MOAB, UTAH – It’s a chilly off-season December morning and twenty something Hayley Ashburn and a few friends are squeezing in some morning excitement. One of her crew has to show up for his first shift at a restaurant, in Durango, 180 miles away.
They’re BASE jumping Looking Glass Rock, an iconic sandstone amphitheater 30 miles out in the desert.
Most parties use piles of gear to climb the three pitches and rappel down, but Ashburn tied a rope to a belt loop of her jeans and belayed her team to the top.
A self described professional slackliner, BASE jumper (buildings, antenna, structure and earth) rock climber, stunt rigger, and now author, Ashburn makes a living out of living the dream.
“I’ve finally made a niche market for myself and my skill set,” she posted on her Facebook page. “I travel the world year round helping push the sports I love, voicing my opinion on ethics … with a focus of including women in outdoor sports.”
Meeting her, you get that she likes voicing that opinion, then you learn she heads up a slacklining club in Moab for kids. This girl just wants to show the world how much fun life can be.
Graduating with top honors from the University of Colorado in Boulder, she found herself writing a book on slack lining right off the edge of her education.
Now Ashburn, part of a talented group of extreme sports athletes called the Moab Monkeys, works with elite extreme athletes across the globe, travelling in search of new thrills.
She’s won trick lining competitions in Europe, and set up shots for PBS, 60 Minutes, Sony and GoPro. In Thailand, she crossed a line 120 feet over a foot of water, naked, with no safety tether, “just to feel free.”
Videos of her escapades have gone viral, from bikini BASE jumping to a clip she and Marshall Miller made jumping from Ancient Art in the Fisher towers. Just viewing brings butterflies.
“I’m never giving it up,” she said before leaping off a desert pinnacle. “I’m going to teach my kids to BASE jump.
Three, two, one, see ya’”