We first met Sylvan and Michelle about a year ago in Moab. They were setting up a cool high line on an arch near town and invited us to join them for the day to take photos and enjoy the beautiful scenery. While their relationship was just a few months old, it was already obvious they had found “their person.” They worked so well together, encouraged each other, and loved being together. We formed a fast friendship, napping on the sandstone as they took turns facing fears and walking the line, we talked about everything from nomad life to marriage to the possibility of raising kids one day. We stayed connected through social media, messaging back and forth to keep up, so when Sylvan contacted us to tell us he’d be proposing at Moab’s infamous GGBY highline festival that fall, we promised we’d be there to capture it!
Like most guys proposing to the lady of their dreams, Sylvan had a plan, but unlike most, his plan involved jumping off a 400 foot cliff the moment he secured the ring on her finger! Every year at the festival, they rig a giant rope swing in the horseshoe-shape cut out of a giant canyon. This swing requires that you wear a climbing harness and tie into a long climbing rope and when you jump off, you experience about 200 feet of free fall before the rope catches you to swing out. Once it’s over, your rope is hoisted to a cliff edge so you can use a device to ascend another rope. It’s pretty involved.
The day of the proposal, there was a line for the swing and some people had been waiting hours for their spot, but Sylvan had planned on theirs being the last jump of the day, just before sunset, so when that time came and Sylvan when to get Michelle, we actually had to beg someone to give up their spot for the proposal! Thankfully, they understood and I began hauling the line up of them so it was ready when they got there. They helped each other tie in, as they had so many other times on countless high lines, canyon decent, and rock climbs. The anticipation in the canyon grew and just before jumping, a group of friends held up a massive, sparkly banner that read “Will you marry me?” and Sylvan got down on one knee, right at the edge of the cliff.
Michelle of course said “yes!” and while the crowd erupted in cheers, Sylvan picked her up and jumped off the cliff! It ended up being so sweet because despite getting engaged in front of a huge crowd, they got some alone time pretty much immediately as they hung together 200 feet down the canyon.
By the time they go back up, they were all smiles and full of hugs. We snapped some happy photos and they even did a few of their favorite acro-yoga poses!
We’ve photographed a few proposals, but this was the most exciting and extreme one we’ve witnessed! It was perfectly fitting for such an adventurous couple.