Get Higher, Go Climb

Henry Nguyen


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High Ropes
Photo by Henry Nguyen
High RopesPhoto by Henry Nguyen

Adventure? Challenges? Death-defying heights? Anyone interested in these should take a journey through the high ropes course. It’s like Fear Factor with trapeze elements according to Coordinator of Experiential Programs Erin Claudio. It is an obstacle course securely hanging in midair, with the participants maneuvering through the course wearing safety climbing gear.

There was a recent open climb on Jan. 24, 2013. The course was located in the auxiliary gym at the Physical Education Complex building. NEIU sophomore Jean Davis came to this event looking to tone her body, relieve stress, and get a healthy dosage of adrenaline. This was not her first time participating, so Davis knew what to expect, but she still expressed eagerness to participate.

Construction of the high ropes course occured five years ago after enough funds were accumulated. It took four weeks to build, piece-by-piece like a Lego set. The high ropes course at NEIU is the only one of its kind at any college facility in the Chicago area. Therefore, it is an exclusive opportunity here at NEIU. The course is utilized for recreational programs and for physical and adventure education curricula. It promotes team-building and broadens people’s consciousness and sensations, giving them a thrilling experience far apart from ordinary everyday life experiences.

Claudio was in charge of the high ropes event and had five assistants at all times to oversee the safety of participants. A manual of safety regulations guides their duties, and a hands-on seminar takes place every semester as refreshers or training for the assistants.

The event usually attracts a good number of people, anywhere from 10-15 attendees. The recent climb had a low attendance, which proved advantageous for the few attendees because it allowed for more space and time on the course. Any NEIU student who is curious or interested should definitely take advantage of this opportunity when it is offered. After the climb, NEIU senior Chris Gomez said, “I finally overcame my fear of heights and I love seeking thrills.”

Opportunities for open climb are offered once a month throughout the semester. The event typically runs about two to three hours. There are supplemental activities, such as the rock climbing wall and outdoor adventure program also available to students with these sorts of interests. The climbing wall is open twice a week, Tuesday and Wednesday from 3-5 p.m. For those interested in the outdoor adventure program/club, email Erin Claudio, at [email protected].