A cold shower was not what I needed last night. The day went into the dark and Front Sight was acting like a boomerang, slinging us back again for a 7:45 a.m. knot-tying sesh today.
Long and slow is about how I’d describe my first day. Jenn is digging her handgun course; the experience of having the instructor squeezing the trigger while she aimed, reteaching what she had learned as a kid, was one of her favorite moments. She arrived at the car last night beaming. “I gotta say, I’m a sick shot,” she grinned. My moment came after class.
My ropes course is more of a rappel course and I know how to rappel. Hence, my drowsiness by midday. We (re)learned figure 8s and waterknots inside the white tent, then headed over to the cinderblock wall surrounding the instruction area.
We checked lines, roped in and lowered ourselves. After lunch we learned to lockoff midway down. Ok, that was cool. But we only did it once among our group of five. Let’s just say there’s a lot of down time.
There are five students to one instructor. I’m thinking there should be three to one if they really want to work us over. But for those afraid of heights, newbies and the younger kids (the course is open to those over 12) the pace is ideal.
Frontsight used to run the class but it has since been contracted out to a Vegas company called Vertical Freedom Inc. (VFI) which has a background in search and rescue, law enforcement special ops, emergency operations, public safety, canyoneering, wilderness survival and rockclimbing. It’s run by one of Front Sight’s senior range masters, Shannon Long. It does make sense to combine ropes skills with gun training. Aside from the obvious teambuilding emphasis, think about what you would do if you were military or SWAT. Scale a wall, rifle slung over your back, take position and shoot. Ooh, we can pretend we’re SWAT!
The course ended at 5 when the real fun began. For an extra $25 the VFI crew took us through parts of the obstacle course we had worked under. Finally.
I had been eyeing all the fun yet they told us these structures were for team building, not the ropes course. I drooled like my pooch when you dangle red meat in front of him. Which ride do we take first? We saddled up to cross a cavern. I had to remind myself to breathe. I looked down into the darkened hole as I tightrope-walked the expanse. This was the ultimate extreme adventure. People ahead and behind swayed the bridge. We were connected to an overhead cable to prevent death but you could still get a mean wedgie if you tripped.
Next up: climb the fisherman’s net and walk across braided ropes. Same thing. Imminent wedgie peril. This exercise proved tougher however as we swayed 30 feet in the air. The previous bridge had a stabilizing component- all you had to do was push out with your arms. This time it was all about patience until you stopped swinging, to step forward. Once we (safely) reached the other side we grouped into threes, sat on a bench and pullied ourselves to the final station where our instructors would lower us on belay.
As it grew black and cold outside I was ready for that hot shower. The whole event was exhilarating and exhausting. I looked forward to washing it away and starting fresh in the morning. We chowed at a tiny Thai café called My Thai in the middle of nowhere Pahrump and headed back to the RV.
No Hot Shower For Me
The tiny water heater in the 5th wheel at Pahrump RV Resort held about five minutes of warm water. I went to bed shivering and unsatisfied but still crashed in 10 minutes. If you’ve never done a team building ropes course you’re missing out whether you get a hot shower in after.
Tomorrow, it’s more knots, single rope work and more obstacles. Yeah!