Extreme Geocaching: Rappelling
A couple weeks ago, my dad, BomberJohn, mentioned that he had an interest in attend a geocaching event called Cliffsides and Grapevines, in Swansea, MA. The event was a day of learning how to rappel and belay taught by geocachers, RLahti (Ron) and Downy288 (John). I had always seen these events posted, but had always thought them to be something too extreme or requiring more skill, but I took the day off from work and headed to the event bright and early with BomberJohn.
When we got there somewhat early, there was noone to be found, so we headed to the event cords to a massive rock with very high cliffs, but waited until a bit after the event was scheduled to start and still nothing. We headed back to the parking lot and met up with the crew we were looking for. We then got into our harnesses and hiked back out to the rock, which we found out was named Abram's Rock, after a Native American man that used its caves as his home, until he was forced to leave the land.
After an orientation of the rock, Ron went through basic instruction and the technique of rappeling and belaying. We tried setting up on the ground, and then all of the geocachers tested out theses techniques on a 10' wall. With our confidence in rappeling boasted it was on to the 30' wall on the other side of Abram's Rock. Looking at the edge of the wall had me a little nervous, but once strapped in, it was really only a longer version of the 10' wall. I then learned to leave height out of the equation and began to really enjoy the sport. With a few runs down the 30, Ron and John had a Tyrolean set up, which is basically a horizontal line used for crossing cravasses in the mountains. This one was setup with a decent drop and was more of a backwoods roller coaster. For over an hour, we took turns sliding down and as time drew close to 3:30, when I had to leave for another appointment, we told Ron we would have leave early, but he suggested that they have the 60' wall set up for use before we left so we could get a chance to find Cliffside #6 which was stuck in a crack halfway down. Of course, we agreed, the rope was quickly set up and we sent BomberJohn down first to act as the test dummy to make sure the knots would hold. Before heading down, I remembered I had a Red Jeep TB in my Cache-Pack and decided there was no better deserving place for one to be placed and stuck it in my pocket. With a much more confident rappel down, I reached the cache spot and requested to be belayed in order to open and log the cache with both hands. I quickly signed the log, placed the Jeep TB, replaced the cache, retook control of the rope and rappelled the second half down.
Ron then gave us a gift of a Downy288 geocoin as proof of our acheivement and we gave him our thanks and one of my new pathtags, but time was ticking and we had to go. Truly, this was one amazing event and I will always remember how much fun BomberJohn and I had here. I hope we can someday soon attend one of the Cliffsides and Grapevines CT Style events, which is a higher level of the same thing and put our new skill to more use.