I do have one more course to share from the past semester; Luther College’s climate requires that this course be only available for the second seven weeks (the last quarter in our academic year). There are two outdoor/adventure education classes offered on the high ropes course: one that fulfills one physical education requirement, and one that offers certification for ropes course facilitation. This semester I took the latter class (and haven’t yet received word on my certification!).
While on a horizontal beam, roughly 50 feet in the air, I took this picture of the angled beam element on the course. Two of the three people on the ground are the belay team for the person on the log.
These last two pictures come from when I conquered the cargo net element on our course.
So, as budding facilitators, my classmates and I learned the backstory of setting up a course, caring for a course, and first and foremost caring for the people who will be on the course. Safety first and redundancy second! The belay system is a classic example of these two rules: “belay” is Anglicized French for “I’ve got you” or something similar. As the rope moves through the belay device (hooked to the belayer’s harness), the rope bends to create friction. The belayer gets to save climbers when the latter fall (as all do). Backup belayers (a redundancy) are to enhance the belayer safety (and engage more people in activities).
Weather really impacted this year’s ropes courses: slated to start the week before Spring Break, the cold then flooded microclimate around the course forced us inside for a couple weeks. Then, one day we worked on the course in “heavy mist”, stopping class early when that mist turned to a constant downpour. (Since I had Env Phil immediately after ropes, I went to class, literally leaving a puddle in my wake.) By the end of the semester, however, beautiful days allowed us to finish our education in style!