Above it All - Highlining at Smith Rock
Highlining is something I've been interested in photographing for a while now. Ever since I first saw people at Smith Rock walking high above us across lines that seemed way too thin to stand on, I knew highlining was something I needed to dig deeper into.
This opportunity came one day as a local athlete and avid highliner, Ari DeLashmutt, invited me to come photograph he and some friends as they rigged and walked a highline at Smith Rock State Park.
For anyone who doesn't know much about highlining, or is thinking "that can't be safe", I assure you, it is much safer than you would think. The line they are walking on is rated to withstand forces far greater than any human could apply to it. It is strong enough to lift a car! Here's a little more info if you're curious about how things work - highlining
After meeting up with Ari and a few of his friends, we hiking to the top of Smith Rock where they immediately got to work rigging the line. This is no quick or easy task and it becomes apparent pretty quickly how dedicated these guys are to their sport. All in all the rigging took nearly two hours to complete.
Everyone, especially Ari, was really excited when things were all set up and it was time for them to walk the line!
It's incredible how much mental strength this sport requires. There's the obvious physical aspect, but the mental component of it far outweighs everything else. If you can't hold your focus and block out all distractions, then there's no way you're going to walk across that line. It was amazing watching how these guys would feel themselves losing focus and then immediately force themselves to regain it to stay upright.
As the day began to wind down, Ari was the only one left walking the line. He took some time to lay and even hang out in the middle, embracing his surroundings and overcoming any sort of fear that may have been lingering.
As the sun began to set and the day was coming to a close, Ari took one last lap on the line. It was such a beautiful moment watching him walk over so much exposure and being a perfect example of how humans are capable of far more than we think we are.
It's always inspiring being around people like that. They remind you to always be pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and that our lives should be full of things that help us grow as people. There's a whole world out there waiting for you to experience it, you just have to be willing to understand the risk, put your fears aside, and step out into the unknown.
A huge thank you to Sam Balyeat and Eric Giovannetti for letting me hang out with you guys all day and take your picture.
And to Ari DeLashmutt, this wouldn't have been possible without you. Thank you for helping me make these photos become a reality.
The line being walked in these photos is called "Blue Dream". It is a 220 foot long line that was first established by Chris Rigby and Jerry Miszewski.