In 2012, Rohit was watching some videos of Dean Potter who was a climber and high-liner from the USA, on the internet. In the video, Mr. Potter was walking on a one-inch tape across a deep valley. The element of risk and adventure present in the act attracted Rohit, and thus he decided to learn Highline.
He started learning more about this new adventure and was searching for an expert all over India to train under. But he wasn’t able to find out anyone from Highline field. Meanwhile, he came to know about some of his friends in Pune who used to practice slackline. Since both the acts were related, he approached them for the basic lessons.
Slackline is the act in which a line is tied between two poles on very low height (2 to 5ft) from the ground, and people walk on it. But in Highline, the line will be tied at least above 40ft from the ground between two mountains/cliffs/buildings.
After gaining the basic knowledge and training from his Slackline-friends, he bought an industrial tape from them and started practicing. He also realized one thing that, there are slackliners in India but, no Indian has ever tried Highline yet. So, it became his bucket list to become the first Indian to successfully attempt Highline.
He started practicing on the 1-inch industrial tape in 2013. He gradually started gaining his balance. Rohit decided to go for Highline walk after one year of dedicated and hard practice. He was prepared and ready for his first major Highline attempt.
Everything was set at Sandhan Valley. The line was 20-meter-long and the height was almost 200ft. Including his friends and team, there were 21 people to support him. After taking all the safety measures, he slowly walked towards the line. He was watching each step, and tried so hard but something was not going well. He fought the whole day just for one single step, but he didn’t make it. The experience was a bit depressing for him, but he had the determination to come back.
He went back and engaged in hard training along with meditation. After one month, he decided to go for another highlining, but this time it was with a limited team. He rigged a Highline on Dukes Nose, Khandala. This time, the line was 10 meters long and 50ft high. And this time again when the moment came to walk on the line, he became nervous. But he was not scared. He had the confidence to cross the line that time.
And, once he stepped on the line the only thing that he saw was the other end of the line. He was walking slowly. His team was watching him progressing with beating heart. Step by step, he advanced and finally he reached the other end of the line. That day (26 December 2014), his dream came true.
His team cheered for him. That was the first highlining ever done by an Indian. Yes, Rohit became the first Indian high liner! He was happy, satisfied, relieved and proud. This was his dream and so he gave a name to this Highline – Dreamline!
“Highline is not only an adventure sport, it is like meditation and yoga for me. It taught me how to stay calm when in panic, and how to overcome the fear.”
Experiences and Impact
Highline was an unknown adventure to Indians, and so it was very difficult for him to collect its proper technical information. It was his climbing partner Ganesh Geedh who help him, in the situation. Together they rigged the 1st Highline which was not completely as per Highline standards, but very safe.
Highline is the world’s safest adventure sport, but if you don’t have the technical knowledge of Highline, then it would become one risky game. He did it without anyone’s guidance, but he learned a lot and feels that he is still learning.
“Now there are a bunch of people who are doing Highline. You can get enough information for your safety. Be safe and keep the sport safe. After all, Life is all about Balancing.”