Carl Marrs

Seattle, WA | Climbing and Slacklining
  • All-time favorites are Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin. The psychedelic rock! That’s what I first fell in love with when I was 12 and 13. I really looked for that trippy sound. That affinity for ethereal, trippy, spacey sounds has carried over to the type of music I’m into now. Alternative EDM is probably the most appropriate label for it. Bassnectar, Flamingosis, Satin Jackets, Pretty Lights, Griz, and a lot of other small time producers from SoundCloud. I’ve also been into alternative hip-hop a lot recently, like Jetpack Jones, Tone Oliver, and Don Diestro. I mostly listen to EDM and rap.
  • My edge sport is highlining, and specifically, alpine highlining! I’m one of the few people in the world skilled in both highlining and alpine / technical mountain climbing. I think the combination of these sports is the culmination of everything I’ve learned in my life in these two areas, and nothing makes me feel more proud than pulling off an alpine highline. It takes skill, patience, determination and good planning to accomplish. A lot of things have to come together in order to complete an alpine highline, so finally getting to walk on it after all the recruiting of partners, climbing and rigging is super rewarding. Nothing is sweeter than the send!
Carl Marrs
“I would definitely NOT define myself as an “adrenaline junkie” or “thrill seeker.” Those things are part of what I do, but not the reason I do them. For me, highlining and climbing are really about the seeking of presence, mastery and a feeling of closeness with nature and my surroundings.”

What are you looking for in a Network?

I’m looking for a network that will help to provide me with a way to inspire others in the same way that media from those I look up to inspired me. I got into highlining because I saw videos and photos of people doing it, and thought that they were striking, impressive and beautiful. I wanted to do that, so I went out and did it! If a network that I become part of can get more people to see my media, maybe stuff that I’ve done will have that same effect on other people – to motivate them to put in the work necessary to do something that will enrich their life and make them feel alive.

What events do you attend?

My favorite events to attend are definitely highline festivals. There is nothing I enjoy more. There is a very special feeling in the air at highline festivals. Highlineres are different creatures than normal tourists and hikers. We occupy different space, do different things, use different lingo, dress differently, and it just feels like we’re experiencing life on a higher frequency than your average person. I love the atmosphere at highline festivals so much. Whenever I’m there, I feel like I’ve found my tribe. Aside from highline festivals, I attend music festivals and local concerts/shows somewhat regularly (although recently I’ve been spending all my disposable income on gear, leaving no money left for shows). Going out to shows and dancing with my friends is super fun. It’s cool to switch into a different mode from highlining and be in another culture.

Who do you look up to in your profession and why?

The first person I looked up to in highlining was my friend and highlining partner, Ben Plotkin-Swing. Seeing pictures of him on his first big highline trip to Yosemite is what originally made me say, “Woah I wanna do that!” I had met him a year or so earlier and we had climbed together a little bit, and so I contacted him and asked if he would be into showing me how to longline and highline. He was stoked because he didn’t have anyone in Washington to highline with. He taught me almost everything I know about highlining, and now we’re equal partners in developing the Washington highline scene. I’m really grateful to him for taking me under his wing, and I feel really proud to be becoming just as skilled a highliner and rigger. I think we’re a really good team. Other than Ben, the person who I admire most in highlining is Jerry Miszewski. He is the American to have held the most slacklining world records, and he is just a really cool guy that I’ve met at festivals and who really represents what the slackline community is about to me. He owns and operates Balance Community, a place to buy slackline gear and to read articles he writes called “Slack Science.” I learned a lot about highlining that way. He is a great contributor to the community through Balance Community, and he is always stoked and is one of the best highliners in the world. He is one of the pioneers of the modern style of loosely rigged highlines. That style was passed from Jerry to Ben to me and now almost everyone highlines that way. He was one of the first people to walk really long highlines, and the entire highline community throughout the whole world has him to thank for first pushing the boundaries of what people thought was possible. One more person that got me stoked on highlining is Andy Lewis. I think every slackliner has been inspired by Andy. One of my favorite highlines ever was with Andy Lewis on the northern California coast outside of Arcata. I’m also inspired by all the crushers in Europe breaking world records.

Do you create/co-produce your own video content?

My friends and I take all of my Instagram photos, usually just on my phone. For bigger productions, I’ve been lucky enough to meet some people who are skilled videographers and photographers and who have access to drones and high quality equipment and are stoked to come out and get footage of highlines. My skills are highlining and climbing, so I leave the production to the pros!

Do you play video games?

I used to play a LOT of video games when I was younger before I got into climbing. The first game I played a lot was Diablo II. I love open-ended RPG games like the Elder Scrolls and Fallout. Skyrim is probably my favorite game of all-time. When the next Elder Scrolls game comes out I will probably have to get a current generation console to play it. Right now I don’t really play video games at all, though.

Do you belong to any charities or non-profits, do volunteer work?

Not at the moment. In the past, I have volunteered with the Mountaineers, a local non-profit that provides courses to teach people mountaineering and rock climbing. I plan to volunteer with this organization more in the future.

What are the top 5 brands you’d like to work with?

Well number 1 is definitely Balance Community, my favorite slackline company! I would be super honored to be on the BC Pro Team. That would mean a lot to me. Outside of that, I would be open to any brand that wants to work with me! I would be particularly stoked on brands whose mission and ethic align with my own values. A good example of a company like that is Prana. I don’t think they have any highliners, yet! I think it would also be cool to work with local Seattle brands, like Outdoor Research or Sherpa Adventure Gear, both of whom have a mission I believe in. One more would be Slackline Technologies, the only other slackline company based in the US.

Carl Marrs

About The Author
-