FUTURE  MAKERS   Photos  et  texte  :  Tancrède  Melet  (Bad  Slackliners)  avec  Jordan  Tybon  (Somewherelseisland)      


Context : This 45m highline had been recently bolted by a friend, Christian, with 4 bolts on each side. The line was never rigged, and Jordan and I went out to set up the line and make the first send. Set-up : On the side with the castle of Montferrand, the limestone rock seems okay. There are some cracks, but the bolts are on a part that is solid. Jordan was rigging from this side, fixing the anchor and installing the tensioning system, I was on the side that failed. As I got there, I thought to myself that the block which has the bolts looked a bit sketchy; there were a lot of cracks underneath it, and it was leaning in the direction of tensioning. But is seems the bloc has good connection with its base, and it must weigh more than 1 ton, let’s carry on with the set up! I joined Jordan and Analena on the other side to help with tensioning. There were 3 of us, we used SBI double pulleys, with another small pulley and tibloc for the multiplier. I guess tension is about 800kg, we pulled 5/6 meters, and it starts to be hard. On the last pull, the far side suddenly collapses, several blocks fall, each weighing hundreds of kilograms. All in all, we pulled about 4-5 tons of rock down, but they are soon stopped by the trees, one anchor was then about 10 m lower. The slackline and backup didn’t break, we look at each other: what da fuck just happened? Observation: By reaching the other side, we realized what had happened: some blocs fell down 7/8 meters, knocking down two oak trees. Some other blocs only felt 2/3 meters, and the span set was smashed between two rocks. One piece of the backup is broken, carabineers are twisted, the bolts remained in the rock, but we were able to break one out as a souvenir. Another big rock, used as the backup, was pulled down as well. Each rock must have weighed about 1 ton. We were lucky this happened under tensioning, and not when somebody was on the line. After : Conclusion: This line was already bolted, and it is with this kind of spirit we are going there to set it up. We are not here to try to find a good rock and test it with a hammer to check it before drilling. But even if the rock might have sounded good with a hammer, we are facing a situation where everything broke: the main and backup anchors. Highline uses the gear and anchors to its limits, the forces involved are huge. What we can take away from this experience is that we should always check in detail the rock quality on both anchors, whether we are the ones that drilled the bolts, or not. This situation is the worst that can happen: it is not only a bolt that breaks, or a line that collapses, it is a part of the cliff that is pulled down, carrying everything while falling. Even if the backup was bolted on another part, it would have broken. I hope that this report will serve the community. Tancrede PS : just to finish this on a touch of humour, we were saying with Jordan that we would be happy to reconvert ourselves in the pulling down rocks activity. We could accelerate the effect of erosion; we would be called the future makers.






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