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VL’s Simon Madden heads into the Tasmanian Central Highlands in search of highlining
In January this year I headed to Tassie with VL‘s photog bestie, Kamil Sustiak, and two rad Russians – Stepan and Alex – in search of new highlines.
We had a few beautiful, easy days at the Moai before coming to a fork in the road – take the easy route towards more sea-pillars at Cape Raoul or shoulder the Adult-Sized-Packs and strike out for the Central Highlands and Mt Geryon.
It turns out that Czech’s can be convincing and under the full weight of Kamil’s drive for something MORE we opted for the unknown at Geryon.
It was a cracking decision. Six glorious, uphill-trudging, doubt-filled days later and the first highline on Geryon was in the bag – The Book of Laughter and Forgetting spans between the North Summit and the freestanding finger of the Foresight.
The name plays on the mix of nationalities of the expedition’s protagonists but it also carries a deeper, murkier current. Climbing, highlining, skiing, meditating, cycling, running, leaping out of planes – all of these share some commonalities, one of which is amnesia.
Forgetting has been central to the flow of time. Now though, with vast outsourced digital databases hoarding pictures and posts of things that would be perhaps better left to fade, it seems as if it is more difficult to forget than it is to remember. A perfect memory is a panopticon’s curse that changes the way we behave and leads us to self-censor. Not forgetting has weight.
An overfull past cluttered with stubborn memories is also impenetrably opaque, the volume of things making it hard to focus on that which is important. Forgetting facilitates evolution and change. Forgiveness is wrapped up with forgetting. We need to let go and forget – somethings forever and others for only moments. A good forgetory then is as important as a good memory.
Our memories are not stable, they don’t stay fixed in consciousness. You can deliberately rid yourself of them. Scrape some of them away. Walking the line (climbing the route, dropping the chute) is amnesia.
Forgetting the long uncomfortable march, the burning calves and charred quads, chafed hips, the descent of foul weather, the rising frustration at poor decisions, the quotidian life that waits off the mountain, the past, plans, the self. Being enveloped wholly in the challenge and subject to the instant visceral feedback, these are what consumes consciousness. Walking the line becomes voluntary amnesia.
Massive thanks to Stepan, Alex and Kamil.