Highlining 101

HowNOT2 Course

How to Use a Highline that is Already Rigged

Going to a highline festival? Meeting up with some highliners that invited you out? If you get the chance to go highlining your first time, make sure it's a good experience and prepare by taking this free course. Highlining has a bigger barrier to entry just to start out compared to other sports. There's no top rope version of this! ... I mean there is, but it sucks and it's not that helpful, but I digress....


We show you how to do it, how NOT to do it and ways you can practice most of what you need just next to the ground.


DON'T try slacklining "up high" to prepare!!! If you are not high enough, your leash will flip you over, just in time to hit your head on the ground like the tip of a whip. Use all that stoke you have to watch a few videos and read through the blogs.


There are 7 core videos that cover the topic A-Z and we will guide you to them in this "textbook". A blog allows it to be easy to read on any device, easy for us to add and update the information, and easy to translate. Consider each blog we send you to as "chapters" and they will always point to the next place you should head. You can always come back to this "Textbook" blog.


Welcome to the original reason I started this channel… Highlining 101 or “How to use a highline that is already set up.” This is 80 short videos squished into 6 categories and 7 videos. You can skip along in the chapters in the timeline or watch the whole thing. If you are a pro, we recommend you share this series with new highliners before you take them out for their first adventure. This also would be great if festivals recommended this to anyone arriving that might have never done it before.


Our A-Z content is in a blog form which allows it to be easy to read on any device, easy for us to add and update the information, and easy to translate. Consider each blog we send you to as "chapters" and they will always point to the next place you should head. You can always come back to this "Textbook" blog.


DISCLAIMER


Highlining is an inherently dangerous sport and people have died participating in it. This course is not a guarantee that you will not be injured or die. Rather, this course is a culmination of “best practices” done globally in our highlining community. A lot of techniques and technology are pioneered specifically for our niche sport and are built on logical assumptions and simulated testing, BUT it is NOT 100% safe. Things can fail and things can fail lower than we previously thought with an enormous amount of variables that are difficult to predict. We build in safety factors and redundancy to reduce the risk but there is still risk. The action of rigging highlines is as dangerous or more dangerous than being attached to a properly rigged highline. Be clipped in when working near cliff edges!


This course is interactive. You are not just reading and watching, but actively practicing the actions in this course. You are doing them at your own risk. If you don’t feel it is safe in general or safe for you and your body type, or safe for your location, THEN DON’T DO IT. We promote safety

and best practices but there is a risk in trying the things we show you at Highline University International. If you proceed with taking this course, then you understand it is at your own risk and Highline University International and How NOT to LLC, the parent company, is not responsible for any injury or death that may occur.


Required Course Materials

You will learn a lot taking this course but unless you practice it won’t help you when you actually go out highlining. You will need the following gear when you go highlining and you can find all this in the “Gear Buying Guide” section.


● Stoke

● Harness

● Personal Anchor System (PAS)

● Line slide


Additionally you will need a BASIC 1” SLACKLINE SETUP and a 12 foot (4m) ROPE to practice the lessons in the park (not just walking). 2” ratchet kits are ok to practice but you will benefit more using 1” as all highlines use 1” webbing. You could buy an actual leash from a slackline company since you will need one eventually if you intend to rig your own highlines, but if you can just find a UIAA 9mm (or larger) scrap climbing rope, that will suffice for the course.




Highline Outfitters

I love amazon as much as the next dirtbag, but it takes years to put safe hardware and webbing out to the market. As this sport grows, more and more slackline knockoff companies will start popping up. SUPPORT YOUR SLACK FAMILY! The companies below are dedicated slackers providing a full range of products. We include every slack company in this course. Balance community and Spider Slacklines helps support us when you click the link before purchasing something.


  1. United states

  2. Balance Community https://www.balancecommunity.com

  3. Slackline Industries https://slacklineindustries.com/

  4. Canada

  5. Slacklife BC https://www.slacklifebc.com

  6. Europe

  7. Slacktivity https://www.slacktivity.com/

  8. Slack Inov slack-inov.com

  9. Aki Slacklines https://aki-slacklines.de/en

  10. Slack Mountain https://slack-mountain.com/en/

  11. Raed Slacklines https://raed-slacklines.com/

  12. EQB/Spider Slacklines https://spider-slacklines.com/ & https://www.slackshop.cz/en/

  13. Easy Slack/SlackFr www.slack.fr

  14. Gibbon https://www.gibbon-slacklines.com/en/ ***No Gibbon products can be used in a highline but is a good brand

  15. Russia

  16. Souz Slacklines https://souzslackline.com/

  17. South-America

  18. Shaoline slackline www.shaoline-slackline.com.ar (argentina)

  19. Bera Adventure (brasil) https://beraadventure.com.br/ (brazil)

 

Course Outline

Each chapter below focuses on these 6 concepts

  1. Cliff Management

  2. Line sliding

  3. Walking

  4. Falling

  5. Getting back on

  6. Self Reliance

 

This was originally 80x 5 minute videos. Now it is 7 videos with everything timestamped for your convenience. Feel free to skip around to just the parts you want or watch in its entirety.



What should you buy if you are just going to get on other people's highlines? We cover your personal gear you need in this section





You would be surprised how much you can get good at on the ground, even without a slackline. And they are skills you are unlikely to have from other sports, so get prepared.



If your leash catches you from falling to your death, you can still get hurt. Here are things you need to know to prevent injury.





That's awesome you got the right gear. Now how do you use it? How do you tie in, and how do you use the silly looking carabiner with the wheels?




Don't be that guy or gal! Every sport has a socially unacceptable things. Look at this if you want to keep being invited back to a highline.




Ok, ok ok. Finally going to show you how to use the highline. The part you may have thought we would have started the course with. Well, here you go!





Apparently there are a lot of details on getting around a highline. So we made this into 2 videos and here it is that 2nd video.




 

TERMINOLOGY

Here is a funny VIDEO made a few years ago about highline lingo.

Unique words specific to what is taught in this course:

  • PAS - personal anchor system. The leash that is permanently attached to you so you can be clipped in near a cliff edge.

  • Line Slide - a wide pulley that helps you roll across a highline

  • Hangover - the most popular brand of a line slide

  • Floss - when webbing goes in between line slide wheels and doesn’t stay flat

  • Whip/Whipper - falling off a highline and being caught by the leash

  • Catch - catching a highline when you fall ideally in your hands and not in your elbows or armpits

  • Send - walking a line without falling



  • Cross - walking a line with falls


  • Full man - walking both ways without falling


  • Half man - walking one way without falling


  • Onsight - walking without falling on the first try


  • Exposure - turning perpendicular to the line and looking at the exposure



  • Surf - going side to side on a slackline/highline

  • Walk on - starting on the cliff and stepping on the highline (not recommended)

  • Walk off - walking from the highline onto the cliff edge (not recommended)

  • Free solo - walking a highline without being tethered in any way

  • Midline - a highline under 30 meters high

  • Humping - when a long highline goes back and forth long ways while you are on it


  • Sag - distance the highline goes down from anchor height while you walk on it


  • Side sag - distance the highline goes to the side compared to the direct line of sight between anchors


  • Chongo - sit starting with foot under butt and 1 leg under line counter balancing

  • Mount - to go from under the line to sitting on top of it

  • Starting - to go from sitting to standing on the slackline/highline

  • Direct exposure - the direct distance to the ground below you

  • Perceived exposure - how high you feel you are based on the view



  • No fall zone - sections of highlines you would get hurt if you whipped


  • Flow state - when you are in a perfect zen mindset. 5 chemicals are released into the brain commonly misunderstood as adrenaline junkie. The reason you are highlining! FLOW is another exclusive resource going in depth about achieving higher consciousness through slacklining, which we refer to as flow state.


 

History Class


Highlights in the history of slacklining:

  • Adam Grosowsky set up the first slackline as we know it today with tubular webbing in early 1980s after seeing people walk parking lot chains in Yosemite Valley.

  • Jeff Ellington and Adam repurposed search and rescue techniques to tension the slackline and came up with the primitive system or the “Ellington system”

  • The summer of 1983 Adam and Jeff attempted Lost Arrow Spire in Yosemite with a cable and had rigging complications so they stopped.


  • 1983 Scott Balcom sends the first highline. It was under a bridge in Pasadena.


  • July 13th, 1985 Scott Balcom sends the Lost Arrow Spire