I had thought about it for months and in my thinking about it, decided that the pinnacle of my trip was to achieve this one task – it would be proof to myself that I was there, that I can do anything.
Fast forward a few months, and I am standing in the one place I had been dreaming of, 3,559 feet above sea level, and the view was something else entirely. I was looking out over the most magnificent, beautiful city I’ve ever laid eyes upon – Cape Town, South Africa.
I’d been preparing for this moment for months, but once I was faced with the challenge, I felt I couldn’t bring myself to walk off Table Mountain backward! I eventually decided I would be disappointed in myself if I left the mountain top not having achieved what I set out to.
With nerves unlike any other I have felt before, I was strapped into a sexy fluro yellow harness, and was escorted from the safe flat surface of Table Mountain, down onto a ledge from which we would descend.
“Walk backward onto the ledge.” I literally couldn’t – my legs had locked up and my brain was all foggy. A staff member came along and attempted to position me on the edge of the rock for a couple of photos, which don’t portray even a smidgeon of the fear I was feeling.
Somehow I did it. I trusted myself and the guys from Abseil Africa enough to actually step off the top of a 3,559 foot mountain! Stepping off that ledge was crazy unnatural, but once I’d committed to the fall, that was it, there was no turning back.
With that leap of faith, I got to witness the new seventh wonder of the natural world from an entirely different viewpoint – dangling from a rope, falling down 112metres, the highest commercial abseil in the world.
My muscles were on fire and my lungs wouldn’t take in enough oxygen, but I was doing what I’d set out to – I was abseiling Table Mountain!
I walked, bounced and stumbled my way down 52 metres of cliff face before getting to what the staff members described only as a ‘surprise.’ Thankfully, I was fully aware of said surprise – a 50 metre sheer drop! I finally had a chance to spin around and look out over Cape Town and the Atlantic Ocean, and even in such a state of adrenaline, I couldn’t believe the beauty of my surroundings.
Then it was over. Or so I thought.
We were told there was an ‘easy 20 minute walk’ back to the summit, but an hour and a half later we were still walking (read: scrambling up the side of a rocky cliff-face.) The midday sun was burning, we had no hats or water and the adrenaline was long gone, having been replaced with exhaustion. We stopped a few times to catch our breath and admire the world from this very strange vantage point. When we finally reached the top we were greeted with a sign, Warning! Dangerous route ahead. Expert hikers only. I think we may have taken the wrong turn, whoops!
It may sound like a disaster but all these horrifying adjectives are simply my way of saying that regardless of the situation, regardless of whether you think you can achieve something or not, you can do it! As silly as it sounds, my adventures on Table Mountain were possibly the one single defining moment in my self-confidence and self-achievement – I proved to myself on that day, with no one around to guide me, that I could do anything I put my mind to, despite the fear!
I decided to celebrate the most physically and mentally demanding day of my life with a slice of chocolate cake and a stunning view from the summit, basking in the glory of my achievement certificate.
Visit Abseil Africa at http://abseilafrica.co.za/ or simply rock on up at the summit between 10am and 3pm, and for $75 USD you could have one of these certificates to take home with you, and a great story too.
Don’t be fooled by my anxiousness, abseiling Table Mountain will be one of the most incredible experiences of your life, and Abseil Africa will look after you!
And remember, sometimes it is worth it simply for that ridiculous photo and the bragging rights!