Moving Vertically

Moving Down A Rock Face
is not your average style of travel. Yet when an outdoor traveler needs to get to point B but point A is on a shear rock cliff you have but two real options. No! jumping is NOT one of them, you can go around if that's possible or you can climb down.
Rappelling or as my European cousins call it Abseiling is the technique of moving down a fixed rope in a kind of walking or at times jumping action. The tools and methods for rappelling are many and varied but for the most part allow you to do the same thing, slide down the rope.

Rappelling is considered one of the most dangerous aspects of mountaineering. The reason is simple, it is one of the few times you as a climber are solely reliant on your equipment for movement and safety. Never the less, it is fun and a damn handy skill set to own even if you seldom use it.
You never know when you will need to escape a burning high rise or a jealous husband.

To this end, a freakishly warm spring afternoon spawned the strangest of ideas, we'd take a walk to the near by cliff and step off.

Three of us gathered for the trip, my good friend Pat would join me and as a weird form of birthday celebration so would Russ. HAPPY BIRTH DAY BROTHER!

Russ had done some scouting and found a semi friendly out cropping over looking the west side of town. Not only did he find the jump off point, he found the anchor and even cleaned the pitch for us.......damn he's handy to have around.

We dropped two ropes and assorted clanking junk into our packs and converged on the cliff.















While I do love the thrill of danger, I'm not stupid. Here you see I'm waring my official Magnum P.I. safety shirt. While waring this I'm safe from falls and volcanoes.
With loose rock still a threat to safety, we wore rock helmets for the first trip down....just in case! The surface of the rock had very sharp edges that could ruin a new rope and turn a controlled enjoyable trip into a screaming life flashing before your eyes kind of thing, luckily Russ had a jacket we could use to saddle the rope into and keep us safe. With couching from the Birthday Boy, Pats turn was smooth safe and enjoyable.














Russ donned his safety Straw Cowboy hat and hit the wall.













The spring breeze whipped up and soon became a full on wind.


videoAs the designated belayer (safety man) I monitored the speed of descents and prepared to arrest any fall, I also lost my seat gear, it slipped off after Pats jump. All I could do was photograph it for posterity.






Silly isn't he?







A view of The River Bridge as seen from the hillside, the border of New York and Pennsylvania.













video
A nice day in the sun with friends, what more could you ask for? A cool drink maybe.
Practise Practise Practise.............rappelling isn't like falling off a log you know. it's a bit higher.