Sunday, July 27, 2008

Freefall Frenzy

I did a ton of jumps this weekend, which was a lot of fun. Skydiving is pure fun. It is very scary, but man is it incredible. I have been doing a lot of tracking dives to prepare myself for wingsuiting in the hopefully near future, and this weekend was full of some pretty amazing jumps.

For a couple of them, Simon wore a GPS unit on his hand in order to map out our trajectory across the sky. In tracking dives, the objective is to obtain as much horizontal distance as possible, mainly by flattening the body and creating a pseudo-airfoil with your shoulders, arms and legs. Looking at the map of the trajectories, we covered some serious ground! Approximately 1 to 1.5 miles was the distance traveled during our tracks, which is the equivalent of 60-90 miles per hour forward movement (as well as 110 mph downward).

Click Here to see the flight path. The straight line pointing southwest was our tracking vector, which we covered in a mere 58 seconds.

I had a great weekend, did some great jumps (including the sunset load highpull where we deployed our parachutes at 13,000 feet above the ground (18,000 above sea level) and flew all the way down, enjoying the setting sun. Also, my pack-jobs are becoming more consistent, and faster, which is definitely a positive thing. Its always nice jumping out of a plane knowing that your parachute will probably open correctly...

Friday, July 25, 2008

LA Times Segment on Santa Monica

So when I went out to Cali earlier this month, I landed in LAX. Ric and Maria (owners of slackline brothers) couldn't pick me up till the evening, and I landed at 2:45. I had a bunch of time to kill so I took the bus up to Santa Monica to check out the pier. I had heard of a high population of slackliners chilling at Muscle Beach up there too, so I decided I would go see if there were any lines up. I met up with a guy named Josh who was friends with Harlan, one of the slackers also flying in to walk the lost arrow spire. We set up a line and started walking. It wasn't long before we drew a modest crowd, and then a couple people started taking pictures of us. Turns out one of them was a reporter for the LA Times. He was doing a segment on Santa Monica beach, and put me up on the article. Enjoy:

LA Times Article

Down by the River, Up on the Ruff (roof)

The whiplash I got on saturday from that really hard opening has all but subsided. Fortunately I am feeling about %99, and it has been time for some fun!

Some friends had a line set up over boulder creek when I got home from work yesterday, and I joined them for some fun.

It was full of crazy tricks, rad flips, and lots of falling into the water.

At one point I did a transfer from the rope swing onto the slackline. Flawless!

In the evening we tried to do some night kiting, but the wind died right when I got there. Just my luck. So we decided to look at some stars instead.

It was a fun thursday night, one of the best all summer. Now I'm getting rested up for a weekend full of freefall!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Tasting the Clouds

Flapping fabric double backed creating wings between my arms and legs.
This is where I want to be.
Monoliths in the sky, made of vapor and smoke and magic.
This is where I want to fly.
Water droplets on my face, falling gently along my side.
This is where I want to soar.
What was a dream is now a certain future in my hands.
This is where I want to live.
Transformation of body, release of mind, freedom of soul.
This is where I want to stay.
Human flight, transcendence, peace.
This is why I live, and this is why I die.

I can't wait to taste the clouds again.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Full Moon, Tight Lines, and Zero Porosity: Tales of the Weekend Warrior

July 18th-20th, one of the best weekends yet, was absolutely full of adventure. A self proclaimed "weekend warrior" I was out to make the best of the 48 hours between thank God Friday and rest day monday. (I like to refer to going to work on Monday as my rest day, because I finally get to rest from all my "mild" adventures).

Friday night James, Steven, Kate and I took off from Boulder around 7:30 to go climb Mt. Audubon, a prominent 13er in the Indian Peaks Wilderness. Gunning for a full moon ascent, we got to the trailhead just after sundown, and were hiking as it became dark. The first mile was spent in the fading twilight of a hazy evening, but just as we reached treeline, the moon began to rise. Already it was worth it. In a relatively easy hike we made it to the summit (13,221 ft) at about midnight. My Saturday had already started. After some pictures and tea, we made our way back down to Boulder for some much needed sleep.

Saturday was spent jumping out of planes. I did 2 tracking jumps with Jeff, one where he couldn't keep up with me, and then another where I couldn't keep up with him. Then I did a solo tracking dive with a pretty crappy opening that torqued my back and gave me some unwanted whiplash. It doesn't feel like there's any permanent damage though.

Sunday we woke up early and rigged a highline in Golden, the 30 foot long "Golden Spire" line. Everyone who came out got on the line, and did a great job pushing their individual boundaries, which is what it is all about. Laura got out there and got comfortable with the exposure and the experience in general which is a lot to go through. She did great and I can't wait to take her highlining again (I think irrational lack of fear is mixed in our gene pool somehow).

Sore, satisfied, bruised and amused, I returned to Boulder for some welcome rest.

Its weekends like this one that remind us that we are capable of anything, but until we push ourselves to the limit, or beyond, we will never know what satisfaction really is.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Monday, July 14, 2008

Momentary Zen, and the Bridge Between Space and Time

I've been having a difficult time coming up with words to describe this trip, but as a tourist from Spain explained when we were walking the line, "there are no words". Unfortunately I don't know how to put emotions onto a piece of paper, I just don't have the technology, so here is a meager attempt to explain the line that changed my life.

We all grow up with incredible ambition, imagination, creativity, and invulnerability. People grow older and these things wear off. But children are purely and innocently powerful in their abilities to fabricate and follow their dreams. "You can be anything when you grow up!" These words of encouragement dwindle out of the equation as life goes on. So many people give up on dreams, and the pure idea of actualizing those dreams is lost in a hectic world of pressures and status and outward appearances. It is time for people to let go. You can't live life tied to monetary significance or political affiliation or a stereotype of any kind. We are all one living, breathing creature, despite how different we look, we are all the same person.

Dreams are an odd thing. I've said this before and I'll surely say it again: Some people don't have dreams. Other people dream and think how fine their lives could be. They don't change anything. This sounds strange. The actualization of dreams is one of the most amazing things to do with your life. It can bring happiness, joy, enlightenment, and it radiates these things to others around you.

I've had dreams about the Lost Arrow Spire highline for several years now. Ever since I started highlining it has intrigued me. While most people settle for watching videos on youtube and living vicariously through others, they lose sight of their own dreams. Vicarious living is dangerous living as you gain a false sense of accomplishment. It is so easy to do things yourself, to pursue your passions and to live your own life to the fullest that it is sad to see so many let their dreams slip right out from under them. I hate how cliche this sounds, but just do what makes you happy! It will get you out of a comfort zone, and into a better place. Enough about that though, the Spire...

We rigged the Lost Arrow Spire highline in Yosemite last week (55 feet long, 2890 feet high) as well as the second line (110 feet long). You don't know what to expect getting on a highline that big after your highest span was previously 400 feet. The sheer exposure and lunacy of it all is somewhat inundating. It was hard to take in at first. The whole week was a long meditative journey though. I don't ever really meditate in the common sense of the word, but I do actively pursue a higher state of mind, or another level of cognitive existence. Being on a line that high off the ground, it is impossible to walk with a bunch of crap in your head. It has to be clear, free, void of concern or dread or thought of death. I was able to reach that higher state of mind, and everything became clear; time stood still and I was living in a stationary dimension different than all others I have existed in. The future became the present and the past, actually these words became obsolete as space, time, and nothingness conjoined into a beautiful present. It was very surreal and had an ominous "now" feeling to it. I was able to see myself standing on different parts of the line all at once, and could visualize myself in other "places" with lucid thought and clarity. Somehow being on the line, sometimes for minutes upon minutes at a time (as I learned later because I had absolutely no concept of time out there), I could understand my future, because I could see it in front of me. It wasn't 1 dimensional existence, but it was existence in a dimension that can't be understood by an everyday state of mind. It can't be expressed in words, but in emotions and thoughts, it was beautiful.

I hate looking at things in terms of numbers, but I walked the line 36 times and didn't come off it once. I only say this to provide argument for the amazing state of mind and balance of energy and emotion and love that took place out there, precariously perched on that 1 inch piece of man made nylon.

I learned from this trip that no matter what your prior circumstances are, the most important thing in life is to pursue what you are adamantly passionate about, regardless of what that is. Become so incredibly involved, emotionally, in what you do, and love others for what their passions are as well. Live every moment for that moment. I have seen the future and the past, and the present is the most important of the three.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


I'm headed for Yosemite tomorrow morning, flying out on Thursday and we'll be walking the Lost Arrow Spire highline by Sunday hopefully. I'm really excited. 2890 feet above the ground and a hell of a scare factor. I'll be back soon with some amazing pictures and some amazing memories.