On the tight-rope!

Posted: February 22, 2012 by Ben Weber in Climbing, English, Training
Tags: , , ,

One of our recent discoveries at the climbing wall (where we have been making pretty decent progress in increasing the difficulties and reducing the times in our daily ascents) has been the tight rope, or slackline. A flat chord, about 5cm wide nylon webbing which is (at our gym at least) about 8 metres long and anchored between two points so it is quite firm and tense and can easily take the weight of a couple of people at one time. You sometimes see people walking over canyons over them (this is a pretty good example…).

What slacklining really does help you with is balance and concentration – integral aspects of climbing and also pretty useful attributes to have in general as well. We haven’t got quite as far as being able to walk over canyons yet – far from it; we have just started… and it is really pretty hard!

The first time you get on, without some previous surfing or gymnastic experience, you feel your legs trembling and the cord start swaying from side to side quite quickly. Without the help of someone to the side, you will invariably fall off quite quickly without even having taken a step forward. It takes (well, it did for us at least!) quite a bit of time before we were able to stand on it without the help of others.

The old mantra of “if at first you don’t succeed” comes into play. You fall off… you get straight back on again. There are tricks to helping yourself – looking to a fixed point on the other side; holding hands out and up; using a foot off the cord to help balance yourself – you certainly feel more secure with just one foot on the cord rather than two.

We are now able to get from between a quarter to half way along – where it seems harder to control the sway of the rope as the trembling seems to get amplified in the middle. Still plenty of work to do but good fun at least, and hopefully it will help us in our climbing efforts. Maybe we will be able to do it across a canyon as part of our journey!


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