Tag Archives: zipline

And then I jumped…

12 Aug

1 – 2 — 3 — Zip! And with that I walked off the plank. What came next was shear exhilaration as I soared over forty feet off the ground spanning the 500 foot valley of Democrat Hollow in about 15 seconds. It was quick, but it certainly qualified as the most fun I have had on the job in a long time. Had I not had important public relations duties to attend to, I probably would have stayed there all day or at least taken the plunge one more time.

The zipline is the final high element of LMU’s High Adventure Ropes Course, which has been a fixture in Democrat Hollow since 2009. The High Adventure Ropes Course combines fun and adventure with team building and leadership development. Designed and built for the University by Challenge Tours, the course consists of six low ropes elements and three high ropes elements.  

LMU’s High Adventure Ropes Course Coordinator Turner Bowling agreed to take a group the University Advancement staff out to the course to experience a few of the elements. The best part, we all got to wear some really cool harnesses that are extremely flattering to our figures (I hope you can feel the sarcasm in that statement). Seriously, the best part was having fun with my co-workers and trying something new. To fully capture, and share, this experience I even rigged my own helmet cam by duct tapping a Flip Cam to the helmet. The result is a pretty shaky video, but you can get a sense of what the zipline experience is from the video.

The zipline is pretty self explanatory. Turner took our group two at a time to the plank, which has been built about forty feet up on one side of the valley. A wire is suspended across the valley attached to poles on each side. For lack of a technical explanation, the “zipliner” zips across the wire, suspended by a rope connected to your harness on one end and a pulley on the other. There is not a lot of team building to this exercise, but some technique is required to successfully “land.” Since Turner was on his own on this outing, he asked for one of our group to volunteer to “catch” for him.


LMU High Adventure Coordinator Turner Bowling demonstrating an easy landing.

I wanted to capture some video and photos of everyone, so I volunteered to catch. A successful landing involved landing on your feet and running up the hill building on the momentum off the zipline. It sounded easy enough in theory. Turner demonstrated how easy it should be.

LMU Director of Alumni Services demonstrates a not-so-easy landing.

Once my first team member came crashing into the earth, about 20 feet lower on the hill than I was set to catch him, I realized that it might be trickier than it looked. After three other failed catchings I was relieved of my catching duties and headed to the plank armed with my observations on the landings. My teammate ahead of me, who had also had the benefit of observing other landings, did manage to land on his feet.

When it was my turn, Turner reminded me that I would start to twist after take-off. He said it was important that I throw my weight the way the rope is turning, so that I am square with the ground on the landing. Amazingly, I executed a near perfect landing. After watching person after person slide into the other side of the valley, I was just happy not to be covered in mud.

My group decided, because of time constraints, to skip the ultra scary Pamper Pole. Another high element of the course, the Pamper Pole involves climbing to the top of a pole (picture a telephone pole), standing straight up and jumping off to hit a ball that is suspended about five feet off the pole. It’s the ultimate trust fall, as you have to trust your team, which is managing the belay, to ease your decent.

 I’m not sure if I’m crazy or just still high from the adrenaline from the zipline, but I definitely want to try the Pamper Pole on my next visit to the High Adventure Ropes Course. That’s right, I said next. I’m totally hooked. I wonder why it took me two years to get out there in the first place.



A graceful take off.



My smooth landing. Notice the helmet is over my eyes.


Come celebrate “Our Creative Legacy” with LMU

9 Aug

WOW… there are roughly 1,488 hours (about 62 days) until it’s time to celebrate “Our Creative Legacy” during LMU’s annual Homecoming & Alumni Week. It probably seems silly to be looking forward to an event that is still months away, especially since our undergraduate students haven’t even returned to campus yet. But, preparations for a most exciting week have been underway almost since the ending of last year’s event.

As a University Advancement team member, I’m ready for everything to get started. Alumni Services Director Donnie Lipscomb has made some great changes to the schedule and there is a lot of exciting stuff to look forward to. It’s tough to pick out just one enhancement to start with, so I will start at the top with the theme. “Our Creative Legacy” brings us the opportunity to celebrate the many artists, performers and gifted writers that have walked our hallowed halls. And it isn’t limited to English, music and art majors. Anyone who has dabbled in the arts is welcome to submit works for display. There is even a category for children’s art. I for one can’t wait to see “Our Creative Legacy.”

The theme will also be worked into events throughout the weekend, including Saturday’s Reunion Luncheon and Alumni Banquet. Look for fun and arty activities for all at the Reunion Luncheon and the winning entries will be on display during the Alumni Banquet. Check out the upcoming edition of LMU’s Alumnus Magazine for more information on the theme and exhibit/art contest.

Also look for more LMU student involvement at Homecoming this year. A scheduling gaff a year ago set the big event on the same weekend as Fall Break, limiting the amount of student activity on campus. This year that has been corrected and we’ve even added some events just for the students. The week will kick-off with our Railsplitter and Lady Railsplitter soccer teams playing matches on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively. Tuesday’s men’s soccer game will be followed by a student bonfire in Democrat Hollow and the women’s game will be followed by a huge foam party. If you don’t know what a foam party is, google it or search for it on YouTube, you’ll get the picture quickly. Thursday of Homecoming week will bring the Intramural Flag Football Championship and Friday is capped by Midnight Madness marking the start of the 2011-2012 basketball season. The Homecoming King and Queen will be crowned at Midnight Madness!!

A highlight for the alumni could come on Friday when we introduce a new event. The LMU Open House will include campus tours, activities on the quad and a student organization fair. Recreation hot spots across campus will also be open during this time. Curious about LMU’s High Adventure Ropes Course? Want to take a swing at the new driving range? Interested in jumping into memories at the LMU Pool? The LMU Ropes Course, Driving Range and Pool will all be open on Friday afternoon for alumni, friends and family to experience what each has to offer the LMU student experience.

On top of all of that, there are still reunion gatherings, a 5K run, sorority and fraternity events, special dedications, a parade, hall of fame inductions and so much more. Mark October 13-15 on your calendar, check out the complete schedule (http://alumni.lmunet.edu/s/1119/index.aspx?sid=1119&gid=1&pgid=335)  and start making your plans to come home today! I can’t wait to see you there.