Monday, August 18, 2014

My First Solo Zip Line Rescue

So, if you are sick of zip line stories, feel free to skip this post. I just wanted to write it down because I personally want to remember this.

So, today I went up to work. We got ready to go with a nice group. Everything was going great. We reached line 2 and I was sending people down the line to Davey, who was braking them. I was having a nice conversation with the guy I was sending. He was telling me he used to be a Navy Seal and all sorts of fun stuff. Well, as he stepped off the line, he jumped a bit and broke one of the big rules we give customers. He popped his trolley up and off the line and basically flipped his trolley. I know it is hard to have a visual of what I just said, so I am going to show you a picture of a trolley.

This is the trolley. That bulky part on the top is what rolls along the top of the line. When you flip it, you make that part roll underneath and then you will skid down the line and stop. They call it a "broken arrow" on the lines. (Seriously, the do love me some zip lingo.) It isn't dangerous as we have a back up lanyard attached to you and the line, but we do have to go out and rescue you. It also isn't something we get mad at customers for, it just happens sometimes and we don't expect a customer to do things perfectly, so no big.

So, anyhow, I was up top waiting for Davey to decide what to do since he was senior guide on the tour. I knew the best option was for me to go out to him and do the rescue, but then I would need to ride down with him and that left everyone on the top just waiting. Fortunately, we had 2 other guides and a hooker coming up from line 1 behind us, so I hopped on the line to do the rescue.

There are a few ways to do a rescue on the line, but the fastest and easiest way is if the customer is capable of doing a brief pull up so you can take the weight off the line and you can just flip the trolley upright and then you take them down the rest of the line. He was a big guy and I felt really confident in his ability to either pull up or pop up off my knee, so I decided to take that route. (This is the way Sam and Dean both recommended when possible, so I felt really good about it.) When I reached him, my weight on the line caused us to slide down the line some more. I just let that happen for a bit because eventually you will settle back on the line. When we settled, I wrapped my legs around the customer so I could position myself better. I was going to flip my trolley too so I would stay put, but as I assessed the situation I saw that it would be easier for me to not flip, but move a bit more quickly and just hold us in place. Then, because he had huge arms, I talked him through doing a pull up without putting his hands in harm's way as the trolley can roll and really damage a hand. Then, with one hand I braked us so we would stay put. He pulled up, I flipped the trolley back and then I grabbed his lanyard. He took his hands off the line and I sent us down the line and braked us at the bottom.

I was so dang proud of myself. This guy was well over twice my size and I was able to remember my training and get him off the line quickly. I could tell he was impressed that this little girl was able to do it and I will admit, that is part of what I love about this job. I love doing things that are hard. He said he was going to tell everyone that a girl saved his life on a zip line, but I told him he has to add bald eagles and a ring of fire to the story. So, feel free to add those into my story.

Anyhow, that is all. I realize that all the other guides (Sam included) can do a rescue in their sleep, but for me, this is new and exciting and it pushes me past my comfort zone and into a new, awesome world.

Plus, I loved saving a Navy SEAL. Bucket List.


  1. You are my hero! You always amaze me, good job!

  2. Haha, you crack me up! Good job!