Ever wish your living room was 185 square metres? How about if it was suspended 150m above the ground, and 65 metres from the nearest piece of solid footing? That was basically the idea behind the 'pentagon space net', a slackline-suspended, over-sized hammock that hung above the 'Fruit Bowls', near Moab, Utah. “It's the first space-net of this size,” says 'Sketchy' Andy Lewis, world-renowned slackliner, and the brains (and funding) behind this project.
1... 2.... 3... jump!
“The plan was to create a shareable space for two communities who were meeting in the Moab area at the same time – the BASE jump community and the slack line community. It was also to honour the memory of a very good friend of mine, Daniel Moore, who brought such an incredible stoke to life – I wanted everyone to share that stoke!”
This is how normal people get there
The plan was to create a mid-air hang-out area that could support 18-20 people, and a viable launch (and landing) for BASE jumpers. But taking the space net from 'crazy idea' to 'holy crap, we actually did it' was no small task.
First, it involved a lot of material. It was suspended by five double-stacked slacklines totalling over 600m in length. The net itself required two 70m climbing ropes, 60m of line for the 'ring', and 5,000m of paracord.
Check out the exit
“Actually, we wanted 6,500m of paracord,” says Andy. “But we ran out of time when setting it up!” It took three full days of on-the-ground rope work from dozens of people to get the net ready to hoist. One of the people helping? Hayley Ashburn, who we featured for her epic highline in the Dolomites.
See Hayley's chilly winter highline below
Once it was up, the fun began. Access to the totally legal (yes, they checked) space net was one of three ways: a cable-car sling (for most), a slackline walk (for some) – and via sky-dive jump (for Andy).
Getting there via the air was arguably easier than slackline – since the net had 15m of sag, the slacklines were anything but stable. “Only the most talented slackliners in the world can pull of a walk like that,” says Andy. The most people ever on it? 17 – they could have had more, but, as Andy says, 'everybody kept jumping off!'
Andy's steps were stable enough for the slackline
The space net hung for over a week, and well over 250 people visited the net, with quite a few spending the night. There were over 200 BASE exits made through a circular hole in the middle of the net, where there was a safe (but wobbly) take-off.
While it wasn't cheap – Andy estimates the material and manhour costs approach $50,000 USD – all in all, the project was a major success. “It was awesome because the BASE jumpers wanted to highline, the highliners got to see BASE in person,” says Andy. “It was really cool! And a huge help to all the Moab Monkeys – people like Brian Mosbaugh, Hayley Ashburn, who made it happen!”
Check out the world's longest slackline
What's next? “I'd love to take the spacenet to a city – Vegas, Dubai – somewhere urban – or maybe to the fjords in Norway. Or possibly string it up between hot air balloons!” Wherever it is, we hope we get an invite to the party!