As soon as I wrote the title for this, I sat back and laughed, wondering, “surely this has happened to someone else”; so I did what everyone does…I Googled it! Sure enough, several articles, pictures, and videos came up, all about the same incident. Filmmaker and You-Tuber, Devin Graham, and his team built an epic 400-foot swing in a canyon. Several brave souls with GoPros strapped to their helmet, chest, and other various places had successfully made the jump and the climb back up the rope with ascenders; however, a frightful girlfriend stood there, already harnessed in, with her boyfriend beside her, contemplating whether she really wanted to make the leap or not, when her boyfriend gave her a “loving shove” immediately after she threatened to dump him, if he pushed her. I’m not sure of the result of their relationship, but I do know she made it, successfully, swinging from the top of the canyon, to the bottom, and back up the ascending rope.
While the swing was definitely awesome to watch, what really had me amazed was my thought, “I really, REALLY want to do that!” It was quite the revelation for me, considering that I initially started writing this to share just how overwhelming my fears were the first time I went rappelling, which was less than a year ago. My, how far I have come! And I owe some of it; ok…MOST of it, to my significant other, just like this ultimate-swing-dominating-diva does.
We were in Corte Madera, just East of where we live in San Diego, and I knew that day, after one unsuccessful attempt at rappelling, I HAD to conquer this fear…especially if I really did want to pick up the hobby of outdoor rock-climbing. Picture this: I’m on top of a rocky cliff looking down over a steep slope with a small ledge mostly consumed with a huge bush, beckoning for me to jump. Nerves are on edge, heart is pumping, pressure is coming at me from all angles and the last thing I want to do is leap off that cliff, dangling from a rope anchored in with several knots and mechanisms I did not understand. While the bush seemed to be a promising padded landing if I fail to “fall” correctly, I was still sweating from every gland in my body, despite the chilly 45 degrees it was on the mountaintop. My boyfriend knows how I operate though, so he explained to me how the anchor system was going to work (I have this “need-to-know” mentality when it comes to assurance) and strapped a GoPro to my helmet (I, generally, perform well under-pressure, in front of an audience). So I did it. It was slow, but I did it. And I landed exactly where my feet wanted me to land, and belayed several people from that very spot, before climbing back up.
That day, it was enough of an adrenaline rush to rap down once, climb up once, and be done. But ever since then, there have been so many other trips and opportunities where I just can’t seem to get enough of it. It’s scary and it’s uncertain, but that’s what makes it so exciting.
Fast forward a couple months, and three weekend climbing trips later, we went canyoneering in Zion National Park for Thanksgiving. We were in Pine Creek Canyon, and while I was rappelling down, I caught myself thinking “this is my favorite part of being on the rock!” Crazy, right?! The one thing that I thought, “I’ll never be able to do this!”, ends up being one of my favorite ways to spend time outside and with friends. There are so many activities to love while being outside, but a lot of them are considered “extreme sports”, climbing, snowboarding, mountain biking, and the list can continue for a while.
You may find yourself in a similar mentality like I was in… I wanted to be on top of that mountain, but the idea of coming down (especially that way) was terrifying! I just WISHED I could do it like other people were able to. What new favorite activities are YOU missing out on because you’re sitting back and wishing you could do it, while your friends ARE doing it?!
Watch the short video clip here!
Blog written by: Bethany Wilday