This week I want to share with you one of the most fun things I’ve done so far this semester!  The Society of Women Engineers took its leaders to a challenging ropes course to improve our teamwork, collaboration, and individual strength.  So last Sunday we piled into cars and headed over to Anaheim’s Rock City, the nation’s largest ropes course with over 15 ‘elements’!

It was such a beautiful and sunny day – we all agreed we couldn’t believe it was almost November.  We started off with team bonding activities, with the main ground rule being that we all would only bring positive energy to the team.

Leading our blindfolded team member across the ‘lava’.

One of the best (and slightly challenging!) ground activities was trying to turn over a canvas while all 20 of us were standing on it.  Twenty minutes and much used engineering and collaboration skills later, we executed it!

After these team building exercises, it was time to test our individual strengths.  We were educated all about crab claws, belaying, and the proper way to don the safety equipment.  It was soon time to brave the ropes course!!

SWE leaders with our safety helmets and harnesses on!

This course had three levels of ‘elements;’ the first one being 15 feet, the next 30, and the last 60 feet, each of which could sustain up to 2,000 pounds – no worries there about it breaking!  Plus the whole time you were on the course, you were safely strapped to a harness and there was no way you could fall.  Still it was a little eerie if you stopped to think about the fact that the only thing between you and a 60 foot (~ 7 story drop) were a few ropes.  But like I said, it’s totally safe; the fear is all in your head.

The ropes course in its entirety – all 60 feet of it.

Heading up the net to the rock climbing element.

Actually, what ended up helping me was just pretending I was in a video game and believing that even if I fell, I would miraculously bounce back onto the course from the clouds, just like in Super Smash Bros (super nerdy reference right there).  I was more sure of myself the further off the ground I got, and by the time I got to the pretty terrifying ones, I was blasting through them.  I loved the challenge.

Levels 2 and 3 of the course.

Going across the catwalk with no hands on the crabclaws for support.

Shooting across the ladder.

3 of the elements on the first and second level.

Some of these elements used a lot of upper body strength.

At the end of the ropes course, at 60 feet above the air, you attach yourself to a zipline and zipline down.  The first half second after you jump from the ledge was CRAZY since you were essentially free falling until the harness pulled taught to the zipline.  The rest of the way down was so amazing!

I can honestly say this was such an exhilarating and empowering experience!  The last and only time I had done a ropes course was during our end-of-the-year 8th grade trip, and that in no way compared to this!

Plus, after we completed the course, my car stopped at an In-N-Out on the way back and feasted on some of California’s greatest cuisine.  That day was totally worth the subsequent late night I spent catching up on my work and writing my paper.