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Mich Kemeter freesolo highlining at Taft Point

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Mich was the belayer for Freerider on Cody’s El Cap and Half Dome free linkup, which means that he got to skip a night of sleep, instead spending 12 hours belaying Cody and jugging up the whole length of El Cap (to save time, he didn’t climb any of the pitches). And no matter how good a jugger you are, ascending a vertical kilometer of rope is a huge effort.

Early the next morning, instead of doing what most normal person would have done (and what I very much wanted to do), i.e. sleep in and chill, Mich made the most of his time in the Valley and drove up to the Taft point overlook with his friend Craig McKinnon and myself. There, we rigged a slackline over the huge drop, 300m down to a gully which led to the valley floor. The view, overlooking El Cap (I managed to spot my haulbag waiting for me on pitch 4 of Zodiac!) was gorgeous but the exposure sobering.

Mich proceeded to walk the line, first making two crossings with an ankle leash then, once he felt confident enough, without any safety line. He walked smoothly to the other end, stopping a few times on the way but always staying fully focused, only briefly flashing a smile which gave a hint of what he must have been feeling.

I was lucky enough to be photographing the feat, and really love the way the images turned out!

Edit: the story has now been picked up by the British media: the Telegraph, the Daily Mail, the Sun and AOL Travel so far.

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