Whether it’s the 12 years of competitive gymnastics in my more malleable past, an affinity for adrenaline surges, or my recurring daydream of tap tap tap dancing on the wing of a 747 while it’s in flight at the root of my fixation – I. love. heights.
The first time Do512 sponsored an Over the Edge event, we had an in office contest to see who would be the staff participant. I was out for blood. I wanted to rappel down a giant building so badly. I lost to my co-worker, Amanda. Tears and sadness followed. Mild hatred? No. Maybe. No. I love her. I don’t. What? I think pizza came around at some point that day too. Wallow in cheesed up bread…you know?
Luckily for me, Over the Edge came back to the Hyatt Regency of Austin this past Saturday with a rappelling event to benefit the Special Olympics of Texas and I jumped on it. We also signed up a super eager (despite not being a great fan of heights) boyfriend and Do512 strategy and morale partner to take the dive off too. They are pretty cool gents.
We first got there and spent about ten minutes getting all suited up. The team of savvy dudes got to work hooking all kinds of metal things to all kinds of loops in all kinds of places. That’s about as technical as I can get. I told the two guys getting me in the harness that I felt like Lena Dunham getting ready for the Emmy’s. They didn’t get it. I trusted their carabiner latching skills 10x more because of it.
Then we were led up to the roof by the Sheriff who told us that this was going to be more fun than jumping out of a helicopter – trust him – he knows. As we waited our turn, we stairwell chatted with a friendly Round Rock police officer volunteer about doughnuts and coffee and how cool the view was going to be. Cool doesn’t even begin to describe it.
When we were finally allowed to walk out onto the roof, I think everyone in our group just sort of stopped. You could see everything. Absolutely everything. While I’ve been blessed with a couple rad balconies in my time in Austin, this blew every view I’ve ever had of this city out of the water. It was incredible.
An Over the Edge staff member named Derin then gave us the run through of our equipment, eloquently naming the random hooks and pulls “the gold thingy” “the blue thingy” which I, for one, seriously appreciated. The test rappel was pretty fun. “Hang your heels over the edge…further…no further…come on further.” Right around now is when your brain goes uh “whatareyoucrazy, I think not.” You then have to lean all the way back until the harness catches and once is does, you start walking down the wall in an L shape. The initial test rappel was about 17 feet. The main rappel you’re rigged to do afterwards is 17 stories. I stepped up to the “Do512 Sponsored Rope” sign and got ready to head down.
When I had to hang my heels off the edge of that side of the building, I was suddenly oddly grateful that we hadn’t had time to eat our breakfast tacos prior to our adventure. Yeah, I looked down. Once you actually went over the edge though, it was smooth sailing. You could stop and see for miles all around you. You could hang there and move as slowly or as quickly as you wanted and once you got used to the feel of the harness, (and the seriously amazing crew members who were watching you at all times) all fear went away and you were left on the wall to get down at your leisure. When I was about halfway down the wall, my more handsome half started his way down.
Once we all three managed to get on the grass safely, we looked up where we’d just come from and took a second to revel in how badass our Saturday morning had just been. Then we headed back in for gear removal where the crew test ran their new Nascar pit stop gear removal techniques on us. Check it out:
Keep your eyes peeled for the next time Over the Edge makes it to Austin. When else can you say you spent your Saturday hanging off the roof of one of Austin’s tallest buildings? That, and Over the Edge is always committed to supporting a good cause. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to train for sky diving this weekend. Ta!