During Janek Galek and Jordan Tybon's trip to the US, they visited this new area that had never seen any highline activity. The post is called Castle Crags and it's situated very close to Mt. Shasta right off Highway 5. I've driven by this place quite a few times, but I never had a chance to to visit the place to check it out.

The Shasta Blasta line at Castle Crags - Photo by Jordan Tybon

Well, after Janek Galek and Jordan Tybon came back from their first trip there, they wanted to go back before going home! So, I decided that I would make a quick weekend trip and go out there to rage with them. Well, little did I know, it would be one of the most epic highline trips I've ever been on.

When Grant Thompson and I arrived at Castle Crags, I had no idea what to expect. From the road it looks like a pretty easy hike to the top with some pretty crazy exposure when you get up there. No, this is not correct. The hike up to the top is rediculous! It's about 4.5 miles and you gain over 4,000 feet in elevation! I did not pack for this sort of hike. My bag weighed around 80 pounds and I was bringing a ton of luxury things. If I had known, I would have brought that down to something more reasonable in order to save energy.

To start our epic 2 day journey, we began the hike up to the top of Castle Crags at 7 AM. It took us 3.5 hours to get to base camp, which is about 1000 feet below the top of the peaks. We put down our stuff, packed a small day pack, and headed to the top. We found Janek and Jordan walking a cool 75 foot gap called Mongol Invaders. They established this line the last time they came here with Scott Balcom, which was really cool. We all walked it and derigged right away.

We then went over and tried to find another new line at another location in the crags. I forgot the bring the drill up with me so I had to go down to camp to get it, which turned into a 2 hour excursion. I got lost on the way back to camp thinking I was on a shortcut (typical), then was utterly exhausted on the way back up. It was close to 100-degrees outside with almost no shade, which was not helping the situation. Not to mention, I had just hiked up the mountain and walked / derigged a highline. Needless to say, I was tired.

While I was hiking up the drill, Jan, Jordan, and Grant found a cool line that we placed bolts for. This line was spectacular! Not very long, but holy crap was it exposed. It was one of the scariest lines I've been on in a long time. This new line would be the last line we rigged during this trip.

A view from above Shastizer at Castle Crags - Photo by Jordan Tybon

After placing the bolts for this new line, we hiked the rest of the way up to the very top of the mountain to start rigging the big line. This line was incredible: situated between the two tallest peaks in the park, about 185 feet long, and EXPOSED!! We got the line up aside from adding tension. At this point, I couldn't believe I was still moving. So far I had hiked a total elevation gain of about 6,500 feet (including going to get the drill), walked and derigged a line, drilled a highline, and rigged a third line, all of which are not very close to each other. I didn't think this sort of thing was possible!

The next day, we went straight to the top of the mountain to finish up the big line. Janek and I went to the top of the peak (Janek Galek free solo climbing up the six-pitch route on the opposite side of the line, crazy guy). We applied tension, then Jan got the first send (OS-FM). He dubbed this line "Shasta Blasta", which was extremely fitting due to the absolutely incredible view of Mt. Shasta in the background. I then walked the line in a similar style. Then Jordan came up and got the third send. This line was 185 feet (56.5m) long and about 200 feet (60m) high with nearly 6,000 feet (1,800m) of exposure.

Jordan cruising Shasta Blasta at Castle Crags - Photo by Jan Galek

We then proceeded to derig the line quickly and head down to the line we bolted the previous day. We were all so exhausted already, but we had to get this last line done! So, we quickly rigged it up using the same setup from the last line. I got the first send on this line. It was 120 feet (36.5m) long, 820 feet (250m) high, and SUPER exposed. I have never been so scared on a 120 foot line in my life. Walking in one direction, you go to this small spire that has an epic alcove of cliff faces about 2000 feet behind it. So, it looks like you are walking this huge line when in reality it's only 120 feet! I was shaking pretty bad. I got the onsight fullman though, which made me happy. I dubbed this line "Shastizer". Jan and Jordan followed with onsight fullmans.

A spectacular view on Shastizer at Castle Crags - Photo by Jordan Tybon

At this point, we were all tired, hungry, and ready to get off this crazy mountain. There is this excellent burger joint in the small town near Castle Crags that we all decided we wanted to go to. However, the thing was, they close at 9pm. It was already 6:30pm and we still had to derig, pack our bags, and hike down the 4.5 mile trail! So, we hauled ass derigging and hiking back to the camp. We packed our bags extremely quickly, then nearly ran down the trail. We got to the burger joint by 8:15! Incredible!

We then all decided to stuff our faces with some of the best food I've ever eaten in my life. If you are ever in the Castle Crags area, I highly recommend the Dunsmuir Brewery Works (www.dunsmuirbreweryworks.com). Oh my goodness, the best burgers I've ever had. In fact, they were so good that I had two!

This trip was incredible. In 2 days we drove to Castle Crags (3.5 hour drive), hiked up a 4.5 mile trail to the campsite, hiked to the top (another mile), walked and derigged a 75 foot highline, bolted a new line, rigged a 185 foot highline, walked and derigged this 185 foot highline, rigged, walked, and derigged the 120 foot line we bolted, hiked down the 5.5 mile trail down to the cars, and made it in time for burgers. This was a true test of rigging skill, preparation, and stamina for everyone in the team. I am so glad to have gotten to take part in this. It made up for the fact that we weren't able to do a highline marathon in Yosemite due to the monster Cathedral Spires Highline.

Here are a few more pictures of the lines we rigged:

The almighty Shasta Blasta at Castle Crags - Photo by Jordan Tybon

Looking down from Shastizer at Castle Crags - Photo by Jordan Tybon

Janek on Shastizer at Castle Crags - Photo by Jordan Tybon



Name Mongol Invaders
Length 75 feet (23 meters)
Sag 4 feet (1.2 meters)
Height 100 feet (30 meters)
Exposure 4,000 feet (1,200 meters)
Mainline Webbing Type 18 MKII
Mainline Tension 700 lbf (300 kgf)
Backup Material 9.9mm Dynamic Rope
Backup tenson 80 lbf (35 kgf)



Name Shasta Blasta
Length 185 feet (56.5 meters)
Sag 7 feet (2.1 meters)
Height 200 feet (60 meters)
Exposure 6,000 feet (1,800 meters)
Mainline Webbing Type 18 MKII
Mainline Tension 1,000 lbf (450 kgf)
Backup Material 9.9mm Dynamic Rope
Backup tenson 100 lbf (45 kg)



Name Shastizer
Length 120 feet (36.5 meters)
Sag 5 feet (1.5 meters)
Height 820 feet (250 meters)
Exposure 5,000 feet (1,500 meters)
Mainline Webbing Type 18 MKII
Mainline Tension 800 lbf (350 kgf)
Backup Material 9.9mm Dynamic Rope
Backup tenson 100 lbf (45 kgf)

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