festival with lines from short up to 130m or more.

To not spoil to much I will stop right now ;) ... We unpacked everything, made a plan and started right away. We tried to be fast, but being a two-person team has its limits. We also forgot few things, had to fix the gear which shifted, haul the 'pig' with whole gear up the rigging side or other things like that. At the end I don't even know how many times I had to climb both chimneys up and down. Even though it just a ladder, when it's 70m up high and you try to be as fast as you can and don't fall of during the same time it can be quite exhausting.

The line is ready, getting ready to rock! (photo by Jordan Tybon)

Because we wanted to rig the lines as fast as possible and stay as low profile as possible we decided to rig the line with single piece of VecTec and pad it really well. After a while the line was ready to go and I think both of us were getting more and more nervous. We never had a chance before to do something like this. It was our first chimney highline. It was quite a line for the first time. It turned out to be 70m high and 38m long but man, it offered some crazy exposure. As far as you could see and all around you was just space, a bit of windmills with faint outlines of Berlins architecture in the distance. I got to send first. I started my normal routine and soon I was sitting in a chongo position.

On the way back (photo by Jordan Tybon)
and near the end (photo by Jordan Tybon)
As soon as I stood up everything melted together. It was a classic tunnel-vision. I actually enjoyed it a lot. It didn't happened to me for quite a while. I managed to send OS-FM. I was really, REALLY psyched. This was just pure 'epicness', together with my best friend during beautiful sunny day. "It doesn't get any better then this", I thought.
PSYCHED! (photo by Jordan Tybon)

Now it was Jordan's turn. He was quite nervous but I wasn't surprised. The exposure, illegal aspect, bunch of rigging involved, single line, something completely new. All together made this line pretty serious. We were joking about free-soloing but that would be some ultimate free-solo shit ... Maybe some day ;)

Jordan sending first direction
And on the way back

After a few falls, Jordan sends one way and returns on the fist try. We are both very happy but also quite tired and done. De-rigging goes quite, well, besides the ropes getting stuck all the time on the metal rings around the chimney. Finally we are done, packed and ready to leave. No problems so far, what a perfect day! Then we realize we left something on the top. Jordan was the last to leave the platform on top so he decides to climb back up. Somewhere around 20 meters or so he freezes up and doesn't move for some reason. Then I hear someone whistling at us and Jordan yelling to me "we have company!". After exchanging few more sentences I realize the company he is talking about is the police. Shit! Jordan flies down the latter, we put on our heavy backpacks and run away hiding around the old buildings. We can't climb over the fence because it is too visible. We decide then to crawl under it. The fence was pretty heavy and both our backpacks were huge. One person had to hold the fence up when the other guy was crawling underneath, then moving the backpacks to the other side. We thought we made it. We didn't follow any regular path in a park, trying to be stealth as much as possible. It was actually kind of funny. Finally we were at the street where we left our car. It looked like it's clear. Jordan checked out if there was no car coming and ran to open the car and I followed.

As soon as we were by the car and opened the door the police car pulled out just behind us. "What da fuck?!" We threw our packs inside pretending like nothing happened ;) ...

Jordan took the responsibility of talking to the officer and the guy turned out to be pretty nice about the whole thing. Though the lady sitting inside the car and checking our ID's seemed to be really angry and unhappy. We didn't lie. It was quite obvious what we were up to. Long story short, Jordan said we though it was OK to rig the highline there and we heard it was done before, blah, blah ... Fortunately the officer knew what highlining was. He even said he thinks it's cool and also that next time we should just call the company owning the place and ask for the permission beforehand. The lady tried to give us a ticket just to teach us a lesson but the 'good-cop' responded to her; "Common, they are good guys, lets let them go"!

We couldn't believe how random the whole situation was. If only we were there few seconds earlier. We came back home, still stressed as hell. At the end it was a great day, story and adventure. Hell yeah! In a tribute of the 'good cop' I named the line "Polizei Macht Frei!" which in my broken German means "police makes free".

Peace & SlackOn!
Janek




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