ODESSA, Texas (Nexstar) – Odessa College is offering a Community Basic Rappelling Class. It’s all happening in a hands-on class, taught by an advanced instructor.
We got a chance to preview the class with members of the media and a few Odessa College employees. It’s a basic learning course that teaches the in’s and out’s of descending the side of a structure, a unique skill often used by rescue crews and first responders.
We started off with an overview of the equipment: the harness, helmet, descenders, and fall arrestors. We went over safety procedures and had some ground level practice. Next, we’re talking device connections, verbal communications, and equipment safety checks. Last, we took off to the tower at Odessa College’s safety training center. The tower is a 40-foot beast that doesn’t look menacing, until you have to step off it.
“The first ten seconds are a little intimidating, because you’re purposefully leaning over an abyss, but once you’re actually there and you’re level, your mind and body start to trust the equipment a little bit more,” said Joshua Hardt, an OC Professor of Geology.
After watching a few successful attempts, I figured it was time to put everything I learned to the test. It’s a little bit nerve wracking, as you can imagine, in this moment of truth. I step my foot over and lean back. Of course, I made it down safely, and ended up rappelling down another two times.
Dean McCann is the HSE Instructor at Odessa College. He says he often works with private companies to teach rappelling safety. McCann says this class is good for anybody interested in rappelling, whether to have fun or to simply bond with others in this training exercise.
“It’s that sense of satisfaction they get, from a job well done. I know I helped contribute to that. It makes me feel good, and makes them feel good, and it’s good for everybody,” said McCann.
It’s something that might rope you in, just as summer starts. When we were able to put our fears aside, we all had a little fun – one descent after another.
“Any ‘not’ last words?” I asked one participant, who was ready to rappel down the tower.
“Conquer your fears, anything is possible, and don’t ever trust your brain,” she responds, laughing.
For more information, or to register, contact (432) 335-6580 or emailContEd@odessa.edu. It’s happening at the OC Safety Training Center and 40-foot state-certified Rappel Tower. The cost is $60.