What is a Ropes Course?

Flagstaff Ropes Course

What is a ropes course?

A Ropes Course is a series of obstacles that use ropes and suspended pieces of wood, and is generally used as a team-building exercise at camps and retreats. What I experienced was more of an “Adventure Park“, however it was personally challenging for me, as I have a (sometimes paralyzing) fear of heights. This is my year to face my fears, and after completing the Black Course at Flagstaff Extreme, I can say mission accomplished (that is, in terms of being harnessed to a cord between two trees 65 feet in the air).

My boyfriend and I took a long weekend trip to Flagstaff to visit a friend of his. We spent two days snowboarding, and the third day (Easter) he said he had a surprise for me that I would laugh at. I guessed ziplining…simply because we love this episode:

(If you really want to know….that’s exactly how ziplining is. Sorry to burst your bubble if it’s been your lifelong dream to go ziplining.)

Turns out it was an entire ropes course that included a few ziplines.

After a 30 minute safety demo, they sent us on our way. The best part is that the course was not that crowded, so we made our way through pretty quickly. We worked our way through the Green, Blue and Red courses pretty easily. We’d walk across some hanging logs, crawl through a suspended tube, and zipline across the park to another series of obstacles.

We slowly ascended without noticing how high we were getting….until we hit the Black Course.

This is what the Flagstaff Extreme website has to say about the Black Course:

Yes, you have made it through the entire course, No, wait, you are not done yet! Now it’s time for the ultimate in focus and fitness: the BLACK course. Before you set off, your senses take in the natural beauty and harmony of your surroundings. You climb up even further into the tree canopy discovering that your movements are even more fluid than before. As your journey ends at Flagstaff Extreme you leave with a smile, a sense of achievement and memories that live on.

If by “take in the natural beauty and harmony of your surroundings” you mean “nearly piss your pants from the vertigo you’re experiencing” and by “your movements are even more fluid than before” you mean “you’re shaking and exhausted like a drunken sloth“, then you NAILED IT.

At that point, I was so exhausted and what little upper body strength I had left was quickly drained. After the second obstacle on the Black Course, which was a series of logs and suspended rings you had to delicately place your feet in (at this point, graceful and “fluid” were far from my movements), as soon as I finished I collapsed on the platform and started crying. I’d never been so scared and exhausted in my life.

The last two obstacles were a little easier – a rope net and a zipline. I was very pleasantly surprised to find a bag of Hershey’s Kisses waiting for me at the end of the zipline (Happy Easter! You didn’t die!) and I popped a few to level out my usually normal blood sugar.

I DID IT! And you should too. If you’re afraid of heights, a ropes course is a great way to push yourself without being in real danger, and you’ll see younger kids and older adults doing it…plus, sucking it up and finishing is more savage than having to be rescued by one of the ropes course guides.

Now…here is the EPIC video my boyfriend put together so you can see how much of a badass I was (if the video doesn’t show up, just hit “refresh” on your browser):

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