Walks with a difference: local lives the highlining life

Hoel Guy walked on a 2.5cm-wide rope between the Remarkable mountain ranges. PHOTO: JAMIE SHAW
Hoel Guy walked on a 2.5cm-wide rope between the Remarkable mountain ranges. PHOTO: JAMIE SHAW
There is a fine line between brave and bonkers.

But proving no guts, no glory rings true, daredevil Hoel Guy has walked across a slackline hoisted between two peaks of the Remarkables mountain range - at about 2000m in the air.

Mr Guy, who is French-born but has been living in Queenstown for 10 months, has been "highlining" for about five years, having completed about 250 walks between mountains and canyons around the world.

The extreme sport involves connecting mountain-climbing webbing - which is only 2.5cm wide - between two anchor points at death-defying levels, and walking from one end to the other and back again.

In March, Mr Guy walked the 70m-long line, secured between two boulders at the Remarkable range, in about 20 minutes and without falling off.

Despite how insanely traumatic the sport seems to onlookers, Mr Guy gives assurance it is "extremely safe" because "you are linked with a climbing harness; you have a main line and a back-up line - everything is doubled up."

The skill, however, is far more than just a balancing act, and requires intense concentration, technical knowledge and an ability to control emotions.

"You learn deep focus, good breathing techniques and you also learn to have no fear," he said.

Mr Guy, who is also an avid skydiver, admitted the first few walks were petrifying and sparked contemplation about why he was taking on such a terrifying task.

While the aerial athlete has completed highlines more than 400m long at Mt Arapiles in Victoria, Australia, and Verdon Gorge in France, he said the Remarkables challenge was one he would always remember.

"When you are in the middle of the line, you have 360 degree views of Lake Alta and Lake Wakatipu.

"The scenery is so beautiful and gives you desire to do your best," he said.

Always looking to take things to new heights, Mr Guy is hoping to one day combine his two passions by highlining between two hot air balloons and skydiving from the middle.

He describes highlining as a metaphor for life.

"Just be in the moment; get from one side to the other and enjoy the journey."

A journey not for the faint-hearted.


In a word---nuts.



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