High-lining on the Stawamus Chief

The Stawamus Chief is far and away the most iconic landmark in Squamish. Towering over 700 m (2,297 ft) above the waters of Howe Sound, its uniform granite provide some of the best trad climbing in the world, and scenic views for those who hike up the back. The Stawamus Chief, commonly referred to as just the Chief, is utilized by hikers, climbers, BASE jumpers, and high-liners. High-lining is in my opinion, the safest of these activities.

A high-line set up on the North Gully of the Stawamus Chief.
A high-line set up on the North Gully of the Stawamus Chief.

High-lining is very similar to slack-lining, just set up at a height that is unsafe to fall from, so you wear a harness and are tethered to the line. Both sports utilize webbing that has been tensioned between two anchors, and the aim is to walk across the line, or do many variations of walking. The gullies on the Chief, specifically the North gully, is a perfect location for rigging these high-lines.

On most sunny weekends, members of SlackLife BC will set these lines up, and several members of the Quest Slackline Club often join them. The first weekend of the block provided a perfect opportunity to bring a few new Quest students up and introduce them to the exposure and frustration of high-lining. IMG_0430We also sent word out for all students to come by, as Spencer, the leader of SlackLife BC and current free-solo high-line world record holder had plans to set up the first ever human anchored high-line. High-lines are set up using a redundant system of anchors and backup lines, so that if one line or bolt were to fail, the person walking the line would still be perfectly safe. Spencer envisioned a line whose main line would simply be held up and tensioned by people holding opposite ends and pulling against one another to tension it. Because the backup line would still be anchored onto bolts, even if the people holding the line dropped it, whoever was walking the line would be safe, as the second line would catch them.

In order to successfully do this, we needed someone light to walk the line, and lots of people to hold it. Luckily it was parents weekend at Quest, so many students were hiking the Chief with their parents and stopped by to help out. Thanks to everyone’s help, Haiko sent the first ever human anchored high-line.

Haiko walking the first ever human anchored high-line.
Haiko walking the first ever human anchored high-line.

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