Taking it to the extreme: Walking the line

Last updated 05:00 19/10/2012
BETWEEN MOUNTAIN TOPS: James Clulow in action.

BETWEEN MOUNTAIN TOPS: James Clulow in action.

Life on the line

Stuff Nation Extreme Sports
Fazeel Khan Zoom
Taken at my local skate park in Henderson, West Auckland.

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I have been slacklining and highlining since I was 16 years old (so for the past 9 years).

It evolved into a passion after I discovered the sport through rock climbing. I was living in Anchorage, Alaska, at the time.

A slackline is different from a tightrope, in that it is made from 25mm-wide nylon webbing. Tightropes or tightwires are rigged on steel cable. Walking a slackline is like walking on a 25mm-wide trampoline. It bounces and sways with you.

Slacklining was born in Yosemite Valley in California during the 1980s and is becoming an increasingly popular sport around the world.

That particular line, see video left, at the Niderhorn in Switzerland was only 27m long, which is considerably shorter than my personal best highline of 47m.

The webbing and backup rope are rigged on different anchor systems to have a fully redundant highline.

You are attached to both the webbing and the backup by a leash, which you tie in to a climbing harness. Highlining, when done properly with the right material, is a very safe sport.

I can say that I have taken many falls, both resulting in catching the line or in leash falls, but I've never had a serious accident in the 9 years I have been doing this sport.

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