High Ropes

Climbing Up to the High Wire

Using the trust and camaraderie they have built up in the initiatives of the first day, students test themselves and their teammates on the high ropes. Wires strung between trees, 30-50' in the air, or a 30' log balanced between two trees, provide the personal physical challenge that is often hardest for most students. Safety is paramount and the students are in safety harnesses, belayed by pairs of teammates and staff below. Trusting one's self and one's peers is a key element of the high ropes activities. As one student remarked: "Getting up on the high ropes was a lot of fun and it was great to have enough trust in your teammates to know you have nothing to lose."

Engineering Issues Addressed


"I came knowing I had a problem trusting others, working in a group, and definitely being very negative. But, I gained and changed in as many ways as possible."

"I got my strength from the team on the ground! Without their faith in me, I wouldn't have done it [the high ropes]."

"The high point on the course was the belaying and the trust that was built between the belayer and the climber."

Coming Down From the High Wire

"Falling backwards off a rock or thirty-foot-high log used to cause panic, but now it is easy."

"I learned to accept challenges instead of running away from them as I had done many times in the past."

"I will try new things more often rather than regretting not doing it later."

"I learned to continue to believe in myself and not be so afraid of taking a risk/failing."

"I will still be as much as a risk-taker but I won't think I can do anything. I understand that like everyone else, I have limits."

"I consider the Outward Bound® experience was just the first step in a long process of including more and more things into my comfort zone. However, I think it made it easier for me to approach both the faculty and the students in an intimate discussion."

"I learned that sometimes you need the help of others and that, in front of a challenging and difficult task, teamwork may be the only solution."


"I will take more challenges because life is too short and there is so much out there waiting to be discovered."

"Thinking of someone who loves me and always wanted me to succeed gave me the strength."


"I can handle a lot more than I give myself credit for."

"My high point was the high ropes because you realize how precious life is and how much more you appreciate it after conquering your fear."

"I learned that I can be a leader, that I can make a difference."

"I can do anything if I set aside my anxieties and fears."

71% of the female participants felt that their self-esteem increased as a result of the 1998 high ropes course (an increase from 58% in 1996).

87% of the male participants felt that their self-esteem increased as a result of the 1998 high ropes course (an increase from 57% in 1996).


"Belaying people on the high ropes was a high point. It made me feel accomplished to support someone and hold their lives in my hand."

Initiatives Raft Building High Ropes
Gender Discussion Hiking and Orienteering Participants Photos