Highline Trip to Cassis and Montserrat
We were to go south to escape the low temperatures in March. The two most suitable places were the French coast near Cassis with its precipitous rock walls and Catalonian Montserrat in Spain. However, in the end it was snowing even in Spain...
At the end of March, Clemens, Mirko, Niklas and I (Alex) went on a three-week trip that none of us will be ever likely to forget.
We set off on March 28 in the Elephant motor home and met Anatolij, Marinus and Tereza in the luxurious skiing resort of Verbier, which is the final location of the “Freeride World Tour” every year. Like in the previous year the people organizing this tour had booked One Inch Dreams together with a French and Swiss highline team for a highline performance above the streets of Verbier. We had an excellent view from the rooftops over what was going at the event. The lightly dressed “Swatch Girls” dancing in a cage below and we took turns in our performances.
After that weekend the One Inch Dreams Crew went on to Southern France where we met Raffi, Allison, Friedi and Lukas to realize a project that we had had in our minds for long: Near Cassis there is a 75 meter high free standing tower, which is connected to the main land only by a small land bridge: the ideal spot for rigging a highline.
After three strenuous days of rigging the line and a day’s break because of rain the 58 meter highline was finally rigged and also two other lines that Lukas (Helicopterphobia) and Raffi (new 51 m one) had meanwhile rigged parallel to it.
We spent two days sending the lines. Friedi really took off sending the 76m Helicopterphopia except for the last 15m.
The strong wind prevented us from highlining again and again (something Mirko had to experience as he had saved his serious attempts of the tower line for the last day), however, the wind also added some extra fun.
On Sunday evening we broke camp and left Cassis for Spain. We stopped in Montpellier for a day to see our waterline friend Alain Barbet and finally arrived in Barcelona on Monday night.
The next day after doing the groceries, we met Ramon, the local slackliner who had made it possible to realize the project, at the bottom of the Monserrat mountains.
After sorting the gear we ascended with 40 kg heavy backpacks in the late afternoon. Arriving at the spot at sunset we got overwhelmed by the magic of the spot.
What is so special about this place are the brown colors and the round forms of the rocks, the remoteness, the exposition and the wide view over the whole mountain range. There is a great feeling of peace and liberty. We were to spend the whole next week in this wonderful environment.
On the first day we rigged the 55 m highline “Fuck the monks” that had been walked by Alex the previous year first. This year it was more often used for rolling to the other side than for walking on it because on the other side there was the middle fixing point of our space line. Rigging this space line once again meant a hell of a lot of work and effort and didn’t go smoothly. We needed one and a half day for installing the anchor points. When on the third day Raffi, Allison and Christian Chr had arrived and we were about to get really started, there were suddenly two police offers at our spot demanding us to take everything down.
That would have been the end of our project and the project of the French because the Dudes from Pyrénalines were rigging a massive Rope Jump at the same time:
Two 200 m long static ropes rigged horizontally and in the middle of these 70 m long climbing ropes for jumping into.
After walking down to the monastery of Monserrat together with the officers, Ramon could persuade the “patrons” of the monastery to allow us to carry on. Of course, we were relieved and overjoyed when hearing the news.
Two days later the Rope Jump was finished. They jumped from a step in the rock 30 m above the rope anchor, so that the real free fall was about 100 m. As time was scarce only one of us Germans was able to jump. It was Niklas who was lucky enough to win the jump and have an unforgettable experience.
The rest of us were able to do a small Rope Jump, which we later fixed at the Space Anchor. But first we had to finish rigging the Space Line during a snowstorm. So I sat in a hole in the middle of “Cavall Bernat” (a 200 m high tower) for 6 hours for doing that. Only on the next day was it ready to be walked.
When I am about to get ready for my first attempt, it starts snowing again. The strong wind and the snow from the side make me lose my orientation so that I don’t even stand up after my feet have turned into icicles but I flee into the cave.
The cave is a former monk’s cave that has been restored and furnished comfortably by rock climbers. After everybody has called it a day, the sun comes out again. I roll over to the anchor point of the part of the Space Line that goes out towards the valley lying 1,000 m below. Although it is only 30 m long, it isn’t easy to send at all as it is slack and of course, because of the influence of the Space Line:
You are not used to the up and down movements of the line, which become stronger the closer you get to the Space Anchor and the fact that you have to look down onto the line as the lines are the only point of orientation you have. Therefore the last few meters up to the Anchor are the most difficult part.
With “There is something else that you usually don’t get when highlining“ Mirko describes the attraction of a Space Line. He, Niklas and Chris were able to sent that part of the Space Line, too. I myself struggled to send the 50 m, which had been tensioned too much unintentionally. On the 80 m long part of the line I realized that I lack physical and psychological training to be able to walk such a line. I couldn’t even stand up after three attempts! Chris did much better, but couldn’t send it either because of the special movements one isn’t used to.
To relax and to have fun at a rather exciting spot we used our Ticket-to-the-moon hammock below the Space Anchor.
After three days of walking the Space Line we had to take down the lines. As there was such a strong wind that made knots into the ropes, it took me twice as long to unrig the complicated part at the tower side.
We spent a wonderful day in Barcelona afterwards. With Clemens as our tourist guide we were able to enjoy the beach and the atmosphere of that city appropriately.
Unfortunately our motor home was broken into during that time and electronic devices valuing 4,000 euros were stolen.
Nevertheless, we had three epic weeks with lots of cool people who I would like to thank for the awesome time we were able to share!