The High-Exposure World of Yosemite’s (Other) Big-Wall Adventures

It started with Dan Osman in Yosemite Valley within the mid-1990s. That’s when the long-haired, heavy steel rocker from Lake Tahoe tied his ropes collectively and flung his body off the side of three,000-foot El Capitan and the 1,100-foot Leaning Tower. Motivate then, Osman became once the mountain climbing god who starred within the Masters of Stone movie series. He climbed laborious—including free solo—plus he skateboarded off cliffs and performed immense rope-catching falling cartwheels.

The motion photographs immortalized Osman, who died when a file-breaking soar went awry in November 1998. However his spirit lives on in Yosemite, the set this present day more than 20 years after he location the bar, vertical thrill-seekers follow his imaginative and prescient.

These locals consist of Ryan Sheridan and his partner Priscilla (Prilla) Mewborne. They both dwell and work in Curry Village, CA, the set Mewborne is a bellhop and Sheridan tends to the bike and raft stands. Of their free time, they’re on El Capitan, 1,700-foot Liberty Cap and 700-foot Rostrum. Right here they rig highlines, aerial silks, and cord jumps.

Earlier this one year, Sheridan, carrying a giraffe onesie, triple-backflipped off the Rostrum.

Yosemite is the birthplace of slacklining, a sport that started with strolling chains within the Camp 4 car automobile parking living. It requires strolling alongside 1-scamper webbing stretched or draped between two formations. Where slacklining takes region most titillating about a feet off the flooring, highlining takes region a total bunch or thousands of feet within the air. Appropriate savor with mountain climbing, the sport is allowed within the park so long as users follower guidelines. (Learn more right here.)

Ryan Sheridan

Reasonably than counting on bolts drilled into the stone to stable his highlines, which is fundamental, Sheridan’s aim is to abolish bolt-free anchors. Fancy a vertical technician, he relies on his background in physics and mechanics to abolish equalized anchors that count on cams (spring-loaded removable rock-mountain climbing security), which he sets within the support of immense flakes. Once the rigging is total, Ryan is the first to dwell-test the road. Right here he suppresses vertigo attributable to overwhelming publicity, takes about a steps on the road, and dives off. His body falls several lengths sooner than his harness tether catches the road.

“That first fall that is the scariest,” he says. “That 2nd between if you happen to’re falling and sooner than the machine catches is the wildest half. After that, it’s always fun.”

Once he’s in steadiness and strolling the road, he says, “The flooring is to this level away that you may perchance perhaps additionally’t scream that you’re swinging 20 feet, side to side. The reference parts on the flooring are all messed up because of you’re transferring so worthy. I receive seasick thanks to the swinging.”

This month Sheridan is rigging a bolt-free highline all over the Heart characteristic on El Cap’s southwest face. He objectives to sinful the abyss from one side of the characteristic to the assorted, a distance of 300 feet. If winning, this is doubtless to be longest highline on El Cap. It can perhaps perhaps perhaps even be first time anyone has walked this half of the wall.


“I went up final night, and I discovered a safe crack machine,” he says. “I’m 100 p.c certain we are able to fabricate it work.”

One other use Sheridan has for rigging highlines is to create a suspension level for Mewborne to create aerial silks. These acrobatics are performed by wrapping and unwrapping one’s body from hanging cloth made of poly tricot that is linked to the slackline above. Moves consist of inversion spinning, knee hooks, splits, foot wraps and dynamic drops.

Ryan Sheridan

“Aerial silking brings joy to my soul, and a smile to my face,” Mewborne says. I will’t receive ample of it. It’s an awfully special feeling taking over living thousands of feet off the flooring and the use of my savor energy to wrap my body in luminous systems.”

By practicing their sport amongst a backdrop of enormous waterfalls and shimmering golden stone, these highliners and aerial silk performers join with nature in a intention that few others ride within the nationwide park. Up right here, “you’ve got got a relationship with the mountain,” Sheridan says.

This connection to the vertical atmosphere is what keeps Sheridan and Mewborne coming support one year after one year. “Up right here on the walls,” he says, “you plot end one thing beyond your creativeness and fabricate it a real thing.”

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