Try new High Ropes Course during preview days

November 9, 2011 | UToday
By Nicolette Jett

Kristen Conway, a graduate student who works at the Student Recreation Center in operations, tried out the High Ropes Course while Brian Mossing, who graduated earlier this year, watched.

If you’ve seen the ropes obstacle course above the basketball courts in the Student Recreation Center and wanted to give it a try, here’s your chance.

The rec center will host preview days for the High Ropes Course Friday, Nov. 11, and Friday, Dec. 9, with extra student facilitators on hand from 7 to 9:30 p.m. to help people give it a try.

The High Ropes Course resembles an obstacle course that could be found at a local park or gym, only this one is suspended 40 feet above the ground. It is used for both physical exercise as well as team-building opportunities.

During the two preview nights, there will be eight student facilitators on hand, which will allow up to 30 participants at one time on the course. Each facilitator is trained to help first-timers step by step as well as push participants to test their strengths.

“The nights are a chance for everyone who is curious about the course to have a chance to participate in open play and explore the ropes in a friendly atmosphere,” said Mike Thomas, program coordinator for the Student Recreation Center Challenge Department.

Designed specifically for UT, the High Ropes Course is the only one of its kind in the area.

There are eight different elements to the course: broken beams, complex X, twisty turvey, scary ferry, the maze, fiddle stix, buddy belay and cargo net. The elements vary by the ropes, beams, planks and logs included as hurdles.

Participants enter the course by crossing over the cargo net and can move among the elements via a black cage designed to safely transfer each climber to a different location along the course.

After entering the course, the direction in which a participant wants to continue is entirely his or her choice. At each element, participants must process the easiest way to make it across, a skill that requires personal endurance and dedication, Thomas said.

“The High Ropes Course officially opened at the end of the summer for the UT community, and we couldn’t be happier with the outcome thus far,” he said. “We encourage individuals and groups to experience the brand-new course and test their endurance.”

Before the school year began, all resident advisers at the University came together as a group and participated in the course as a team-building exercise to use their communication skills and create a stronger bond.

Participants are encouraged to come dressed in athletic gear; the Student Recreation Center will provide a harness and helmet. No prior training is needed.

The High Ropes Course is in addition to the Challenge Department’s Climbing Wall, Team Building Activities and the Wilderness Expedition Club.

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