Videographer Scott Hardesty recently shot Dakota Collins and Davis Dailey highlining in Joshua Tree.

How did you team up with Dakota and Davis on this project?
I met Dakota and Davis one day out at a popular climbing and highlining area near Estes Park, Colorado. They had setup two different highlines that could be spotted from the lake below. It was my first time to witness this sport, and I grabbed my camera and headed their direction to see what it was all about. It didn’t take long to be impressed by not only the construction of the lines, but the mental and physical requirements of walking them. Since that day we had been in talks of collaborating on a new project and escaping to Joshua Tree during Colorado’s winter season was a great option.

highlining in Joshua Tree

As a videographer, what are some of the challenges of shooting highlining?
For me, capturing highlining is all about variation in perspective. Shots from the same vantage point start to look similar very quickly, so I make it a point to move as much as possible. Of course, this becomes challenging at times when the terrain you must traverse means scrambling across big rocks in a 400ft wide and 250ft deep valley. I keep my kit as light as possible so that I can get around quickly and conserve as much of my energy for the long days.

What story were you trying to tell in your video?
My main goal was to shed light on the relatively new sport of highlining. I felt very fortunate to team up with such an experienced group of guys, and I quickly realized that the process they go through from scouting these lines to sending them was the real narrative. They approach each one with new energy and focus and that allows them to stay safe while pushing the limits of the sport.
highlining preparations

How does the team minimize their impact / leave no trace?
Unlike many other highliners, Dakota and Davis believe in using natural anchors rather than installing bolts which can damage the rock. With combinations of traditional climbing gear and large boulder slings, they rig their lines with concerns of both durability and environmental friendliness in mind. When they step on the line they feel just as safe if not more so, and when they walk away at the end the environment is left untouched. Capturing this process was a perfect way for me to learn more about the highlining world (and how safe it is despite how unsafe it looks).
highlining rigging rock

Why do you think highlining is becoming so popular?
I think slacklining and highlining are becoming more popular because it is a new version of expression in the outdoors. To me its a similar type of physical and mental expression that motivates people to climb, bike, ski, etc. These activities give people an excuse to get outside, stay active, and be creative. That along with new technology advancements in the materials and hardware is also making these long-lines more and more feasible.

Are you going to continue to shoot and cover highlining? If yes, what are you looking forward to seeing?
I plan to continue collaborating with Peak to Peak Collective on their future projects. They have a busy year lined up ahead of them with all kinds of ambitious locations around the country. Water lines, alpine lines, tricking highlines… there is a lot of opportunity to push the sport! I personally am excited to capture some aerial content as well this upcoming year.
highlining joshua climbers

About Scott Hardesty
Scott is a Denver-based photographer and videographer. He also works with Austin-based Ultralite Films. He uses the Voltaic Arc 20W Solar Charger with V72 (now available with the upgraded V88 Battery) to keep his camera batteries topped up in the field and Mountainsmith backpacks to haul his gear.

slackline estes park with battery


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