If It Scares You, Do It: Rappelling Is Within Reach

first_imgWhy limit your outdoor experiences to the familiar hiking trails and hanging in a hammock? The stunts you see outdoor pros pull off on TV are within your reach once you make the decision to attack a new experience.For those who want some on the edge fun, nothing quite compares to the experience of making your way down a tall cliff or rock face while depending on the rope, carabiners, and your own inner strength. Rappelling is a rite of passage within the climbing community and is a great way to return to the base of a mountain after a climb or hiking experience that involves a descent elevation gain and can be enjoyed by people of all skill sets.Petit Dru, the peak where rappelling was first attempted.Photo by camptocamp.orgThe creation of the adrenaline filled experience is credited to Jean Estéril Charlet, a French climber based in Chamonix. Rappelling or abseiling (as it is know in the rest of the world), was first practiced while Charles made his descent from the Petit Dru, a sharp peak in the French Alps in 1876. By the turn of the century, rappelling gained in popularity throughout the climbing world. Climbers from all over the world tried taking the idea and developing it even further. Successfully doing so, Otto Herzog, a German climber and inventor first introduced the use of carabiners to the sport in 1911.Since that time, rappelling has transformed the outdoor recreation world with many different variations of knots, harnesses, and techniques tailored for different types of terrain. Three main types of rappelling practiced today are the standard rappel where a person’s back faces the ground with face up while descending a ledge. A free rappel is a technique often practiced by covers where a person’s body is suspended in open space while they slide down the rope to solid ground. Lastly and certainly not least is the Australian rappel that puts a climber to the ultimate test of facing downward while making their descent.Rapelling is now used as a military training technique, a means to rescue people, and amongst many other purposes it is also a recreational pursuit for thrill seekers and those wanting to branch out a bit, putting their fears and limits to the test.Defying your brain’s normalized laws of gravity, rappelling successfully and with much control can involve putting your body at a 90 degree angle and walking down a massive steep rock backwards. Scary as it may seem, many who have tried it can only seen to boast on how exhilarating the adventure is from start to finish. Like many outdoor pursuits, rappelling can happen just about anywhere from the side of a building to a mountaintop. A specific location that is popular in many guided rappelling and climbing adventures is waterfalls both as their waters are rushing in the warmer months and while frozen in the winter.For an immersive adventure on the edge without the costs of buying your own gear, you can give it a try on a guided trip on your next vacation or right near your home within the Blue Ridge Mountains. Many guided trips will assist you in your journey by providing gear, transportation, instruction, guides and sometimes even meals for a pretty fair price. An excursion of climbing and rappelling beginning at 9:30 a.m. and ending at 4 p.m. for an individual who is a beginner and over the age of 10 near Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina goes for $129. When factoring in the thrills with the views you would have combined with the comfort of knowing you are with practiced professionals that will keep you entirely safe, that’s not too bad!The saying goes, “If it scares you, do it.” So maybe this summer is the summer of chasing after a new adventure like rappelling. If there’s one guarantee in going after an experience like it, it’s that you won’t go home unchanged. For some tips and techniques to get started off in the world of rappelling, check out this article from Climbing Magazine and view the video below produced by REI.last_img read more

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Coach of the Decade

first_imgHead coach Bo Ryan has led the men\’s basketball team to the Big Dance every year since he started.[/media-credit]When Dick Bennett retired in 2001, UW needed to find a coach who could build on the success of the Final Four run the Badgers enjoyed to start the decade. Wisconsin needed to find a coach who could keep UW in the field of 65 and at the top of the Big Ten.The eventual choice was Bo Ryan, and he has done all that and more.Ryan came to UW with a swing offense and a passion for team defense, two attributes that allowed him to win four national championships at the Division-III level. But everyone in Madison still wondered if his style would work in the Big Ten.In his first season, Ryan and his players put all the wondering to rest as UW shared the Big Ten title and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. In the next seven years under Ryan, the Badgers won two more Big Ten titles and have never been absent from the NCAA Tournament.Ryan has been the model of consistency here at UW.The Badgers have never finished worse than fourth in the Big Ten standings with him at the helm, a remarkable feat for a basketball program that was never seen as a perennial powerhouse. His remarkable .707 conference winning percentage is a mark that ranks first all-time among Big Ten coaches ahead of Bobby Knight, who ranks second.Each year, regardless of the names on his depth chart, Ryan has found ways to win.We have seen great players come through this program, but we have come to learn it’s never about the individuals with Ryan running the show. It’s his core principles that carry over and breed success each year.In 2007, after stars Alando Tucker and Kammron Taylor graduated, not much was expected from UW. They went on to win a conference championship.In 2008, after Brian Butch and Michael Flowers left, UW was once again counted out. Under the direction of Ryan, the Badgers proved the doubters wrong once again, advancing to the second round of the tournament.With Ryan as head coach, players progress and improve, and that has made his teams competitive year after year. He preaches discipline and toughness, and those characteristics alone have always given his team a chance to win.But more importantly, he’s found talent that fits his system, and it’s a system that has made UW one of the most consistent college basketball programs in the country.Honorable mentions: Mark Johnson, Barry Alvarez, Mike Eaves, Pete WaiteSelecting one coach from the many excellent choices at the University of Wisconsin was tough, and in the end, it came down to Ryan and Johnson. From there, the sheer amount of competition in men’s basketball compared to women’s hockey gives Ryan the edge.last_img read more

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