Vertical Practice at Elizabeth Furnace Sept. 29, 2012 by Jasmin Ullah

Vertical Practice at Elizabeth Furnace
Sept. 29, 2012
by Jasmin Ullah

After heading out early and getting to the cliff face, we started introduced ourselves to the Boy Scout troop we were volunteering for that day and started rigging. With the help of our awesome advisors, Nikki Fox and Chris Coates, all of us are improving our skills with gear and rope. The weather was just gorgeous – sunny, breezy, and warm as butter. For about three hours, we all assisted Boy Scouts of various ages to rappel different faces: a 35 footer, a 60-foot free hang, and a 60 against a rock face. The best way to learn is through teaching, right?

Throughout the day, we all rappelled and ascended various ropes. Katie and Casey, both new cavers, got to rappel for the first time on the 60-foot free hang! Both of them showed spirit and did great jobs. After eating lunch with the Scouts, we stayed behind to rappel more and hang out (literally and figuratively). The day was not without adventures, though. John, a seasoned caver and JMU alum, accidentally went over a rock lip upside-down! Since he was hanging next to me, I got a good laugh at the expression on his face before he righted himself. And on her very last rappel, Katie was given the nickname Rapunzel – but you’ll have to come to a meeting to hear that story.

Before the end of the day, I was caught for avoiding doing any ascending (my bad…) and was made to fix that problem. In order to make it more bearable, I hollered pop music lyrics to the heavens, a sound I’m sure my grotto enjoyed, and which I’m pretty sure someone got on video. Soon after, we de-rigged and headed home, patting our newbies on the back and congratulating ourselves on our volunteer hours. All in all, it was a fun, productive day, and we had a great time.