Slacklining is a sport rife with records, but this one is extra cool. Nathan Paulin already had the record for the longest highline walk in the world, and now he's beat his own record — by a lot.
In Aiglun, France, on Tuesday, April 19, the highliner and balance athlete, along with Danny Menšík, set a new record for the longest slackline ever, just over one kilometer (3,346.5 feet, or nearly two-thirds of a mile).
See this incredibly impressive feat in the video below:
Hiking up the line
The record distance was only part of the effort — getting the line to the location meant a 2.5-mile hike with over 1,600 feet of vertical gain that took an hour and a half. And that was just to get to either of the anchor areas. The rope and accompanying gear weighed over 175 pounds in total, so they split it into three backpacks and hiked in formation.
The line was strung between the Paroi Dérobée and the Créte de Mont Mal, high above the river La clue d'Aiglun, the famous climbing area near Aiglun. It took them two days, eight people and the help of a drone to set up the line, which attached to a tree on one side and four bolts on the other.
A little aerial assistance
A drone was used to take a fishing line across the gorge, followed by two bigger fishing lines pulled by the first one, which helped pull a four millimeter rope, and in turn was used to pull the slackline and back-up rope. (By our calculation, that’s a minimum three miles of rope and line, just for the record.)
The drone was key. "With the drone, it took us only eight minutes to get the fishing line across," says Menšík. "With people walking the line, it would likely have taken a couple of days."
Reeling in the catch
The line stood 1,968.5 feet off the ground at its highest point over the river, and was in fact 1,020 meters long, giving them quite a bit of margin on their one kilometer goal.
While walking one kilometer sounds easy, it’s a different story when the world is moving under your feet. “You need to stay concentrated all the way," says Paulin. "The hardest part was the end. I thought I was so close, but I had [over 650 feet] to go.” The day after, his friend Menšík sent the line as well.
For Paulin, the short one-kilometer stroll took approximately one hour and 15 minutes. (one kilometer at walking speed takes about 10-12 minutes for most people.) The line moved a fair amount under Paulin, who was walking with bare feet. Menšík, who failed to on-sight the line, did manage the walk in just 40 minutes on his third try.
You can clearly see the bend in the line from all the wind, but it's not hurting, it's actually helping. "A light, steady wind actually helps stabilize the line," says Menšík. "But it's true that if it gets strong, the line starts acting like a viper."
Where’s the next massively high, incredibly long line going to be? That's to be determined, but there’s no question a line like this won’t be crossed for a while. "It's the furthest we've ever gone, and we've doubled our previous record," Paulin says. "Now it's not about length, it's about finding incredible new places."