The first time I visited the site - Rasnoave Gorge, Rasnov, Romania - I was both amazed and challenged by the 150 m high limestone cliffs. I knew it was supposed to be scary to either climb or simply be at such heights but I also new I wanted to taste that fear. It was at the beginning of my boy scouting era, back then, and I was learning about climbing and the related outdoor activities which involved ropes, carabiners, harnesses and testosterone (I lacked testosterone in many cases).
When I first got the idea of a bungee swing, I decided to check out the cables by sliding on them and see how the void looks like. Needles to say I was pretty scared and wasn't so sure if I wanted the swing anymore...
This year (2009) we gathered for the "abuse of the bungee jumping cables" - the cables were fixed above the gorge by some extreme sports club which charges tourists who want to experiment fear and courage through bungee jumping. We were basically doing something forbidden - that's why we choose to be there in the middle of the week, in the afternoon when there were no tourists and, of course, no one from the administration of the bungee rigging.
I know that some of you watching may say we should have used pulleys instead of carabiners for sliding on the cables and maybe we should have used another type of rope system - and you may be right. The thing is we used what we had and the rope system was thought to be simple and secure (two ropes for the swing).
Because we we didn't have pulleys, it took us on average an hour per person to:
- leave the edge of the cliffs
- slide along the cables
- pass the carabiners over the connecting rods between the two cables - these rods keep the cables parallel
- get to the point of the swing ropes - I was the first so it took me a little more time as I had to do the rigging
- tie in the swing ropes
- slide more onto the cables till the swing ropes become horizontal and stretched
- disconnect the carabiners from the cables
- hang on the cables...
- drop for the swing - yooohooooo!
- try not to vomit because of the dangling
- climb back on the rope using a rope clamp, a four step foot loop and a Grigri
- get to the cables
- slide back onto the cables till I reach the edge of the cliff and inherently the ground, which I want to kiss and caress :-)
We took it as a mental training for big wall or alpine climbing where you have to be relaxed and confident even when you can't find the next hold, being at hundred of meters above the ground. There was lots of fear but I believe that's normal... And, as you might guess, it was fun!
Video made in HD by Razvan Precup - professional photographer and cameraman. Looking forward for the rest - Pti's and Georgel's jumps and some pictures.
Go for the crazy outdoorsy stuff and be safe!
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