Walking across an inch of webbing, only a few millimeters thick, any distance above ground already requires steadiness-and a strong stomach. But for brothers Moises and Daniel Monterrubio from San Francisco, they took the act to new heights, traversing across a 2,800-foot-long line hanging 1,600 feet up in the air from Taft Point in Yosemite National Park.
The Monterrubios claim that their aerial achievement has set a record for not just the longest highline walk in Yosemite, but also in all of California, The San Francisco Chronicle reported.
The Bay Area newspaper says that highlining started as "whimsical pastime among Yosemite rock climbers on a break from scaling granite," but has grown in the recent decade and "flourished into a niche culture of athletes, gear brands, and sponsorships, primarily in Western mountain states." And that's exactly how the brothers started. They initially were rock climbers and started walking the line about two years ago. Appropriately, both are in training to become rope access technicians.
Technically speaking, the extreme sport is similar to tightrope walking, but without the balance pole or the sturdy steel cable. Instead, highliners only use their arms to navigate across tubular nylon webbing that has much more give and stretch than cable, How Stuff Works explains. And it is like slacklining, except far higher off the ground, thus its name.
Part of the challenge comes before a suspended step is even taken. Rigging the line across natural anchor points can be difficult, especially since in Yosemite-where drones are banned-it also has to be done from the ground up.
Along with 18 friends over six days in June, the Monterrubios did just that-threading the line from Taft Point to an old tree truck that has been nicknamed "Your Mom," the Chronicle reported. The also ensured with the park that the line didn't block any helicopter space or pass over roads or waterways.
"It was pretty intense and dangerous but we made it happen," 26-year-old Mosies told the outlet.
They finally made the trek on June 10. Connected with a waist harness to a 3-inch ring around the webbing, a slip means that they stay attached, but may end up dangling upside down with the rope dipping-as much as about 180 feet at midpoint on this particular path- until they make it back to an anchor point to reconfigure themselves. Younger brother Daniel, 23, made the trek first, with about three or four slips from the wind, but catching himself enough to make it across. Then Moises followed suit with two falls.
Others in their groups also attempted the feat and eventually Moises made it across in 37 minutes without slipping up, as did his mentor Eugen Cepoi, the Chronicle reported.
"The most rewarding part was seeing all my friends at the anchor excited about just having it done," Moises told the newspaper. "I value that more than crossing."
Prior to their feat, the longest highline in Yosemite had been 954 feet, also from Taft Point, but to an anchor in the east, meaning their line was almost triple the length.
While their 2,800-foot walk is impressive, the brothers-who have also walked high across the Sierras, as well as in Utah and Mexico-are looking to go the distance to break the national record of 3,200 feet and then the world record of 1.2-mile, set in Canada, according to the Chronicle.
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