Rocklands highlines, just about an every day sight during the last few months, and also where the SA record was bumped up to a monster 350m in August, despite heavy weather challenges. Andy Court and Cary Small got that to go, in a whole epic other story! For now, it’s all about the Rocklands Highline Meeting 2020.
With the world in turmoil, each of us has to do what gets us to push through. Prior to LockDown, highliners had all sorts of ideas and improvements lined up for this year’s event. Some came into being and more will next year.
Two weeks to the re-scheduled date, the call went out for the 2020 Meet. Cary and Mary committed, understanding my urge to go for it! Crews of new highliners were visiting Pakhuys when it opened and two of the usual highlines were up most of July and August, thanks to Cary, who based himself there to train. He knows what it takes! I felt there was really no reason to cancel this annual event. Why not just have the 2020 Meeting, right? Not too cold, not too hot either. Dedicated riggers, check. Decision made!
All gear packed. Tape, key. Some good anchor prepping and line taping Tuesday night by Burghen and myself, helping a smoother rigging process. Next morning, Mary joined us to rig the two 20s in blissful quiet. Mountains, webbing, ropes and hardware, living the dream, as Cary would say!
Later afternoon, Burghen set the anchors for Prog Sesh, the camp 35m midline. By evening, cheerful event T-shirt’s arrived with Rob, along with his crew of kitesurfer/climber pals, yeah!
Thursday filled up with action. Mary and Hannes finishing off the 20s, and setting anchors for the 40m. Cary, Leighton and Brigitte arriving with more gear and got the 65m up, tensioning the 40m. With beginner 20m lines ready, the first keenest slackers appeared out over the rocks. Rae, 17, displayed stamina more than most I’ve ever seen, along with his pal, Theo, a trapeze circus monkey, say no more. Having the best time, we stayed up for a while longer, happily guiding their process.
As we got down to camp, fresh froth, in the form of Anton, Tam and pals, just in from the city. They finished off Prog Sesh. Brigitte, rewarded with her first stand-up there.
Most headed up the hill in the evening: Anton’s pals, Rob&Crew, Emily&fam, plus more UCT’ers and plenty others. The wind was gusty and harsh. Highlines have a way of amplifying everything. Sounds are clearer, your body on full alert. But Leighton seemed nonchalant, sending the 65m. Cary’s dream of an OM Circle got underway, adding to the ever positive vibes.
An impromptu morning campline workshop offered beta for leash climbing and highline mounting, lead by Burghen and Cary. About 25 peeps showed up, leaving with improved skills to attempt at height.
A rainy Friday opened up the indoor activity agenda. Juggling, poi, StudioSlacking, fires and wine, hot coal bouncing, and the crazy handstand power manoeuvres from Mike and Rob. Late into the night, Rory on his clarinet, Mary on guitar, Hannes drumming, all singing Johnny Cash and the likes. The Go players in the mix too. Wow, what a diverse group!
A sunny Saturday encouraged a younger generation to step up their game. Rogan 12, cruising the Pakhuys field line of 22m, and older brother, Kei, 15, standing up on the 20m highline. Peter, their dad, giving the lines his best too. What a trio! And Mary spurring herself on, out on the 40m, Sarah, well on her steady way on that overhead highline too.
The all round keenness, inspiring me to also go out there again, to join in on the unique space created for a few days. Get on any slackline every day and notice what happens.
Meanwhile back in the campground, the local little ones, were zipping low lines with the help of JP, enjoying thrills in their own way. Stellies Ryan sharing his own 35m kit for the event. Huge thanks!
A Sunday morning session saw Rory’s progress with crossing the full 65m. What a push! Brigitte improving her stand another level on the 40m, some chilled hammocking to recover, and Go players on the highline deck to balance things out.
Time for the derig all too soon. Three lines came down late Sunday before some had to leave for home. Monday, the longer ones derigged by strong team Cary, Leighton, Rory, Sarah and Lawrence.
Thanks so much to everyone involved this year! Unwinding, sorting gear, reflecting, after a few days of action, super grateful that seeing friends dangling in a gorge, still amazes me as much as it has over the past seven years. It really is a spectacle!
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