On The Ropes At Front Sight and The Disappearance of Jenn


Longest weekend ever. I thought I would have more time to write- an entry a night maybe- but once we got moving there was no getting off this ride. We had just enough time for dinner at My Thai on the first full night in Pahrump before passing out. 6 a.m. came way too early. We hit the 30-minute drive back to Front Sight trying to summon the energy for another 12-hour day. With the ‘refresher’ out of the way, we moved onto setting up our own anchors and tying prussic knots and hitches.

We then practiced getting ourselves “unstuck” while hanging over a cinderblock wall using the knots and gear we had just learned about. 

After lunch, we manned the belay stations. But today we got to lower ourselves instead of us getting lowered by the instructors.  As the sun dropped behind that wall the excitement continued. Day 2 with VFI, now that we could self-belay, would be even more exciting.

Shannon kept us moving and safe despite the leg shaking and breathholding as I crossed wires and planks. It’s a shame that the team/trust building portion put on by VFI isn’t part of the daily Front Sight itinerary. It was so much fun and we definitely had down time during the day, waiting for teammates to finish their belays or rigging. We could have easily rotated through some of the obstacles. Plus, it wasn’t until the evening adventures that our classmates bonded; coaching and cheering each other on and figuring out together how best to maneuver through the sketchy sections.

All this new camaraderie was a good thing too considering Jenn up and bailed two days early for mysterious reasons I didn’t buy nor could really explain. Her excuse had something to do with going home to Boise for Thanksgiving on her parents’ dime rather than her own if she left on Sunday instead of Tuesday but it couldn’t possibly be about saving a couple hundred bucks when people pay thousands to attend that handgun class. Was a Tinder hookup calling? Four days of shooting was too exhausting? She didn’t want to be a third wheel when we got to Vegas? (We were meeting Ryan and Sage at the Luxor for the last two nights in Nevada.)

Anyway, my new FS buddy Drew carpooled with me in the morning; keeping me from feeling too angry at the abrupt and bewildering departure. The lure of the day’s Aussie and inverted belays didn’t hurt either.

All I can say is, “Woot!” Day three was also our last night in the obstacle course and the Ropes Tower loomed. We would be setting up six ropes, belaying each other and climbing to the top any which way. The night temps dropped noticeably. I couldn’t wait to start scrambling so I was the first to jump in. Up, up, up.

I recommend not doing this night if you have yet to conquer your fear of heights. There was no handholding. If I wasn’t freezing my ass off and desperate for a hot shower and meal, I would have tried Trent the Fireman’s route.

Drew and I ran for the car and drove the hour back to Vegas with the heater cranked, gossiping all the way. It was like having Jenn right then after all.


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