Michaela Merz

Thoughtlessness in in the rope park

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We had autumn holidays. It is still warm and sunny. We enjoy it with my little one (big one, by now 9 years old) outside with the bike, the canoe, on the stand-up paddleboard. My youngest one is a passionate climber, who cannot resist any tree. It is thus not surprising that he wanted us to visit a rope park.

The rope park in Gordola is within beautiful old trees. After careful instructions, equipped with helmet and gloves we went on our way. It starts harmless, only a few centimetres from the ground but with the time, it gets more demanding and higher. Nothing much can happen if one follows the basic rule that always one of the two security carabiner has to be hooked to the steel rope. In airy heights we cross shaky bridges, balance on beams and slacklines, overcome various mean obstacles or drive in 5 metres height with the board on a rope. My little one is always ahead, fast and brisk like a little monkey without fear. I one the other hand have to take all my courage before the first step in certain sections. No, it is not really fear because not much can happen; it is a mixture of not wanting to embarrass myself and healthy respect for the challenge.

We have passed the light blue, the dark blue and also the green section. Now we are high up in the top of the trees and cross the red section. For sections where one drives, we have a roll, which we fix to the rope and then hook into the two carabiner and go.

With one eye I always watch my little one and at the same time I try to follow him as fast as possible. In that moment, the most stupid mistake happens to me. Instead of inserting the roll into the rope, I hook the two carabiner directly and try to go downwards. I realise instantly that it does not work. The carabiner does not glide like the rolls but brake. Rather helpless I hang in about 10 metres height and cannot move forward or backward and am annoyed about my own stupidity!! This happens if one does not concentrate enough. What now, I think. Since my little one already realised that I am in trouble, he anxiously calls me. This puts additional stress on me. He cannot help me, I have to help myself. This is more difficult done than said. I am hanging immovable on a rope and either have to go back to the starting point, which is only a short distance away, or to the arrival point, which seems very far away. I try to get to the starting point but this means ascending and thus hardly doable with my strength. Well, then to the arrival point. I push myself like a snail with the strength of my upper arms in the direction of my little one. By now, my upper arms hurt. It is like an inner fire, which is spreading in them. I can hardly go any further and the arrival seems unreachable far away. On the other hand I am in no mood for some super embarrassing rescue activity to get me out of my predicament. I continue fighting and don’t know where I take my strength from. I have to stop again and again in order to collect strength. I have arrived at the entry point for the next station but my strength does not suffice in order to pull myself up. I am sitting in my harness, breath slowly and mentally try to pump strength into my arms. But to outwit physical laws is difficult. It takes forever and feels like an hour until I finally stand on the platform, completely exhausted and with burning muscles. I am done but incredibly strengthened. I know I am stupid. Not being fully concentrated at this activity can fast end deadly. On the other side, at least I managed to make up my own mistake. In retrospect, everything is fine.

In the evening, I fell asleep as soon my head touched the pillow. The next day I had slightly sore muscles. I experienced them as wonderful memorandum of a lesson learned. In the future only fully concentrated while climbing!!

Bildquelle: Albrecht E. Arnold  / pixelio.de

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