Pushing Past Vertigo

I am always privileged to meet up and hang out with some amazing guys and gals who live the dream every single day. I’ll be the first to admit that I may have the best job in the world, I get to visit incredible places, push my body & mind to new limits, and hang out with people who have dedicated large proportions of there life to pushing the boundaries of their sports.

This week, I spent 4 days on the south island of New zealand with Mike, and his team from canyoning.co.nz and it was the first time for a long time where I stopped mid mountain, and questioned what on earth I was doing up there.

The hardest part of my job, is explaining that I have a very unnatural fear of heights,  this may seem strange to most if not all the people I meet, For years I have skydived around the world, base jumped off some of the lowest and highest objects in the world, Climbed some of the highest peaks in Europe, yet I still have to push myself to get to the edge. Now once I’m off the edge I am in a different place entirely, my happy place. The challenge is on, the danger level has risen, yet with the knowledge and skills that I process & the confidence in my own ability and strength i know I will be just fine.

This week brought up a few new questions!

Now if you have ever stood underneath a big waterfall then you might remember how powerful these beautiful things are. As you go from the outer-edge of the fall, you’ll start to fell a slight drumming sensation, similar to a powerful shower storm, and as you move in the noise escalates, the rain drops change to hail stones,  and the centre  feels like an entire cloud has unleashed its fury, whilst the noise deafens all other sounds.

Now put your self at the top of a mountain, with 700m of vertical descent, add ropes & abseiling gear, 12 different waterfalls, and you may have an indication of what we went through.

The first couple were manageable, although my rusty abseiling skills were put to the test, I thought I was coping rather well in the slippery terrain, My descent were not fast but were controlled, I had a huge smile at the end of each one, and as of yet I had not required help or assistance from one of the awesome team that came along on the route.

This all ended on route 4. The verticality of the descent was obscene,  the waterfall was strong enough to move a house, and the noise… I think thats where it nearly went wrong.

The instruction was very clear

  1. Don’t stop
  2. Don’t Look up
  3. Keep a good grip on the rope
  4. and for gods sake… don’t stop and look up

20m into the descent I managed to achieve 1, 2 and 4. and was greeted by this house moving torrent, no footholds, and a lung and eyeball full or pure NZ water, Vertigo suddenly  gripped me like a vice, whispering in my ear to let go of the rope to get the hell out of there, but thankfully common sense and my ego kicked in, and I sat there for 20 seconds telling myself that the only thing worse then death in a situation like this was having to be rescued by one of the guides, It takes a lot to scare the hell out of me, but the thought of Mike coming down the rope, smiling at me in that , “This is going to be retold at the bar later” look, gave me the strength to kick away from the wall, unlocked the vice like grip on the rope, lower my head and get from under the waterfall.

Once on the valley floor I realised how much fun I was actually having, it gave me impetus to push myself down the next 600m of mountain better and faster then ever before, It made me realise, that with a little push , and a bit of motivation that I could achieve anything, and it reminded me that this is what TBX stands for.

TBX gives people the ability to push on, to achieve more, to better themselves & the quality of the life they lead. Whether you are stuck up a mountain, or stuck in a rut, sometimes, you just need to push off and let go.

Sam C


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *