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Slacklining to Improve Your Balance


by Editor

December 29, 2001

OK, you're bored. It's too far to drive to the crag, and you're not motivated enough to do anything super productive. Go slacklining.

Huh, what's this guy talking about?

Oh, it's the latest craze! Well, OK, maybe not the latest, but it is alot of fun and it will improve your balance. Essentially you are tightrope walking like an acrobat at the circus. The only difference is the rope is not tight and you are only a foot or two off the ground. Try it! It's a blast. When you've mastered it and want a good laugh, get your friends to try it, and watch them eat dirt. It's not as easy as it may sound.

Materials: OK, here is the easy part. 1) You probably have an old rope lying around that you have taken one too many falls on. Other than weaving a welcome mat, here is the best use for that old rope. Don't use a good might screw it up. I have been told that 1" tubular webbing makes an excellent slackline too...and maybe a bit easier. 2) You need two trees. Strappy little sapplings won't do because...well, I'll let you figure it out. They should be 30-45 feet (10-20m) apart. The closer together, the more stable the line will be. The farther apart, the harder it will be to walk get the idea. Oh yeah, have a camera on hand because you look so funny when you eat dirt.

Directions for Set-up: OK, here is a no brainer. Tie the rope between two trees, pulling it tight before you attach it to the second tree. The trick is to have the rope (in the middle) about a foot or so off the ground when fully weighted. So, after you fix the rope to the trees, sit on the rope in the middle. Is it about a foot off the ground? You can make it a little higher if you are feeling brave or you have had a few beers.

Directions for Use: Now stand on it. HA HA! You made the funniest face just before you kissed the dirt. Betcha you thought this was going to be easy. Hang in there. You'll catch on soon.

I could give you step by step directions from here on, but that would take all the fun out of it. However, here are a few tips to get you going: 1) if your knees start wobbling you're not pushing hard enough, 2) you can control the wobbly feeling by using your other leg to hold the rope in position as you press down, 3) remember baby steps, and 4) don't look at your feet.

In no time you will be jumping up and down, turning around, walking with your eyes closed, and contemplating slacklining across Eldorado Canyon like Ivy Baldwin did in 1906 (The wire was 582 feet high and 635 feet across with no net under it). However, I would strongly suggest using a backup saftey if trying that.

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