This post is from the blog of a rappeller known as Motorista!
I have rappelled 478 feet down a 38-story building and lived to tell the tale.
Ha – not quite. In fact, there is a tale. It involves skyscrapers, ropes, kids with wishes, family, friend, babies, dogs, duct tape and more.
First, the scheduling gods smiled upon me such that almost my entire family (all of whom live out of town) was able to watch me go Over the Edge. We piled into three cars and headed to downtown Austin – a 20-ish mile trip that took over an hour, making me half an hour later than intended and producing the most stress of the entire experience. If you can survive Austin traffic, a 478-foot rappel is a piece of cake.
The rappel took place at the W Hotel. It is rather tall.
This really didn’t even bother me until after the fact. Looking at the photos now, I’m thinking: holy crap! Who but a half-crazed adrenaline junkie would do THAT??
Make-A-Wish and Over the Edge had a very organized operation – we filled out the obligatory forms, suited up in our harnesses, got double- and triple-checked for safety and rode the elevator a long, loooooong way up to the top floor. Then we climbed a few flights of stairs to the roof.
We did a “practice” run, which pretty much involved stepping off a stool and dangling in our harnesses like Mary Martin in Peter Pan. Then, THEN, we headed over to the contraption of death to be hurled downward as our families watched in horror. Because it’s one thing to go splat. It’s quite another thing to go splat in front of observers. I was less worried about the former, much more about the latter.
I admit, while I was never nervous about the actual rappelling part, even while the contraption of death loomed over me, that part about, uh, going over the edge – that part was a lil intense. Because they want you to stand up, on the ledge, your back to the doom of below, your heels ON THE EDGE and lean back into that harness thing that suddenly doesn’t feel nearly tight enough, and how can it be trustworthy with only two different hooks connecting you to two different ropes that extend from the contraption of death???
Yeah, that part required some concentration.
The rest was quite fun, if very tiring. Rappelling is WORK! You have to hold stuff with your left hand, pull on rope with your right hand, go Spidey with your feet, check out the view, wave to people and otherwise concentrate.
Check out my fan club, watching down below. Seventeen humans + 1 dog!!! And world’s cutest baby.
Five hours later (actually, I think it was about 16 minutes), I hit the ground. And by “hit,” I mean that I gracefully and delicately alighted on the earth 478 feet from where I began. Or something like that.
Our sweet Make-A-Wish kids! We raised $450,000 for our local Make-A-Wish, which will grant wishes for NINETY kiddos. That’s the best part by far.
My parents were glad to see me at the bottom. I thought they were a pretty welcome sight, too!
Please do notice that I am wearing my favorite Keep Calm and Race On shirt, with “race” replaced by “rappel” thanks to duct tape. An impromptu costume!
So fun to share this experience with all my favorite people. Now I think I’ll keep all four wheels on the ground for awhile. ;)