Messenger - Vol. 1, No. 1, Page 12
Fall 1991
At the end of your rope? Try this leap of faith.

     Depending on your point of view, it's either something you'd love
to try--like a grown up version of the cargo netting at Sesame
Place--or something you'd rather sit back and watch Tarzan do.
      But no matter how you view a ropes initiatives course, Roger
Spacht, associate director of recreation and intramural programs,
guarantees that only good can come from a run through one. Anyone can
benefit from the personal challenges and the team work involved in
getting through a course of obstacles made from rope, aircraft cable,
wood and an occasional tire,  he says.
     "A ropes course is designed to allow individuals to test and
challenge themselves in such a way that they may be taking some risks
they are not accustomed to taking," Spacht says.
     "If a person can overcome certain obstacles on a ropes course,
that feeling of accomplishment should transcend into their everyday
     "It's also a good team-building device as the course is designed
for people to go through together, usually in groups of 12-15,
assisting one another.  You have to work through the course together
to succeed," he says
     "Let's say, for example, you come to a l2-foot-high wall on a
ropes course.  You have to decide how to get everybody over the wall.
You have to decide who should go first, who can go last, how you're
going to do it and how to do it safely."
     At the course planned for the University, in a wooded area off
Creek Road behind Pencader Residence Hall complex, some of the
"obstacles" Spacht is hoping to see installed by the end of the summer
include a fidgit ladder, a centipede, a multi-vine traverse, the
guaranteed-to-make-your-palms-sweat Tarzan swing and more.  He hopes
to have a total of 17 obstacles built into the course.
     The fidgit ladder is a multi-line rope and wooden rung element
strung fairly low to the ground, between two trees.  The participant
must crawl over the ladder without letting the entire apparatus spin
upside down.
     The meuse is a series of stumps and some 4x4's, described as a
mental and physical challenge.  The group going through the course is
given the assignment to cross a great lava field by placing the 4x4's
on certain stumps and walking across.  The group must work together to
decide how to reach the stumps and which ones to use.  The centipede
is a series of 8'x4"x4" pressure-treated beams vertically attached to
each other with staples on either side for climbing.  It can be used
to climb to the higher elements of the course.
     The multi-vine traverse challenges a person to walk from one tree
to the next on a cable strung high in the air while holding on to
"vines" that hang overhead.
     And last, but not least, the Tarzan swing, an element billed as
"perceptually as scary as they come," challenges a person to grab a
rope and "swing" off of a high platform experiencing a free fall
effect while securely clipped into a one-inch, multi-line rope.
     Spacht stresses that safety harnesses and other equipment are
always used to ensure the safety of those attempting the course.  And,
it's not something anyone can try without University staff members on
hand to explain the challenges and lead them through.
     Spacht says he hopes that people from many areas of the
University will use the course as well as groups from outside the