Taking the High Line
For professional slackliner Mickey Wilson, the next adventure is wherever he can park the RV
Balanced on a thin strip of nylon anchored high above a remote canyon in the southern Rocky Mountains, professional slackliner Mickey Wilson is working on a new sequence of stunts. His fiancée and semi-pro slackliner, Purple, is there, along with Wilson’s father, Duffy, a former pro skier—all of them living out of a fully loaded Winnebago Paseo that lets them turn any camping spot into their living room.
Lately, Wilson has been focused on highlining, or slacklining at elevation: essentially a radical update on tightrope walking that involves performing tricks. (If you haven’t seen it, Google it.) He recently perfected highlining’s first double front flip and can’t wait to show off what he’s cooked up next at the GoPro Mountain Games in Vail this June. “I worked with the Games to add three highline venues for the first time,” he says. “It’s sure to be a crowd-pleaser.”
Thanks to Wilson’s uncanny ability to be in the right place at the right time, he might just pull it off. He is, above all else, a man of action who also loves to kayak, mountain bike, skydive, and ski. Last winter, he became famous around the world for rescuing a skier who was hanging by his neck from a chairlift at Arapahoe Basin in Colorado. “I just saw the situation and acted,” he says about when he scooted along the top of the chairlift cable, climbed down to the chair, caught a knife tossed 20 feet up to him by a ski patroller below, and then cut down the skier who was hung up in his backpack.
That same propensity for action has taken him around the world as a slackliner. He’s gone to Europe for competitions and the Middle East for performances, but he can often be found rambling around out West, looking for cool spots to string a highline across a chasm. That’s where the Type B RV comes in. With it, he can set up close to the slackline site, with enough room for he and his crew to eat, sleep, and relax comfortably. “An RV means more time on the ’line,” Wilson says. “Instead of wasting half a day setting up camp and then undoing it all at the back end, we just throw in our gear and food and go.”
Once in camp, they have the space to map out and plan the slackline’s installation within the weatherproof walls of the RV and don’t have to worry about battling the wind and weather to cook breakfast or dinner. It’s a true basecamp. “And oddly enough,” says Wilson, “thanks to the large, adjustable awning along the side of the RV, we end up spending more time outside, taking in our surroundings instead of huddled in a tent to get out of the sun or rain. My dad and I have always loved camping, and the RV just makes it easier.”
The night after Wilson and crew camped at the remote canyon, they spent a few days outside of Taos, New Mexico, high above the banks of the Rio Grande. Wilson had planned to skydive out of a hot-air balloon, but the weather didn’t cooperate, so they explored the area on foot and, of course, slacklined in camp. “It was great—all we had to do was think about the adventure,” he says, which for Wilson means getting airborne one way or another. As he likes to say: “We weren’t meant to only hang out on our two feet on solid ground.”