WILL YOU BE ABLE TO DO THE ABSEIL?
These events are always well managed, with
experienced mountaineering instructors who understand that many of the people will be abseiling for the first time, and many of them will be terrified. They are used to dealing with this in a calm and sensitive manner.
The abseil itself will employ a system that allows the instructor
control the speed of your descent, independent of your own ability to control your own speed.
Abseiling is tremendous fun, and afterwards you will have a glowing sense of pride and accomplishment as you point to the building and tell others that you have abseiled down it.
The hardest thing is the first
step over the edge.
Naturally, your body tells you not to leave firm ground, so it's normal to be anxious
at this point. Once you are on the rope you will discover that by
leaning back it will push your feet onto the vertical surface, and you
can "walk" down whilst the rope slides through the mechanism at a
Will I have to Jump off the building?
Although that phrase is commonly used, you won't be doing
that on a charity abseil! You'll be leaning outwards gently
until the rope takes your weight, then leaning out a little more until
you are stable enough to move your feet onto the vertical face,
then "walking" downwards as the rope moves through the mechanism
attached to your harness. Then, if you want to, you can push out and
slide down larger distances at a time.
Here's a great description of a charity abseil by a BBC reporter:
"I was told to lean backwards over the ledge that towers 200
feet over the city below.
"Having forgotten just about all of my extensive training,
I stepped up onto the ledge, turned around and looked down.
I could see matchbox-sized cars and buses and spectators
the size of ants.
"It's difficult to describe the feeling you get at this stage.
Breathing becomes heavy and every movement you make is definite.
"Once the trainer had prized my sweaty palms from his coat
lapels, I was on my way down!
"Once I had taken a few short bounces, my confidence began to
rise and there was no stopping me."
Fear of heights (acrophobia) is a perfectly normal and useful survival
mechanism. It only
becomes a problem if the fear is so extreme that it stops you from
doing things that are 'normal' in the modern world such as travelling
over bridges, going upstairs in multi-floor buildings, etc.