Carly Climbs the Alpine Tower

Starting up the 60 foot tower.

Carly doesn't let little things like 60 foot towers stop her from doing what she wants. The tower is just one hurdle among many that she has conquored.

Wearing a safety harness is required.

Like everyone else she wears a safety harness and helmet. The students at Warren Wilson College in North Carolina helped familiarize her with the equipment and carefully checked and adjusted it as necessary. Then, it's up and away!

Half-way up to the first platform

Carly started by using a climbing ascender. It's a little handle that you grab and pull down on. Then, while helpers hold the rope steady the ascender slips up the rope and you pull down another bit. She was using a 4 to 1 pulley system. That means that she only pulled a quarter of her weight each pull, but she had to pull four times the length of rope. So, while the tower is 60 feet tall, she pulled 240 feet of rope to get to the top.

Using hand-holds to climb

Then, she did something that really surprised me. She abandoned the ascender and started climbing using only her arms and the rope. There is no mechanical advantage when you only use your arms. You lift your entire weight.

Others are there to help if needed.

Of course, there were some students close by to help if needed. They are there for the able-bodied as well. Safety is always the first concern. Exploring and expanding your limits is second. Having fun is a certainty.

The tower contains many different challenges

There are all sorts of different climbing challenges suitable for all sorts of people. Rope ladders, big hand/foot-holds, little ones, swinging telelphone poles with hand/foot-holds. There's something for everyone.

Nearing the top of the tower

For the last part of the climb Carly used the ascender again. This is a good picture of how the ascender works.

On top with a big smile!

On the top with a big smile.

Coming down is easy.

Coming down is a whole lot easier! All you have to do is sit back and relax while your belayer (one of the students) lowers you and the pulley assembly to the ground.

That was fun!  Let's do it again!

It turns out that Carly's experience on the Tower gave her the confidence to tackle a Knoxville Climbing Wall which she had been eyeing for some time. More power to you, Carly. The sky's the limit!