Taking on My Zipline Fear – With Mixed Results


zipline safety instructions

We started our Tree-to-Tree Adventure by gearing up, learning the safety rules, and practicing them on a mini course near the ground. I had no fear of the zipline close to the ground so my confidence grew.

The prospect of doing a treetop adventure that included a zipline was definitely out of my comfort zone.

I expressed my fear at check-in. And I did so again to our guide who was taking us up the mountain to the starting point.

Though the idea of the activity made me nervous, I did choose it. I could have gone dog sledding or snowshoeing. I could have had another afternoon of skiing. There were many easier options at Mont Tremblant. But I chose the Tree-to-Tree Course of bridges, obstacles, and ziplines.

When I make such choices, I always allow myself the option of backing out at the last minute, but it never seems to happen and I’m always so happy to have taken on the challenge.

The biggest gain from pushing your limits is confidence. Even, as you will soon learn, when the adventure is not a total success, confidence grows.

Mine did.

scared to zipline

Geared up for the treetop adventure and my first attempt at ziplining.

Pushing Boundaries. Success Optional

I am not an adrenaline junkie, but on occasion opportunities arise, or I create them, to challenge myself physically. My age notwithstanding, I try to do things beyond my natural born ability. Such things would normally be left to my siblings. I’m the least sporty of the four of us. But I was raised in a family that says you try.

Try I have.

I have tried and failed. And the failing has sometimes been quite spectacular. The material for good stories. I have given you:

And now I have for you the story of a tree-to-tree triumph followed by a not-quite-so-successful zipline experience.

Let’s start from the beginning…

Bridges and obstacles in the trees.

Tree-to-Tree Triumph Followed by Zipline Failure

I arrived at the Activity Centre in Mont Tremblant at 1:15 pm, in time to meet Julian, my guide. It was a cold day so I didn’t expect many to be on the tour. I was wrong. There was a group of about 10 twenty-somethings – and me. This fact did not lesson my anxiety.

We started the 1/2 km walk to the tree top zone. The kids were all ahead of me. Then I heard someone walking and panting behind me. There was one more person on the tour. A 33-year-old from Florida properly bundled and ready, with some trepidation, for the adventure. She told Julian that she had little upper body strength. I’m not proud to tell you that this made me feel a little better.

Arriving at the Tree-to-Tree course we got our gear. Helmets and harnesses in place, we went to the mini training course where we were taught to always have at least one climbing clip, called a carabiner, attached to the safety cables running through the trees at all times. On the mini course we used the carabiners and climbed up a short ladder to a platform, crossed a small bridge to another platform, then attached the zipline trolley to the zipline. We  sat in our harnesses, did the zip, landed on the platform at the end and grabbed the cable so that we didn’t slide back.

Easy. Fun. I could do this!

zipline fear

A stunning day

Zipline Fear, Bold Attempt, Hysterical Laughter

Once everyone had finished the mini course, Julian indicated we could start and off ran the twenty-somethings ready to take it on. The woman from Florida and I trailed behind.

But we did well. We climbed the ladders, traversed the bridges, and dodged obstacles of the first section. We did it again on the second, slightly more difficult section. We went onto the third but given that we were slower than the young group, Julian suggested that at the end of the third section we should skip the fourth so that we could catch up.

No problem. We were already exceeding expectations.

The last part of the third section is the first zipline. I was ready. I knew I could do this. I verified with Julian below: “I just sit in the harness and trust it?”

“Yes,” he said. “Just make sure you catch the cable at the other end.”

The cable. Got it.

I sat, zipped, and grabbed that cable. What I didn’t do was take the ramp up to the platform on the other side. So while I wasn’t sliding back down the zipline, I was suspended in the air and then quickly flipped upside down so that I couldn’t see what was below me. I twisted and tried to pull myself up to no avail. I just didn’t have the strength. I was laughing. I wasn’t scared at all as I was clipped in three ways. But in the end, I had to ask Julian to come up and save me. But how that would happen I had no idea, given that I was a dead weight hanging in the air.

He got to me quickly but I was exhausted at that point. Just let go and relax for a bit, he coached. I did. My muscles stopped shaking. When I was ready, he flipped me over so that I could see the ramp below me. Knowing what I was supposed to do was half of the issue. Then, between the two of us, we got me upright, feet on the ramp and climbing up it. Going up the ramp would have been easy with the momentum of the zipline. Starting from a dead stop was a bit more of a challenge but, together, we succeeded.

I don’t think you’ll be surprised to learn that that was it for me. Both my friend from Florida and I called it a day. She went back to her 40-year-old husband who had decided he was past the age of doing such an activity. Really!?! I went to a yoga class in the village to stretch the tension out of my body.

In hindsight, there was a ramp on the mini training course. I had done it correctly the first time. But, as I say, this kind of activity does not come naturally to me. I was focused on grabbing that cable and forgot the simple part of landing the zipline, running up the ramp.

Just another story to tell.

This trip was sponsored by Mont Tremblant. Of course, Solo Traveler maintains full editorial control of the content published on this site.

Last updated: 29th January, 2018

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