Geo JediMeister and TEAK73 headed out this morning to do a Terrain Level 5 (T5) Geocache. The cache is called Operation: Zug um Zug which is Geocache number GC3J5GK. The creator and owner of the cache is Swordfish75.
This cache was quite challenging for both of us since we don’t have much experience with repelling yet and this was the first bridge rappel for both of us. We have gotten used to rappelling down cliffs where the anchor point is quite a bit back and you have plenty of room to get rigged up. When your anchor point is on a bridge railing you only have a few inches to play with when rigging up. We believe COMPLETELY in SAFETY first and before either of us crossed the railing we were secured via a safety line. This way if we slipped, we would not fall.
I went first this time since we were using my rope and it was pretty much a virgin rope. I have to say that I was VERY nervous as a I crossed over the rail. I had set up my rig before going over the rail but I think next time I will rig up on the other side while on a safety harness. Once I was over I did not like the way my prusik was tied. I only had it doubled and it was getting too close to my descender. I untied it and then made a triple prusik and was happy. This part made me nervous since I was already over the rail and the prusik is your break. It is the part of the rig that will save your life if you fall.
Once all tied in I started my descent and was quickly at the hole in the bridge that I needed to climb in. This was BRAND NEW to me and I had to learn as I went. You have to go down far enough to climb in but not so far down that you need to climb back up. But I was soon inside the one meter high hole and the geocache was sitting right there. I signed the logbook and now came the hard part……getting back out and rappelling the rest of the way down. I skooched back as far as I could, tighted up my rig and thought to myself…..Hmmmmm…..I hope I have this right….and jumped out backwards!! In a second my prusik grabbed and I was hanging on the rope! WOW!!! What a feeling. From here the rest of the way down was easy.
Next up was TEAK73. Instead of rigging up on the the land side like I did he went ahead and secured himself to the safety anchor, climbed over, and then rigged up. This was actually a better way of doing it and what I will try next time. It is a bit more scary since you are not connected to the rope and you have a lot of work to do while just being on the security harness. But that is what the security harness is for anyway so I don’t know why it makes me so nervous. I guess it is better to be nervous and safe rather than carefree and injured or dead.
TEAK73 quickly made his way down into the hole and I saw that he had and advantage since he is right handed. From this side of the bridge a right handed person is able to sit in the hole in such a way that they can just slide out. A left hand person like me has to skooch backwards and kinda jump out because of the size and shape of the hole we were in. If the hole would have been larger it would have been a lot easier to get out.
So we were successful and had a lot of fun. You have to trust your climbing partner very much when doing this kind of geocaching. You are actually putting yout health and life in their hands.
There are many bridge terrain five caches in this area and I hope to do more soon.
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Remember…..NEVER do rope climbing or rappelling without first receiving instruction from an experienced climber. You CAN get badly injured or DIE. NEVER climb or rappel without a partner.