Have you ever hung by a rope 17 stories above the ground? I have! I was fortunate to have the opportunity to go “Over the Edge” as part of a fundraiser for Easterseals Michigan.
I originally went “Over The Edge” in 2009. At that time I rappelled down the side of Riverhouse Condominiums. In 2019, I would conquer the building right next store…Bridgewater Place (The Varnum Building).
It was a beautiful, sunny afternoon as I rode the elevator up to the 17th floor. I’d only be taking the elevator one way…I’d be making my way back down on the outside of the building! Once I made it t the 17th floor, I was harnessed up and given a helmet and gloves to wear. They also have a radio attached to your harness in case they need to talk to you. Once you have all the gear on, it’s out on the observation deck for some instructions.
There were a few differences from my first experience, but for the most part it was pretty much the same. I don’t have a fear of heights as long as I know I have plenty of safety gear on. Still, the adrenaline starts to pump as you climb up on the ledge, standing there with your back to the city of Grand Rapids, and your heals on the edge of the ledge. At this point there is nothing between you and the ground 17 stories below except air!
You can’t really see my feet in the picture at the top of this post, but when the photo was taken my feet were teetering on the edge and my butt was about even with my feet. The picture on the right was taken at just about the same time…so you can see how I was positioned. (That’s me on the left.) It was amazing to look down and see how small the people were below.
The trip down takes about 10 minutes. You control your speed so you can go as slow as you’d like. There’s even the opportunity to stop along the way and just check out the view. Plus, with the side of that building having a mirror like finish…you can actually see yourself and the view as you are going down. It’s like looking into a giant mirror you are rappelling down the side of.
Media day was on Friday with the main event being held on Saturday. There were many that went “Over The Edge” to help raise money for Easterseals Michigan, including two cows from Chick-fil-A, “Griff” from the Grand Rapids Griffins, and many other people that you may know.
More than $100,000 dollars was raised at the event. Easterseals Michigan provides services to over 12,000 individuals in the community living with mental, physical, and behavioral health difficulties. The funds raised at “Over the Edge” will go directly towards our programs and services. They are striving to change the way the world defines and views disabilities by making profound, positive differences in people’s lives every day. Proceeds from the “Over The Edge” event will support programs and services right here in West Michigan.
Here is the video from when I went “Over The Edge” at Riverhouse Condominiums in 2009…
Main photo credit: Mike Ruggles, RT Photography, rtpho.co