Walking a Fine Line within the Sky: The Highliners of Moab
Surrounding himself with honed athletes, Homer Manson and his group discover (and walk) the longest, hardest traces inside the place. I’m thankful for it, man; highlining offers me something to be obsessed with,” 25-year-vintage Homer Manson tells ASN from his home in Moab, Utah. “I love it even though it nevertheless scares the crap of me.”
Manson and his tight community of friends spend day by day searching out the hardest spans to walk through tensioned one-inch webbing. At times, their strains are connected to the tops of slim wilderness spires hundreds of ft off the floor, which makes on foot experiences like they’re tiptoeing throughout the sky.
Expert mountain climbing and a sturdy experience of the journey are required to Highline. His favorite lines are those stretched among hard-to-reach sandstone towers, including 340-foot Doric Column in Onion Creek, placed 25 miles outdoor of the city. Once he’s in balance, wherein the sector falls away from underneath him, he’s centered on placing one foot in front of the alternative, all of the while tapping into his years of exercise to keep from falling. Though safety equipment is used – meaning a fall is little more than a jarring shock whilst his tether snaps tight on the road – it’s nevertheless horrifying. But overcoming fear is the simplest one of the reasons why he does it.
By highlining, he’s part of a loving network, pretty in contrast to something he had developing up. To guide his lifestyle, he works on the town’s hot air balloon organization via day, wherein he’s the crew chief, and via night he serves drinks at a nearby brewery. But that is all so he can pay rent on his trailer (wherein he’s lived for the past six years) and purchase the device he makes use of to set up highlines.
Tools of the trade include hangovers, blocks, line grips, carabiners, and mountaineering hardware. These tools are designed to relax the webbing in the region and guard it against getting reduce over sharp edges. To add to the amusing, every so often, he breaks out his pair of second-hand $3 Homer Simpson bedroom slippers (whole with large caricature-fashion eyeballs) and walks in those, for this reason including a piece of self-humor and also growing the assignment. Though he likes to preserve matters secure, he also pushes the boundaries.
I have soloed [walking without the safety of a tether connecting him to the line], and we rig some risky strains just for a laugh due to the fact we recognize we can,” he says. When we talked, he said he was nursing a hurt shoulder from a twist of fate a few days earlier whilst he tried a backflip on a line 3 ft off the ground. He ended up over-rotating, and, after slamming onto the road along with his frame, he landed on his head and shoulder on the ground. Banging himself up is par for the path, a necessary step as he prepares for the top highlining season this spring.
If it weren’t for highlining, his life could have taken miles one-of-a-kind trajectory – he may want to have ended up strung out on pills or in prison.
Raised by way of his mother, who struggled with addiction, she took care of him and his six siblings (such as his dual). He turned into an age whilst the relatives’ circle left Moab to get away from his abusive father. Despite his mom’s struggle with tablets, he credits her with doing the first-class she ought to elevate all seven children by herself. After Moab, he ended up at the streets in Salt Lake City and the encompassing place. At age 15, now back in Moab, he got busted for stealing cars and ended up in Juvenile Hall. After he was given out, he wandered across the wasteland and commenced gambling on the sandstone cliffs. He additionally joined the local health club and commenced a day-by-day weightlifting ordinary.
One day, two of his friends advised him to get out of the gym and join them outside slacklining. After giving a gaggle of excuses (e.G. He wasn’t flexible sufficient, did not have good balance, and many others.), his friends kept pushing, so he eventually went alongside. I didn’t recognize if I could healthy in or now not,” he tells ASN. “[After that day], I ultimately got to the point where I ought to stand up and, in fact, stroll the road. Soon I fell in love with highlining. I like how fear pushes you from in the back of. Today, four years after beginning the sport, “lifestyles excellent,” he says. “Now I recognize a number of the nice athletes within the global. And they’re my pleasant buddies. I feel wonderfully blessed. I need to live with it, but I can.
His buddies, fellow members of the “slack existence” network, chase the seasons, using one destination to the subsequent. But being on the road isn’t for Manson. When we met up this iciness in Moab, it turned into too bloodless and wet to walk highlines – moisture weakens the porous sandstone – but he had no plans to go anywhere. He knew he just desired to stick in a single region and be affected, the person. It might soon be spring, and he’d be taking walks the line once more. Back on our current smartphone name, I requested him why he does it. After a pause, he said, “It makes you feel special, it makes you sense robust. It enables you to rove your thoughts – to blow your perception of yourself out of the water. Like, ‘I can’t agree with I’m doing this.’ I’ve been on strains and thought this is so one-of-a-kind from how I become raised.