Images by: Alenka Mali
Spencer is a world leaders in the sport of slacklining. He has been a vital forcer in British Columbia establishing new high lines and helping to build the “slack” community to where it is today. He currently lives in Squamish, BC where he regularly goes slacklining and base jumping in epic high places.
How did you get into slacklining and base jumping?
I saw a video of Andy Lewis, a professional Base Jumper and slackliner and knew this lifestyle way for me. I already had a climbing background so rigging and ropework was something I had prior experience with. I picked up slackclining by starting low to the ground and not long after I took it up high and capitalized on my climbing background to start rigging high lines. As for base jumping I followed the usual progression of sky diving and learning very slowly to better understand weather and timing before starting my progression as a base jumper. I now have about 250 jumps under my belt, mostly off of the Stawamus Chief.
How has this year been different for you in terms of recreation?
I moved to Squamish from the Lower Mainland around the start of the pandemic and so the timing for staying local has been amazing to me. With travel out of the question (for now) I decided to keep things interesting by setting a goal to establish 21 new base jump exits throughout 2021. The goal is already well underway!
How do you rig a highline?
I get asked this question all the time and there’s actually plenty of different ways. The goal is to get the line from one side of the cliff to the other, most of the time this involves throwing a rope across or using a drone to pull across a string of fishing line. Once the fishing line is across you can pull your rope and webbing very carefully across the void. In a pinch, a potato cannon, a giant slingshot or a bow and arrow also work.
Can you tell us a bit about the community you’ve been part of creating?
I am a co-founder of Slacklife BC a community group that provides resources, gear and events to the community. The community here in BC is very welcoming and mostly a volunteer-driven community focused on helping people learn. Check out the website for resources.
How can aspiring slackliners get involved in the sport. Also tips for newbies.
Step ones would be to find your local community and make some friends who can teach you the ropes. The normal progression would be to get confident slacklining low to the ground and gradually raise your line higher and higher. If that becomes comfortable and you’re still keen it’s time to get on a highline.
In terms of etiquette, it’s crucial to follow park guidelines, especially when using BC parks. The BC Parks website provides a wealth of information about what you are and are not allowed to do, follow those rules to keep access open for everyone. It’s also important to use protection to wrap the trees you slackline on and not to leave your slackline set up overnight if it’s not allowed. Be a steward of the land you’re using.
Last but not least what’s your favourite Strait and Narrow cocktail?
Definitely Pear Rhubarb.