This past weekend I certainly got my adrenaline fix. You can just call me Spider-Man as I rappelled down 17 stories! Yeah, that’s right. On Saturday, I was standing on the roof at the Hyatt Regency St. Louis at the Arch, harnessed up, slowly backed my heels off the edge, and began my descent down. What an experience! And the best part was that all the money raised will fund programs that allow more than 16,500 Special Olympic athletes to train, compete and enjoy a lifetime of their own thrills.
This was the seventh year that the Over the Edge event took place in St. Louis. It was my first year participating, and I’d like to stay involved with other fundraising efforts for the Special Olympics, as well. The whole weekend (wine tasting on Friday evening!) was very organized, and the passion of the people helping with / working for the Special Olympics was evident. It’s always neat to see community members come together for a good cause, and this was no different.
To be honest, the whole rappelling from the top of the building wasn’t quite as scary as I had anticipated! I felt so secure and strapped in as the police officers did an excellent job explaining every last detail of the harness and how rappelling works.
We were checked, double checked, and rechecked before stepping over the edge. After we received our initial harness, we went on to the roof where we practiced getting strapped in and learning how everything worked. This was the first time where we picked our feet up and let the harnesses do their thing. There were two different emergency catches, and the way they worked was quite simple. You merely pulled a lever to release the tension of the rope. If you pulled too quickly, one of the emergency locks would catch, stopping you immediately. You would reset the device, and be on your way.
Two people went over the edge at a time. They announced us down below so everyone knew who was coming when, as it was about an hour after the time from when we registered. Looking down was probably the scariest part.
I’m on the right. When you rappell, you have to sit back a little bit, which feels pretty uncomfortable when you’re 17 stories high in the air. I kept my core so tight throughout the entire rappell because I was scared of falling backwards (which would have been impossible). They reminded us to go slowly so we were able to stop and really take in the views. Seeing downtown St. Louis from way up there was quite a sight!
I really did feel like Spider-Man on my way down. It made me a little nervous when my feet would come off the edge because I was worried I would spin around or something. You were supposed to walk your feet down which was fine, but a couple of times my feet did leave the building. Luckily, they quickly reattached and my heart slowed down.
The average rappell takes between five and 15 minutes. I was definitely closer to the five minute time mark. It wasn’t scary, but I also didn’t feel a need or desire to hang out up there; I wanted to keep going. It was a very cool experience and I would recommend rappelling if you ever have the opportunity. If you’re in or around St. Louis, be sure to like Over the Edge SOMO on Facebook, so you can get involved next year!
Have you ever gone rappelling? Is it something you would be interested in?