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A steady climb...

Adventure loving young men and women learn to scale the heights

Pic: :S. Siva Saravanan

LEARNING THE ROPES: A student tries out rappelling.

"ARE YOU ready?" shouted the instructor from the ground floor. The student on the third floor of a multi-storeyed building replied enthusiastically and got ready for a smooth slide down. A minor slip caused some anxiety; but the student managed to make a `free and safe fall' much to the delight of those present.

The place: Shree Lakshmi Towers, Mettupalayam Road. The programme: rappelling down a 50-feet high building. "R u game for this?" the organisers asked. And, the response from the gathering was an excited, "Yes".

Aping Jackie Chan

Even those who came to witness the spectacle simply couldn't resist the temptation to try ... .. . The scene at the `free for all' rappelling demo organised by Wildcraft India Limited and the Youth Hostels Association of India (YHAI), Cotton City, reminded one of Jackie Chan movies.

Young men and women with ropes tied on their backs were trying to scale up and down the sides of the tall building. Beginners, curious onlookers and trained participants all tried their hand at climbing. Soon, they realised that it was not easy.

The experience

P. Arul Kumar, a final year engineering student with prior exposure to climbing, was in his maiden attempt at shoulder rappelling, a tough physical activity. His initial steps were slow and unsure just like any other beginner.

But, after he got a firm foothold on the wall, he descended with confidence. "I got interested in mountain and rock climbing after I joined college. They are more than mere adventure sports. It teaches personality development and how to communicate with team members," he said.

For some well-trained climbers, the demo helped stay in touch with the sport. It was also an opportunity to provide amateurs the much-needed confidence. "As I was in the NCC, adventure sport became a natural choice. It gives you a lot of mental strength and confidence," said A. Hazel, who had trained at the Directorate of Mountaineering and Adventure Sports, Manali. Her aim, just like any other mountaineer, is to scale the Everest.

"Classical rappelling is a lot difficult. There is no support from the equipment and so you need to be trained well for the climb. So, we taught the beginners some basic rappelling techniques. Our idea is to make them feel this experience," stated L. Frederick, the instructor.

Stomach and shoulder rappelling, jummering, classical and mechanical rappelling were taught to the participants. "Learning rappelling will render rock climbing, parasailing and trekking easier. This programme was aimed at creating awareness about adventure sports," said Suryanarayanan K of Wildcraft India.

More than 80 persons, including a number of young men and women, took part in the event.

M. ALLIRAJAN

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