Rock Wall, Challenge and High Ropes Courses

I stepped gingerly into two circles of black nylon webbing, cinched them around my quads and double-backed their tails through the buckles so that they appeared (c)losed rather than (o)pen.

O is for open. And just in case, "DANGER" is marked down the side that needs to be double-backed.

I repeated the double-back on my waist belt buckle and looked down at the neatly flaked rope near my feet.  In a previous life I learned how to climb at a rock gym with the occasional trip outdoors to real rock.  I thought I might pick it back up again in my current life but as was the case with so many things I never made time for it.

C is for closed.

Ten years fell away as I grabbed the dynamic climbing rope and threaded it through my tie-in loops, tying figure eight follow through and stopper knots.  While I practiced the knots, our instructors showed us the gri-gri as a belay device as well as some ATC’s.  Little flashes were coming back to me.

This was not my day to climb though.  We were practicing setting people up to climb and belay in anticipation of supervising rock walls in the future. Knowing how to tie in safely would come in handy.

I will let you in on one fact about me: I have an irrational fear of heights.  I can’t trace it back to anything specific.  However, my legs have shook for hours after standing on the glass floor of the CN Tower.  I’ve been woozy any number of times standing on the balcony of a condo unit 20 stories up. But I was not going to let any of that get in my way of participating in the high ropes course.

20121021 - from Ria

We worked through pre-inspection, supervision, and participation of three elements of the high ropes course at the YMCA/YWCA in Dunrobin.  After watching my classmates climb with ease, I scrambled up the 30 foot pole staple by staple, not once looking down, and absolutely only looking at the other climber once I reached the platform at the top.  Funny enough, sitting back into my harness and letting my belay team lower me did not bother me.

20121021 - from Pilar

The dangl-a-maze proved a little more challenging in that once I hit a certain height the maze pieces started to hang further and further apart.  I found myself too short (and too close to lunch time) to make it very far.  The obstacle course at 50 feet in the air put me over the edge.  Eyes bugging out and veins popping out of my neck, I had no choice but to look down in trying to cross tires from one platform to the next.  Although I was clipped in by two lobster claws and my harness, I had pictures in my head of me plummeting to the ground below.  I wobbled across two more tension wires before returning to terra firma.  I had expanded my comfort zone enough for one day.

Up for discussion: When have you expanded your comfort zone the most? How did you feel?

Published by Kate Monahan

Travel happy. Outdoors professional. Writer. Photographer. Educator.

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