Donnerstag, 3. Juli 2014

100m highline

This has been quite a journey. When I sent my first 100m longline in 2007 as one of the first in Europe, the world record in this discipline was 123m. At that time we were dreaming of the future, speculating if there would be 100m highlines one day – walked by other, more talented slackliners. We tried to imagine what such a line would look like.
When I found out that I was a pretty talented highliner myself (despite a certain fear of heights), I began dreaming about doing such big lines. I bought the best gear I could get with that goal in mind.
This week it all came together. After literally years of searching I found the perfect spot close to my hometown. I used almost every piece of gear I had, such as: Vectran Webbing, 8mm Dyneema rope, Zillas, AFC, SMC pulley, my own drill and a bow (!) to establish the connection. 
This week we only had a one and a half day window of opportunity until the weather would turn bad again. The spot is up on the mountain, one hours hike. Just when the line was rigged, wind came up testing my mental attitude. I still tried and managed to cross the monster with two catches in my second session. I made a tactical decision and waited for the evening assuming that there would be less wind. 
The wind didn't stop, but I tried to convince myself that it got weaker and prepared for another attempt. I took two big whippers at the beginning, slided back twice and then sent it on the third attempt this evening.
When I did the steep hike again on the next day, I could see the sky turn dark. The predicted change of weather came. I didn't take much time to rest and still it started raining just when I got on the line. I knew there would not be much time left so I fought hard and did the Fullman on the first go of the day, very much at my limit and way out of my comfort zone, keeping it together perfectly. (Half way the leash slipped out of the leg loop of my harness and I had to take it between the legs.)
I called the line String Theory. It is 30m high, 100m long (anchor to anchor ca. 103, walking distance ca. 90) and I sent it at 250kg of tension. (I didn't use wind dampers.) The name refers to the fact that I did quite a bit of research to find the perfect setup: The idea was to have line and backup as different as possible and still don't have any unnecessary polyester in the system. So I ended up using Jerrys Vectran MKII and an 8mm pure Dyneema rope (50kN bs) as a backup. I tested the rope in a special knot and it easily endured 20kN (I was able to open the knot after the test). I thought that any unexpected problem with this hightech materials would likely affect only one of the fiber types. And let's be honest, there is still not enough experience with what can happen. I also want to stress here that I don't like double webbing setups, from a safety standpoint aswell as in handling and walking comfort.
What is especially satisfying for me is the low tension. I was close to sending 104m highline almost two years ago, but at very high tension. Since then I completely changed my style and now I am able to walk such a line in good style. It was worth taking a step back.
Big thanks to Andi and Kalti who joined me in this adventure! (Andi Schwarz took the cool pics.)
Thanks to adidas for the great support and to AustriAlpin for the leash, the 50:50 carabiner, the maillons, the steel micro twistlocks and lots of bolts.