Jaan Roose slacklining between the Crescent Towers in Doha, Qatar on 19 June, 2023.
© Volodya Voronin/Red Bull Content Pool
Slacklining

Jaan Roose’s most epic slackline walks

Estonian slackliner Jaan Roose has pulled off some extraordinary feats during his career. What will he conquer next?
Written by Katharine Liimets
9 min readUpdated on
Jaan Roose's slacklining adventures have taken him to different countries around the world. He has slacklined cities, monuments and mountains. In July 2024, he challenged the laws of physics in an unprecedented test: The Estonian attempted to walk the Messina Strait - 3.6km from Italian mainland to Sicily. It took him around three hours to get from one side to the other. Although he fell off the slackline towards the very end and therefore did not achieve a world record - he goes down in history as the first man to cross the Messina Strait on a slackline. 

Jaan Roose crosses Messina Strait on a slackline

Jaan Roose makes history as he becomes the first to walk the Messina Strait on a 1.9cm slackline.

Nothing about Roose is ordinary. He only began slacklining when he was 18, and his talents have not only seen him crowned a world champion in the emerging sport three times but also appear in film and TV as a stuntman and even been part of a stage troupe for a Madonna tour.
Here are some of the slackline projects that Roose has undertaken to date – all of which are not for the faint-hearted in their complexity and challenge.
01

Valaste, Estonia, 2024

Happy Jaan after a successful night during his Project "Frozen Waterfall" in Estonia, on February 12th, 2024.

Celebrating his latest accomplishment

© Roman Neimann/Red Bull Content Pool

The project – Crossing the Valaste waterfall, Estonia's tallest cascade, a first-of-its-kind endeavor
Roose and his team rigged a highline across the Valaste waterfall before sliding, in his socks, across the frozen falls. The feat is the latest in Roose’s series of record-breaking slackline achievements.
Valaste is situated in the village of the same name within Toila municipality in Ida-Viru county and boasts a drop of approximately 30 metres, making it the tallest waterfall in the Baltic region. Roose's route took him along a highline set at a notable height of 50 metres above the ground.
Jaan at the end of the line during his Project "Frozen Waterfall" in Estonia, on February 12th, 2024.

Making his way across in frigid temperatures

© Roman Neimann/Red Bull Content Pool

Jaan at the end of the line during his Project "Frozen Waterfall" in Estonia, on February 12th, 2024.

Can you spot him way up there?

© Roman Neimann/Red Bull Content Pool

To successfully complete the feat brought unique challenges, Roose explained: "It's not just walking slowly on a slackline, but instead sliding, where the force of friction also plays a role. You must slide well there because if I get stuck, I fall and slide against the post."
The conditions Roose faced were extraordinary: a sharp 13-degree angle of the line, slippery surfaces and chilling temperatures. To combat the cold, Roose donned five layers of socks and footwear, a necessary precaution as he noted each slide would wear through a layer.
02

Lusail City, Qatar, 2023

1 min

Jaan Roose slacklines across a single building in Qatar

Watch as Estonian slackline athlete Jaan Roose crosses the world’s longest LED-lit single-building at Qatar’s newest and most iconic architectural landmark, the Katara Towers.

The project – A 150-metre walk on a slackline across two points of a single building
The Katara Towers in Qatar's Lusail City are an architectural marvel. Inspired by the scimitar swords in the coat of arms of Qatar, the building hosts two luxury hotels in the Raffles Doha and Fairmont Doha. Each hotel has their own imposing scimitar-shaped tower that face each other. Roose walked across the 150-metre distance between the two towers at his first attempt.
In doing so, he created a world first - the world’s longest LED Sparkline walk. The 2.5-centimetre wide slackline he used has a line of LED lights attached to it to make the attempt standout as it took place just as night ended and dawn rose in Lusail. Sparkline is now Roose's highest urban walk to date at an elevation of 185 metres plus.
Jaan Roose (EST) slacklining between the Katara Towers building in Doha, Qatar in 2023.

This was Roose's toughest assignment yet

© Volodya Voronin/Red Bull Content Pool

Being that high up presented Roose with gusty winds, while the heat and humidity was also overbearing at times despite it being very early in the day.
"I knew this was a building that I had to walk. Anything worth achieving comes with its fair share of challenges, and I’m proud to complete this one.
"Per metre walked this line was my toughest ever. The warm LED lights and their extra weight also changed how the line interacted with me and my body weight. It’s like skateboarding on a big heavy tree trunk rather than a light board.”
03

Nkadorru Murto, Kenya, 2023

3 min

Cat and Mouse slackline

Watch as Jaan Roose slacklines a 580-metre line between the iconic rock formations known as Nkadorru Murto.

The project – slacklining a 580-metre line between the iconic rock formations known as Nkadorru Murto in Samburu County in Kenya.
In the heart of Samburu County sit two rock formations known as Nkadorru Murto. They are known locally as the Cat and Mouse due to their uncanny resemblance to an actual cat and mouse.
Roose was presented with a unique challenge on his attempt at this project. The Cat stands at 151 metres high, and the Mouse at 195 metres. This meant that the slackline would sag and Roose would be walking on at an incline.
“I wasn’t able to visit the place beforehand to make preparations,” said Roose. “It was the first time that a helicopter was used to install the highline. Without the helicopter, the installation would have taken a whole week instead of a day and a half.”
Once the line was rigged, it was a waiting game to find the right weather conditions. After a tense six-hour wait, the wind calmed down, and Roose began his attempt. He battled with the heat and crosswinds of 27 to 30kph, but after just under an hour, he made it across.
Jaan Roose photographed slacklining in Samburu County in Kenya in 2023.

Roose with the Cat and Mouse mountain in the background

© Migwa Nthiga/Red Bull Content Pool

Jaan Roose photographed slacklining in Samburu County in Kenya.

Pure focus

© Migwa Nthiga/Red Bull Content Pool

"We had the help of the local people and tribes who knew the rock formations best and could also warn us about any dangers. Care was taken to ensure that we were not left on top of the cliff at dusk, when wildlife such as elephants or leopards would become active.
"Unfortunately, at the time we started the attempt, there were a lot of insects reacting to any light source. In my stupidity, I attempted to get them away from me as they flew around me. Later I wondered why my eyes were so swollen. It turned out that the cause was not rock dust, but a small insect, which I crushed and had then spread its juices all over my hands and eyes."
04

Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, 2021

1 min

Jaan Roose in Sarajevo

Estonian slackliner Jaan Roose gets a view of Sarajevo offered to few others in his latest edit.

The project – somersaults between Sarajevo's Unitic skyscrapers at sunset.
At a height of almost 100 metres, Roose walked between two well-known skyscrapers in Sarajevo, performing breathtaking acrobatics on a 28-metre-long line. The two towers, nicknamed 'Momo and Uzeir' after characters from a Bosnian radio show from the '80s, are among Sarajevo's most recognisable landmarks.
"No matter how accustomed I am to walking at heights, there's always a certain dose of fear," said Roose. "But that's also the main reason why I do this. I like to challenge myself and create something visually impressive.
"The other factor is the weather. There was a bit of wind at the moment of walking, which makes it difficult to perform some tricks, but it cannot be controlled."
05

Mangistau, Kazakhstan, 2022

4 min

Jaan Roose slacklines across ancient desert

Watch slackliner Jaan Roose as he makes a 500m walk between two stone 'fangs' in Kazakhstan.

The project – a 500-metre-long walk between two mountain formations, over the floor of what was once an ancient ocean – all in 50 degrees Celsius heat.
In the middle of the Bozzhyra tract in the Mangystau region, you'll find mountain rock formations known locally as the ‘fangs’. On these limestone pillars, Roose stretched his slackline to become the first person to cross them.
In terms of sporting achievement, this was far from the longest slackline ever hung or even at any great altitude (200 metres), but there was a set of challenges that made this long line attempt really stand out because Roose and his team were in the middle of a barren landscape with temperatures around 50 degrees Celsius.
While the sun was brutal, it wasn’t the biggest problem – that was the wind blasting across the location.
Jaan Roose seen during Red Bull Highline Mangistau in Aktau, Kazakhstan, 2022.

Now that's a serious slackline!

© Victor Magdeyev/Red Bull Content Pool

Jaan Roose seen during Red Bull Highline Mangistau in Aktau, Kazakhstan, 2022.

Roose threads his way between the 'fangs'

© Victor Magdeyev/Red Bull Content Pool

"One of the hardest and most intense projects I managed to do," said Roose. "Everything took place in the Mangystau region during the summer, where there is terrible heat There was no escape from the burning sun. We lived in tents, there was no mobile coverage, the nearest settlement was 1.5 to two hours away.
"It was funny that an air-conditioned ambulance had been arranged for the project in the middle of a remote void, but no one wanted to go and hang out in the cool. Everyone was too busy."
The project team wanted to respect their environment so as not to disturb Bozzhyra's beauty.
"Since it was soft ground, it was important for the team to preserve the environment as it was before us," said Roose. "We did all the fixings in a natural way, without drilling. For three long days we installed the highline between two rocks."
06

Vilnius, Lithuania, 2022

Jaan Roose performs at Red Bull Showrun in Vilnius, Lithuania on July 03, 2022.

The crowds didn't have to look up to the sky to see Roose for once

© Armandas Knezys/Red Bull Content Pool

Jaan Roose performs at Red Bull Racing Showrun 2022 in Vilnius, Lithuania, on September 3, 2022.

Superman!

© Vytautas Dranginis/Red Bull Content Pool

The project – a stunt performance on a moving truck in the centre of Vilnius.
Roose was part of an array of athletes showcasing their skills at Red Bull Racing Showrun in the Lithuanian capital. For his part, the Estonian wanted to perform in front of huge crowds on a slackline installed on a long cargo trailer pulled by a truck. What made this difficult was that the truck was moving at the same time he was trying to slackline and perform tricks.
"No one had done anything like this before, and we didn't know how difficult it would be to keep balance on a moving line," said Roose. "I had to be very careful!
"We found a trailer that was longer than usual size. We somehow found a way to install the slackline on it, but we were unsure if would all work while moving. There was little time. At night, the streets for Showrun were closed and we did some test attempts. During the actual performance, the truck and its trailer moved in one direction and back for 800 metres, and I didn't lose my balance."
07

Rotterdam, Holland, 2022

5 min

Rotterdam City Highline

Watch as Jaan Roose attempts to cross over Rotterdam’s River Mass by going from one building to another.

The project – a 625-metre highline over Rotterdam's River Maas.
In City Highline in Rotterdam, Roose attempted one of his longest line walking attempts, a crossing over the city's River Mass by going from one building to another. The line he'd been walking over was extremely narrow, and at some points, Roose had to tackle the line going upwards with a steep gradient.
"The technical side of the project was difficult," he said. "It was also the first big line with such a big gradient where I walked uphill most of the time.
"The difference in height was about 35 metres, which is very steep considering the sinking of the line. I had to experiment and practise walking the slackline at a very sharp angle at home."
08

Tartu, Estonia, 2020

Jaan Roose during the longest slackline walk in Tartu, Estonia on June 28, 2020.

Jaan Roose takes a long slackline walk in Tartu

© Arturs Pavlovs/Red Bull Content Pool

Jaan Roose performs during the longest slackline walk in Tartu, Estonia on June 28, 2020

The weather window was closing but Roose got across

© Arturs Pavlovs/Red Bull Content Pool

The project – the longest highline attempted in Estonia.
Home is where the heart is, and for Roose, this walk across a high line between two buildings in Estonia was well worth the preparation and planning. Set in the city of Tartu, Roose set up a 300-metre-long line from the Paju 2 office building to the Tigutorn apartment block on the other side. The height of the attempt was 60 metres and the aim was to do the walk in the evening, though Roose did do a sunrise photo opportunity on the line that went viral.
"The evening attempt was under a big question mark, because it was raining heavily, and the audience gathered on Võidu bridge where you could see me make the attempt and ask the question - am I still walking?
"I waited until the last moment for my start, by which time the weather became a little calmer, but there were thunderclouds in the distance. I successfully reached Tigutorn and just a few minutes later the wind picked up, and the thunder started."

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Jaan Roose

Known for possessing nerves of steel, Estonian slackliner Jaan Roose is a 3-time world champion and the holder of numerous world records.

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