In August 2016 I set my first FREE SOLO Highline World Record. FREE SOLO means walking a highline without any kind of safety leash. It's a form of slacklining with extreme consequence, that requires a very advanced state of mind and control over the slackline. The line I chose for this walk was breathtaking to say the least: It was a 400m high, 72m long highline right next to Hunlenfalls in British Columbia, the tallest free falling waterfall in all of Canada.
It all started with my two good friends Vale Rapp and Lukas Irmler and me going on a one month long Slacklife trip to Canada, where we met up with the SlacklifeBC crew to rig some epic highlines. At the classic Squamish Highline gathering on top of the Stawamus Chief in early August, without knowing it at the time, I already started preparing my mind for this record, free soloing some of the shorter but more than 200m tall highlines. After that a group of 11 friends, including amongst others my good friends and Canadian slackline legends Spencer Seabrooke and Mia Noblet, drove for one full day until we switched from Vans to a float plane, which finally took us to Hunlen Falls, a truly remote place in the middle of the Northern British Columbia Wilderness. We set up camp and after the first day we had three gorgeous new highlines rigged, right next to the biggest waterfall I have ever seen.
After becoming really comfortable on the 72m long highline, doing many tricks and back and forth walks, I realized that this was it. This was the line I had been moving towards without even knowing it. I needed to free solo this line. It was meant to happen. So on the third day, after a good warm up session, I took my harness off and went for it. The result was... without words. Just watch the video below and you might get an impression of what it feels like to be balancing 400m high one a one inch wide strap, with nothing but your own skills protecting you from falling.
Not only was this the longest highline anyone had ever free soloed until that point, with the previous record by Spencer being 64m long, it was also the first time that I let anyone film me on a free solo walk. Until then I had kept this "dark" passion of mine pretty much a secret, I guess mostly in order to not scare my mum too much. When I finally told her about it and the new record, she wasn't exactly happy, but she accepted it and trusted me to take the right decisions. A great feeling!
If you want to see more epic shots from this adventure, including huge ropeswings and another world record by Mia Noblet, definitely check out the Slacklife Series by the incredible adventure film maker Levi Allen.
WARNING: Free Solo, in other words walking a highline without protection, requires many years of training and mental preparation. Free Solo is a personal decision, which everybody has to take for themselves and take all responsibility for. I do NOT encourage anybody to highline Free Solo and I hereby explicitely emphasize that highlining with a safety leash is the generally accepted and favored form of highlining, which is certainly also more fun!