So I’ve always sort of lived my life with the idea that I’m semi-afraid of heights. I mean, I suppose it isn’t an extreme fear or anything; I don’t just collapse and die if I find myself in a high place, but I certainly don’t enjoy being up there. Naturally, with this semi-fear in mind, I wasn’t sure what I thought about Echo’s offer of “High Ropes Training” in May. “High Ropes Training” qualifies staff to set up the rock wall and high ropes, ensuring that they are safe and ready for climbers. It involves learning to properly tie and dress knots, put on hardware, check harnesses, and (most importantly and terrifyingly), climb a forty pole to set up the ropes. As ominous as that last point was to me, this training was quite appealing. Not only would it increase my knowledge, but also my value as a staff member. The dilemma was clear. Nevertheless, despite having never even completed any of the high ropes elements themselves, I accepted the challenge.
On the first day of training I managed to climb up the Adventure Tower. Now this should have been a simple task for someone about to make the trip up a forty pole off belay, but no thanks to my semi-fear, I could do nothing but ball my eyes out as soon as my feet left the ground. This was not a good sing, especially since the following day we were meant to climb the poles and set up. Despite the embarrassment of the first day, I still showed up the day after, and yes, I did make it up the pole. In fact, it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be; I may even have enjoyed it.
I completed the few days of training and am now one of the few staff who are high ropes trained on site, and I know I could never have done it anywhere but here. This is what camp does to me. It makes me believe in myself in a new way. Being here, I feel like a person who can push herself to the limits and beyond. I feel like nothing can stop me, and that’s the best feeling in the world.