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Chapter 1: A monster, and a backup fall
1st of August: I just came back from my hitchhike trip in Europe, after 35 hours on the bus ( 27 of sleeping ) and one rest day, with Matic, we decided to rig a 200m highline. With polyester of course! It was close where I had established a line a few weeks ago.
Maxime joined us for the week. There were 3 of us, and thanks to the fishing line I left last time across the gap we rigged it really quickly. I went on the line and as I took my first step the rain came... Let's try tomorrow!
Second day: The weather was good, the wind also; the tension was not perfect but it's comfortable; it's time to crush the line! We've now got 5 days to try our best! Matic met some difficulties at the very beginning because it was his first time on such a monster, but he soon managed to cross it. For me, it was on my second crossing that I made my best attempt, 3 catches on the way back. In Maxime's case, he crossed the line countless times with few catches.
Third day: We all started to walk longer parts and feel more relaxed and began to become used to the line! Guillaume and Luca joined us. We rigged a 110m, right next to the big one, and unfortunately we had to change the main 200m line and get it back to its owner. The transition was made and the line was now looser and lighter. This made it easier for Matic and Maxime, who both had their best send on this setup: 8 catches for Matic, 5 for Max! Me - I didn't manage to feel good on it, my head wasn't strong and I was completely drained, so I decided to only play on the line! Time for Guillaume and Max to leave!
In the evening, Luca, Matic and me began to wonder a lot about the safety of the loose backups on long highlines. We watched a video of a backup fall test on a 45m line which is not at all smooth at all... 'Would our back-up brake after some free fall? What about the shockload? And the stretch?'
That's how we came up with the idea to make a backup fall test on the 110m.We hadn't got a dynamometer, but we had 3 days left and we had the gear; 'Let's do it!!'.
This was the plan :
We derigged the 200m, installed this stuff, and threw the bag just before nightfall.
It's super smooth!!!!!!!!!!!! What a fucking great surprise!! It's only 40kg, but it means something!(ask me if you want to see the video )
On the last day the rain forced us to take a rest.
We learnt a lot during this week; fighting such a monster forces you to understand your balance and not make any mistakes, and now we can feel SAFE with loose backup because we know more!
'On the road again... Let's crush the 130 in Verdon!!!!!!!!'
Chapter 2 : A 5 ways Personal Best !
We reached the Verdon Gorges on August 7th. Our plan was to rig the 130m line, and since the connection link was already established, in less than two hours it was done !
Night will came soon but we had enough time to get a chance to try once to walk the line. Matic managed to walk a rather long distance on it, and Luca completely crossed it with only one catch!! Everything was floating and it seemed so easy… I was next. In no time I was standing on the line with 150m under my feet, I kept walking, and reached the middle and managed to get 40m to the the end. Then it was a huge battle, but I was still on it and everything started to be easy again and.... « WTF is going on, am I onsighting the 130 of Verdon?! » and unfortunately I did a catch...... DAMN ! They were right, it was not that hard!!!! After a few minutes expressing my happiness and yelling, Yuri showed up. He quickly went on the line, walked the first meters with few catches, and on the way back he felt only 10m meters from the end after a huge and long fight ! Whatever “Tomorrow will be ours “!!
After a good hammocks night, and a strong breakfast, it was time to show who was the man to this 130m snake ! Matic's turn, after falling so close to the end, the third try was the good one! This showtime just gave us the power we needed.
Yuri wanted to get it done, and after some little fight, it's quite easily done !! WAW, they just did it, had to believe!!
It was my turn, so let's try the way back, this time I had to send it and that was hard to imagined it... I stood up, walk 40 m and started to shake hard, almost catch the line and heard Yuri yelling at me « KEEP ON WALKING !!!!!!!! » (Thank you guy :D ). The pressure was gone after this fight and I finished the line quite relaxed. HELL YEAH, we were three now !! It was crazy, Maxime and Luca had to do it as well !!
Luca went on it, with a lot of pressure, but he managed to get it also easily after few tries... What an intense moment to have seen him cruising it !
Now it was Maxime turn, and I think there was no words to describe how much pressure he had, he was the last one and since we all sent it, it was hard to focus for him... He went on the line for 1 or 2 hours, and did some good crossing with one or two catches but didn't manage to send it, probably too much pressure... !
Second fighting day for Maxime, he wanted to do it, he will do it ! This day, he will go 2 times on the line, and walked around 10 times by falling so close to the end and we started to think that he needed a rest day... But on the last try, he just walked closer to the end than ever, we didn't want to distract him and so we were not moving at all, then suddenly, something we didn't even expect happened, HE FOUGHT !! We witnessed him walking the last 10m till the anchor and we ran to him : HE DID IT !!!
What a great moment... It really showed us once again how better is slackline when you share it with friends. And how this sport is mental...
The days after, we sent the line again and did some bouncing and walking blind.
Chapter 3 : ONSIGHT !
We were only two survivors of those 2 weeks. Maxime and me had 4 days before the summer big project. What could we do ? A 130m already established and easy to rig, or a 150m never rigged before... Mhmh, why choose the easy way « Let's rig the 150 ! ».
We'd both huge backpacks full of food ( and a bit of gear) and less than 1 hour later, we were on the spot ! After some spotting, we'd find the line, natural anchors both sides. In spite of our quickly and efficient connection, the fog made us retreat...
Woke up early second day, and at 10, the line was there, ready to be crushed ! Just the time to take a break, the fog was back... Doesn't matter, it was nothing for Max the warrior !
Only 20m, and I didn't see him at all. He came back after few minutes of fight in the thick fog and said « It's so easy to hold !! Go on it ! ». Then it was my turn, and as though the slack-god was with me, the fog was gone !! I will crush it ! I stood up, walked the 10 first meters when I felt something on the leash, my rings were stuck in a backup loop. « Okay, keep calm, don't fall and walk behind... 1 step, 2 steps YES it's done » I could keep walking. I walked very quickly to 40m to the end, exactly where I fell on my first try on the 130, had a little shaky moment but kept walking and realized that I was 5m to the end. I ran on the last few steps on the steep and slippery end and sat down. I did it. Wait, I did it, I JUST ONSIGHTED IT !! I couldn't even believe it, something happened to my mind that I couldn't fall, no bad thinking and just keep walking... I'm so happy !
But it's not done, Maxime's turn !!
He tried the other way, and compared to Verdon, he didn't need time to feel relaxed on it. He just stood up and walk so easy to 50m to the end, and fought again !! Definitely, we learnt a lot the passed two weeks. He kept walking and fighting to 20m to the end, and suddenly, just sat down... « What's your problem man ? Ahaha you didn't even catch ! » « No worries, I'll do it on the way back ».
So, he was gone for the other way. Quite same walk, with the same fights. I ran to the other side, cheered on him and finally, he was right, he did it this way !! CONGRATS BRO YIHAAAA, we both did, and it was only second day ! Chill out in the hammocks and play the line seemed to be a good plan for the rest of the day.
We had two days left, and we could rig longer. Pierre, joined us on the third day. At 12, the line was rigged, but this time it was 170m !
I was lazy, but it was my turn to go first. When I arrived to the anchor and looked at the other side, i could see maybe 10 or 15 tourists watching me... usually I hate this, but my mind was good and this time I didn't really feel bad about it. I stood up. It was even more steep than the 150 so I walked really quickly to arrive at the transition part. I kept walking till 50m to the end, and slipped on the backup but heard Pierre and Max cheering on me. « Okay, keep calm, you just have to keep walking ». Then I continued till the anchor of the previous line, the 150, and compared to this line, I felt tired but had still 20m to go. I started to shake very hard, lifted my leg over my flexibility limits ( I'm not flexible at all!!), held it and kept walking... 15m to the end, I knew that I'd done it, I couldn't fall now. And I walked to the last meter.
WTF was this ?! I just onsighted 170m, and it's a world record equalization !!! What the hell happened ! I'm so freaking happy...
But like on the 150, it was not completely done, Maxime's turn again !!
This time, he met more difficulties to feel good on it, and finally managed to cross it with 2 catches . Second try, he fought, fought, fought, and fell... damn he was so close. He decided to take a rest and try next day. I said him at this moment « Maxime, tomorrow you should just don't care of everything, and play the line ! »
We woke up early on this last day, went to the spot, and Max went first. First, he tried to walk and send it, but after few fall we just shouted to him « Dude, just play !!! » , and that's what he did (finally) ! It was so cool to see him enjoying it and be relaxed. It was good but we couldn't change what he wanted, and he went on the other side, stood up and started to walk to send it. We thought that he should continue to play, but he seemed quite more good. Then wee didn't really looked at him, when few minutes later, we saw him arriving like 40-30m to the end and making a huge fight ! « Come on guy, you got it !! » He will do it, we knew it but after 10m of shaky walk... he just fell. NOOOOO he was so close...
it's a shame but we don't care about the send it was so intense to see him fighting as a warrior ! Congrats buddy.
So, it was the end of the 4 days, and I just had the time to play it a bit and it was time to derig, we'd to be at Nathan's place late afternoon.
It was such a cool experience to walk some long, heavy and loose lines, I learnt again about myself and have now a better control of my mind. And share it with some good friends double up the pleasure... Share is the way !
Chapter 4 : The big project, or a good hike
Here we were at Nathan's place for probably the last highline weekend of the summer. But it might be one of the most beautiful line we'd ever done. The plan was hike the 1300m of height difference with HEAVY backpacks and rig a line around 150-200m.
Early in the morning, Hugo joined us and we started to walk. The first part is quite easy, and after we went straight in the steep to go faster. We all managed to reach the summit ( around 2500m) in 2h30 to 3h ( OKAY, I'm the one who needed 3 hours ).
After a little break, just the time to set up the camp and eat some marmalade, we started to rig! Thanks to Nathan, the bolts were there and the connection was already almost done. But with some stuff we didn't had expected, it took us 3 hours. But it was sure, the line was 190m... A new world record !!
The leash was on my side, but I didn't really wanted to go on the line for the moment. More of that, I hadn't any highslide. Go on a 190m highline without any highslide was possible, but I needed to take a little nap before going « Let's go after the nap ».
Guess what woke me up ? A helicopter of the mountain rescue !! Like only 10m above us, it was crazy !! They made us sign to take our phone before they left. Nathan who was down and had signal on his phone said us what they said... We had to derig, it could be an obstacle for the planes or paragliders. Damn, all this work for nothing. We were so disappointed ! Next time we've to inform like weeks before.
Well, we decided to spend the night at the camp and enjoy the lying sun. We even did some caving exploration.
Next morning, the rain woke us up, we packed all the stuff and we get down as fast as we could !!
What a funny weekend, what a beautiful end...
That's it, now we all have to back home and study. It was a great month spend with you guys. I learnt a lot and enjoyed it so much ! Thank you again, and see you next time for others crazy projects !!!!!!!
See you !