Thursday, July 13, 2006

Speaking of painful injuries and possible death,

let me tell you about the first time I went rapelling.

Friend(who I still have) mentioned that he was going with a guy to a place on Fort Sill to practice rapelling. This sounded like a capital idea, as I'd never tried it, so I grabbed my motorcycle helmet and off we went.

Understand that I had absolutely no idea what we were about to do except 'dangle on a rope over a long drop', so my enthusiasm speaks of either possible terminal dumbass or courage through ignorance. I either case we met the guy at the spot where the Army trained people in this activity. Numerous towers facing a place called Medicine Bluff, and I(remember the dumbass part?) thought we'd try the towers a time or two first. Oh, no. The guy led us across the stream and over a trail to the top of the bluff. Very nice setup, big concrete block with back-angled pipes to tie off to with a pipe set into the front edge to protect the ropes, and a slab with another pipe in the face of the bluff. So the guy showed us how to tie a Swiss seat and hook the rope through the carabiner, then gave some advice on how to get over the edge.

Ok, no problem. I'd brought gloves, so after watching him I hooked up and edged over the face(a lot trickier than I'd expected) and started down. About 115 feet down on a 125-foot rope.

Went great. Numerous small slides & bounces and landed on the platform at the bottom without incident. Did this two or three times and loved it. No problem.

Until I got home. Walked in, Dad asked what we'd been doing and I happily said "Rapelling at Medicine Bluff". A moment of shocked look, and then he verbally had a cow. Angrily. Mostly at my going off to do this with Friend, who'd done it the grand total of once before, somewhat less as he advised me that the Army didn't use the face for training anymore because the engineers had advised them the bluff face was unstable. As in chunks large and small could break off. Say, from the shock of people kicking off the face as they went down. Maybe breaking off above said person sliding down the rope.

I was in the proverbial doghouse for a week after that, as I recall. Parents were truly pissed, somewhat tempered by the fact that I was uninjured. But they were pissed at Friend, too.

It was fun, though.

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