The top of Crowder’s Mountain, NC.
If you love the outdoors, rock climbing and rappelling are two essential skills that will take you to some wild and beautiful places. Seeing as many of the world’s natural wonders and ensuring they are preserved are goals for many people.
This spring I decide to take a day long class in rock climbing and rappelling from Carolina Outdoor Adventure Guides in an effort to grow my outdoor skill set. There was lots to learn about rock climbing and rappelling but there were even more amazing things to learn about myself.
Preparing for my first rappelling experience.
Being afraid of heights is common for many people. You may be like me and always stay well away from the edge of high scary places. Being able to rappel down a one hundred foot granite cliff or climb up a fifty foot granite wall was a frightening prospect.
The drive to test boundaries and push past fear was strong enough to get me to sign up for the day long course and take off for the mountain early Saturday morning.
The first adventure was rock climbing on a fifty foot granite wall. Looking at it, I just didn’t see how I was going to be brave enough and strong enough get up that cliff face. But I had a few things going for me.
My first climb.
First, there was a great team. I stood and watched an excellent instructor coach other first time climbers to the top of that granite wall. When it was my turn, I put on the harness, took the first step, and listened as my instructor patiently helped me reach the top.
Same process during rappelling, which is pretty darn scary! Our instructor gave clear and detailed instruction as to what we where about to do. When I stepped to the edge of that cliff, I was confident I could get myself down to the ground safely.
Secondly, was my gear. My clothes were comfortable and close fitting. Athletic tights and a close fitting running pullover worked out fine and protected my arms and legs from being scraped up. They also prepared me for the slightly cold and wet temperatures of the day. The harnesses, ropes, carabiners and anchors are all there to make sure you arrive at your destination safe and sound. I understood their purpose and had faith once hooked in I was in a place of safety.
Carolina Adventure Guide preparing the site.
My first trip down.
Thirdly, I believed in myself and did not let my fear of heights dominate me. I didn’t stand there and look down the cliff face and think about scary things happening. I trusted myself, my gear, my instructor and I knew I had control of the situation. I took the rope in my hands, leaned back in the harness, tested the brake, looked at the rope between my feet and stepped off the edge of that cliff. It was a thrilling ride down.
My second trip down the mountain.
There are many things in life that can make us feel vulnerable and afraid. If we let them dominate us, they can keep us from experiencing the life we were meant to live and having the accomplishments we desire and are very capable of.
Don’t let your fears dictate you. Build a good team around yourself. Make sure the people you let into your life are folks you can trust and have your best interest at heart. They should be people that inspire you and teach you everyday.
Know you have some great gear to work with. Use your innate common sense and intelligence to keep you safe and making good decisions. Strive to see things clearly and believe you can use these assets to create the life you want to live. You are your own best asset.
I still can’t believe I made it up that cliff.
Lastly, trust yourself. Learn to listen to that voice deep inside of you. Don’t let worry and fear creep into your head and keep you stuck on the edge. Quiet yourself and listen to what your gut is telling you. If you do, you will find the path that is right for you and you will find the wonderful life you were meant to have.
Love, happiness and adventures,