Jan Galek is a slack Master: Longline, highline, solo, trad climbing, bouldering, expeditions, new terrain: he does it all. Jan is not the new kid on the scene but he is the guy who inspired slackliners for the past decade. He is one of the most accomplished slackliners and you can see him on great films where he is exploring vertical and horizontal limits on different locations around the world. Go talk to him if you meet him : he is an amazing person and he will motivates you to go out your comfort zone.
Tell us who you are?
My name is Jan Gałek. I am 26 years old (born in 1988). I consider myself slackliner and a climber 😉
Where are you from?
I am from Poland, Wrocław (2nd name – Breslau).
What do you love most about your hometown?
Damn, that’s a hard question as I spent here big chunk of my life, but I guess what I like the most is great location (not too far to Germany, Czech Republic and other great climbing/highline location in Poland) as well as great slackline and climbing community.
Since how long do you slack?
I am slacklining since summer of 2005 so it’s almost 10 years right now. Goddamn, I will have my first big jubilee soon. I guess I am becoming old and a slackline dinosaur …
How did you enter into Balance Community?
I’ve been working with quite few slackline companies as my slackline interests evolved and I finally stuck with BC for a few reasons. First of all I really like Jerry, his a friend, great slacker – I think inspiration to the whole community and I just wanted to cooperate with slackline company in which I fully believe. What I mean by that is that I truly believe it’s the best gear, really good company philosophy and I can truly recommend it to friends not because I get paid, only because … it’s true!
The longest line you ever walked: highline and longline?
The longest longline so far was 232m OS-FM on polyester webbing “Octopussy” from a friend in PL and highline “Master of Universe” 96.5m in my favorite place Ostrov in CZ.
What did you do last Sunday?
I did some bouldering with my best friend in Ostbloc, Berlin.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I would like to be more organized human being.
A phrase you say often is:
No pain no gain!
A common misconception about your self is:
Well, I don’t know if you’re talking about others misconception about me, or my misconception about myself so I will answer to both. I think people generally think at first I am hardcore and hard to approach but if you get to know me/talk to me it is totally not the reality and I am just silly and goofy slacker. I guess my biggest misconception is usually I think small of myself – not trying to say I am super cool in reality, just I am lacking some self confidence so when I surprise myself and send hard something I totally didn’t expect it is really good feeling.
Your biggest fear is:
Not being able to move at all.
Your biggest worry is:
As for now, sadly just normal life; trying to get healthy after my accident and earn enough ‘dolla, dolla bills yo!’ so I can live and go on the next slackline and climbing adventure.
Your biggest weakness is:
I think it is impossible to explain urge to train everyday – have to force myself to rest.
A Guilty pleasure of yours is:
Definitely ice cream, any kind – I will eat it!
An excuse you use often is :
Not enough time? I don’t know you can use whatever you want – excuse is always trying to cheat your self 😉
Something you could use more of in life is:
Lazy day activities …
Something in your refrigerator?
Actually way too much … I love food.
What country would you most like to visit?
I would like to drive across whole Southern America and finish in Patagonia for some time …
What webbing do you usually use?
Aero or Mantra MKIII
Your favorite possession is:
My range finder …
Your first thoughts upon waking up are?
Let’s have a productive day!
What passion did you have before slacklining?
Well, I had quite a few. I finished music school on a classic guitar and since I was a kid I played quite a few instruments. From more active passions – cross-country running and MTB biking.
The last line you walked was:
Longline on Aero webbing in a park …
The song you usually listen when you slack?
Jesus, that’s a super hard question. I am a music freak so I listen to a lot of different stuff. For slacklining I usually prefer something electronic, which takes my mind off unnecessary thoughts. Some dark, melodic dubstep or ambient electronics do the trick
The last meal you ate was:
I had some scrambled eggs with some veggies and avocado.
The last text message you sent was:
‘Gonna a bit late for training buddy’
The best advice you’ve ever received was:
Focus on one thing at once.
The best word to describe your life is?
What quality do you admire most in other people?
Being persistent in being a generally good and conscious human being
One mistake you’ve done rigging a line?
There was way too many, starting from all time classic – ‘oh shit, I forgot to put the rings on!’, but I guess ripping what I thought to be a solid tree out of the ground and dragging it with the 160m line few meters on the ground in front of people chilling in a park during sunny Sunday. The funniest thing was no one said anything to me. I felt so dumb …
Highline should be completely free or there should be rules?
I think it should stay free in terms of where a person wants to take it and which direction evolve with it. On the other hand I think it would be good to put some rules for rigging and safety because that can and eventually will safe some lives, as the sport grows bigger. I think it wouldn’t be stupid also to discuss some rules and standards for world record sends, but that’s it.
You think solo is:
That’s an interesting topic. Personally I am really interested in free soloing and people associate me mainly with that activity, which I am not sad about but I am all-round slackliner and have accomplishments on different grounds too. But that’s how it goes and I am fine with it. I like to share it with people because the videos of Dean Potter free soloing classic L.A.S. highline and then Andy Lewis repeating this line really inspired me and showed me anything is possible; especially since I have witnessed Andy’s first ascent of this line back in 2007 and it was most shaky yet impressive walk I’ve seen 😉 I want to inspire people to so that’s why I think sharing pics or videos is ok as long as you show the amount of preparation and don’t say openly go free solo to anyone. If someone chooses to because of me, I am fine with it – it’s always serious and conscious decision. I don’t believe beginner or especially someone new to slacklininig would go free solo because of the video – I mean if you think of the feeling sitting on your first highline and not wanting to stand up in a harness and then add up to the equation no safety – no f’in way 😉
Where did you travel during 2014 and what you are your best slackline memories?
Well, 2014 was pretty grim for me. I had a climbing accident just at the end of 2013 in which I had an open, multifracture, rotational break of my lower right leg (both tibia and fibula where broken). It was a quite a recovery process and it wasn’t pretty but I feel I learned a lot and what doesn’t kill you make you stronger. I think walking my first highline after almost one year since the accident was the most beautiful moment I had for a while. It was beautiful and I almost cried 😉
What goals would you like to achieve this year?
There is way too many and I have to choose wisely as I had to hold my needs because of my accident. Main goal is obviously to get healthy, I will have last surgery in one month, which will be removing all the metal stuff from my leg and then I can start thinking about all the goals I set for myself. All I can say is I will definitely do some epic stuff with Somewhereelseland Team and go big on Yosemite Walls this time not only highlining but climbing. I would love to get back to skydiving too as soon as my leg is back to its full strength.
Last word ?
The trailer of High over Todra : a great highline film starring Jan !