The Chimneys – Yellow Wall
Saturday, August 21, 2010
The fog and steady drizzle proved to be no deterrent for the 60 adventure racers taking part in either a 12-hour or 24-hour team race benefitting diabetes research. Along with biking and hiking challenges, the racers had one checkpoint that included a belayed rappel down a vertical rock face facilitated by Rock Dimensions Climbing Guides. “The Chimneys” of Linville Gorge are a band of exposed cliff line along the rim of the gorge, which provide an excellent site for beginner and group climbing. On this day, however, the “climbing” took place as the racers biked up Table Rock Road – 8 miles from Hwy. 181 through Gingercake Acres neighborhood and past the North Carolina Outward Bound School. Once they reached the Table Rock picnic/parking area, racers were faced with three different checkpoints involving hiking/trail running and also rappelling. Within a 6-7 hour timeframe, about 25 individuals made it to the Chimneys site, where Ryan Beasley (owner and guide at Rock Dimensions) helped them into harnesses and helmets before hiking to the top of the cliff for some quick and basic instruction in rappelling. Participants then used a belay/rappel device that relies on friction maintained by a constant “brake hand” to control their own descent down the cliff. A separate safety line managed by Rock Dimensions guide Evan Snipes kept the rappellers on belay as they descended, to arrest a fall if the race participant lost control while rappelling. For some of the race participants, it was their first experience rappelling and made quite an impression. One participant even noted that it was worth the grueling bike ride up Table Rock Road just to do the rappel!
For more information about adventure racing in North Carolina: www.ncars.info/
Action Learning Associates: www.action-learning.com
American Diabetes Association: www.diabetes.org/
Rock Dimensions website: www.rockdimensions.com