I was one step away from a 50m drop and my life was literally hanging by a thread (or a small rope in my case). My heart was racing so fast that it felt like I just finished a 100m sprint against Usain Bolt. From one minute to the other I went from being perfectly calm to being completely panicky. Why? Because I am extremely scared of heights, but was about to abseil down a 50m high building in La Paz, Bolivia…

La Paz seems to be the adventure sport enthusiast’s dream. Only a few days previously we went on a bike ride down the world’s most dangerous road and as if that wasn’t enough, in a moment of madness I also signed up for La Paz’s latest adrenalin rush experience – abseiling down a 50m high building with Urban Rush. Unfortunately Chris had to work so I didn’t have my usual moral support with me. I like a bit of adventure but I actually suffer quite badly from vertigo. Even standing on a ladder is a challenge for me, but abseiling looked like fun on paper and I really wanted to overcome my fear of heights so I wanted to give it a go. When I arrived at the Urban Rush office on the 17th floor I got my safety briefing and was able to practise abseiling on a mini-wall inside their office. This was extremely helpful as I have never done abseiling before. It all seemed to be fine up to that point.

urban rush tammy with staff and practising wall

urban rush tammy practising 2After a few practise runs the staff asked me if I was ready to do the proper abseil, at which stage I was still relatively calm. You can do the abseiling face-first or backwards and as I am not Spiderman, despite what some people in Huacachina think, I decided to go with the less scary option – backwards. The staff attached me to the rope and harness and hooked me up.

When they asked me to take a step backward onto the ledge of the open door, I was suddenly filled with sheer terror. For the first time I saw how high the drop was. I didn’t like the thought of going backwards up on a very narrow step at all because I couldn’t really see where I was stepping and I was terrified that I would miss the step and just tumble down the building. It took a lot of encouragement from the three members of staff to get me to take the first step and when I was finally in place my whole body started trembling with fear. All of the sudden 50m looked very high indeed! :-/

Urban rush building and window

The Urban Rush building doesn’t look that high from the ground, but when you look out of the door from the top floor it suddenly looks very high indeed.

urban rush staff

My three heroes

So as if that wasn’t enough for my scared little self, I now had to lean back and take my first step down the building’s exterior. At that stage I was really freaking out and I must confess the odd swearword may have slipped out of my mouth. I found it very hard to trust the rope to hold my whole body weight. I have to say that if it hadn’t been for the superb staff and their constant encouragement I don’t think I would have done it, but they really managed to calm me down and before I knew it, my body was dangling in the air supported only by a thin rope and a much welcomed safety rope.

urban rush tammy swearing

Can you guess what I was about to say on this picture? 🙂

Once I had taken my first step I felt such a great sense of relief. As soon as I had overcome my initial fear the actual act of abseiling was a lot of fun. I felt like a spy in a Hollywood action movie! Within a few minutes I reached the point from where I would have to do the free-fall to the ground. I let go of the rope and plummeted down a further 10m to the ground where my guide was waiting for me. I have never been so relieved to have firm ground under my feet again!

urban rush tammy going down

Finally enjoying the experience

urban rush tammy pushing off wall

Pushing myself off the building was the most fun part

urban rush tammy freefall

The free-fall

I have done some scary things in my life, from the Everest Base Camp trek, to mountain biking through a leech infested jungle, and even eating a tarantula, but I have never done anything as scary as this. I really had to push myself hard but I was so relieved once I had done it and really proud that I’d conquered one of my biggest fears.

So guys, what do you reckon? Would you abseil down this building or have you done something similar before?

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Disclaimer: Thanks to Urban Rush for hosting me. This activity was complimentary in return for a review on this blog. As always, all opinions and swearwords used throughout the experience are my own.

About Tammyonthemove

Tammy & Chris are a couple hailing from Germany and England, meaning between them they are efficient and polite, but unable to talk about football. Find out why they stopped pushing pens around the British civil service to travel the world on their blog.

32 Thoughts on “The day I hung off a 50m high building

  1. You are brave, Tamara. We suffer from vertigo too. Which is a bit of a challenge when hiking in Gran Canaria’s mountainous interior, but we try and not let it deter us too much.
    Gran Canaria Local recently posted…La GaritaMy Profile

  2. Way to go!

    You know, I would see myself doing this abseiling thing way more than cycling Death Road…maybe my idea of scary is a bit backwards…? 😉
    Emily recently posted…Can You Do the Chan Chan?My Profile

  3. Wow Tami! You really are brave, I couldn’t see myself doing that at all especially considering I’m petrified of heights. Hat off to you!
    Franca recently posted…Travelling Apart For The First TimeMy Profile

  4. Wow, I guess it was out of your comfort zone for sure, good for you, brave girl. 🙂
    Kadri recently posted…Photo Essay: Walking in a Spring Wonderland – Spring PhotosMy Profile

  5. Ahhh that looks so amazing! Haven’t done anything like it yet but it’s definitely something I would be interested in! Good for you!
    Hannah recently posted…The importance of taking risksMy Profile

  6. That looks like fun, i would have done that in a heart beat…love the orange all in one outfit!
    noel recently posted…Burano – a rainbow of colors – Travel Photo Mondays #35My Profile

    • Tammyonthemove on March 11, 2014 at 1:46 am said:

      I had the choice between that, a Batman and a Spiderman outfit actually, but I thought I look more like a pro with the orange overall. I had to distract from my fear somehow! 😉

  7. WOW! You’re brave!! Wonderful article and photos!

  8. Good on you for having the guts to push yourself. It is not for me. 🙂
    budget jan recently posted…A Turkish Seaside Holiday Town called FocaMy Profile

  9. yp – you are completely nuts!
    This is as bad as jumping out of a plane! lol
    Sam @ Travelling King recently posted…Handy Tips for a More Enjoyable FlightMy Profile

  10. What an awesome experience! I’d be totally terrified, but I’d make myself go for it if I had the opportunity.
    Jessica recently posted…A Local’s Guide to Hida-Takayama, JapanMy Profile

    • Tammyonthemove on March 11, 2014 at 12:43 pm said:

      That’s the thing Jess, once you get over your initial fear, it is awesome! It is just the first step that is hard.

  11. Congrats on conquering the 50m wall of fear! It looks like a wonderful view from the top but terrifying looking straight down!
    Dan @ A Cruising Couple recently posted…What Adventure Travel Means to UsMy Profile

    • Tammyonthemove on March 11, 2014 at 6:02 pm said:

      Thanks Dan! It was a wonderful view from the safety of the office, but I didn’t dare looking around while I did the abseil, just in case I made a mistake. 🙂

  12. You are very brave indeed, I’m not sure whether I could do it if was scared of heights. I would love to abseil from this building.
    Freya recently posted…Inca Trail to Machu Picchu – Day 4My Profile

    • Tammyonthemove on March 13, 2014 at 4:37 pm said:

      If you make it to La Paz you should definitely try it Freya. If you are not scared of heights then you could try going face forward. 🙂

  13. This looks like SO MUCH FUN! 😀
    I’d love to try!
    Zara @ Backpack ME recently posted…#FOODPORN: Around the World in 80 Dishes, part 1/2My Profile

  14. Just discovered your site – it’s awesome! Wish I could do the same soon. I just followed you on Twitter (@mightytravels) – hope you have a moment to check out MightyTravels – we post every day to save travelers money. Looking forward to connect!
    MightyTravels recently posted…Photo Review: Wat Saket, Bangkok, ThailandMy Profile

  15. Oh my god! I’m scared even looking at those pictures!!!!!

  16. Oh my. That look so scary. Also, fun!
    David Ryan recently posted…SnowVigateMy Profile

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