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Rapelling opportunities in Ecuador are one reason that Ecuador was named by National Geographic Magazine as one of the top ten adventure destinations for 2007.  While Gary and Merri are in Europe, I am continuing part five of my series on trips to Intag.

When I was invited to the Intag to do a bit of scuba diving, rafting and ‘rapelling,’ The ‘rapelling’ had me intrigued.

Little did I know that this word rapelling evidently is a Spanish interpretation for English that means “tie yourself to a rope and throw yourself off the edge of a 70 foot waterfall”.  I was about to learn this.

We were awakened at 5.30 am to prepare ourselves for this day’s adventure.  Rapelling by my standards gets close to my threshold for danger, but is not quite at the limit.  The reality is a lot different to the perception. You are very secure on very strong, professionally checked lines and harness.  You don’t need to be strong.  You don’t need the footing of a mountain goat.  Anyone with a little balance and little arm strength can do this sport.

We hiked 30 minutes from the hostel up a steep winding path.  Sometimes we hiked. Other times we scrambled up.  We arrived at the base of one cascade that is the top of another.  A professional team of instructors led us and fastened the lines around huge immovable boulders.  Then they made sure the lines were hanging straight down the waterfall. The cold spray served to chill us and wake us up at the same time.

Here we are getting ready.

Then Efran, our super friendly, but very firm instructor had each of us immerse ourselves into an eye poppingly cold pool of water. One by one we jumped in and  repeated after him,  “this is one of the best moments of my life. I will never forget it”!  As a motivational tool it worked.  I could not wait to get out of the pool and hook my harness onto the ropes!

Rapelling works like this: against your best instincts you stand on top of a cliff with your back to the waterfall. You cannot fall backwards.  A secondary line that runs through your harness is jammed against the main line to hold you.

The only way to move backwards is to let the secondary out. This is not easy because the force of the water and your own weight creates tension.  You have to exert a little strength to let out line. You do this by raising the line. Drop your arm and the line and you immediately stop moving down.

The instructors repeat again and again, “lean backwards. Keep your feet well apart”.  I heeded the instructions as with the majority of the others. This is best. Otherwise you swing around on the rope and most likely end up head butting a boulder … not on my list of must do experiences.

Here is how not to do it …

This is better.

Wow! This is wild!!

It sure is wet in there! …

The entire trip was an adventure, the scuba diving, the rafting and this. I’m on to do it all again. How about you?  Won’t you join me?  If interested, just let me know.


Here are our upcoming Ecuador courses:

Sept. 26 – 30, Weds. – Sun. Condensed Super Thinking + Spanish with Free Oct 1 – Mon. Andes Extension & Real Estate Tour.

Nov. 9 – 11, Fri. – Sun. International Business & Investing Made EZ.

Nov. 12 – 14, Mon. – Weds. Andes Extension & Real Estate Tour.

Nov. 16 – 18, Fri. – Sun. Andean Shamanic Tour.

Attend all three November tours and save $398. See http://www.garyascott.com/catalog/save5/