View Full Version : Anyone else the same when it comes to heights?

24th Feb 2013, 13:07
Hello everyone,

The reason for this post is simple: I'm enrolled on a programme run by the Prince's Trust, that involves and overnight residential activity event (which is tomorrow) and then a week long one the following week.

It will involve things like climbing, caving, abseiling etc. All things I've never done before, and there's a slight issue.

I do not like heights.

I am absolutely fine in an aircraft (I am a nervous flyer but it's not the height that bothers me), but ask me to go up a ladder and I really, really hate it. Even a 3 rung ladder is quite difficult for me.

I don't understand how 30,000 feet, even 3,000 feet in an aircraft is fine, but the idea of a 40 foot abseil is actually making me really nervous. Can anyone shed any light on the matter? Also, if anyone's done any climbing, abseiling, high ropes courses, things like that, who can offer some reassurance and tell me what to expect, that'd be lovely.

Thanks in advance, and sorry if this is a stupid question :)

24th Feb 2013, 13:14
"tell me what to expect, that'd be lovely"

You can expect to fall and break a leg. And you probably will break a leg....

Or you can not expect anything, simply go along for the ride and enjoy it. Its a new experience. Make the most.

24th Feb 2013, 13:27

Good on you for enrolling onto the activity :ok:

Like you, I hate heights, always have, always will.
My fear is falling from a height.

Now, because of my military activities, I had no choice but to do
Abseiling, climbing, para etc. (Have never done caving so can't comment.)

I haven't done it for a while but this is what helped me - some
of which I learn't on the courses.

Apart from having to bite the bullet, the biggest things I found
- knowing and thinking that the instructors know what they
are doing and reinforcing that all the time.
- having confidence in the equipment and knowing it would
hold you and reinforcing that all the time.
- the equipment and the way you use it has ways of stopping you (falling)
and once you know this, it helps.
- taking it slowly and in stages - ie going over a small cliff
which in turn builds on the 2nd point above.

Re "looking down" I found focusing close to you, ie foot placement
as opposed to focusing on the whole distance to the bottom.
It helped me, hopefully it will help you.

FYI, I have never fallen or broken anything when doing
the above.

I am sure more experienced people will be along to give
some advice that they have passed on.

Anyway, good luck, think positive and enjoy it :ok:

24th Feb 2013, 13:45
As with many fears and phobias, it is completely irrational.

I have no fear of heights. I can stand on the edge of a precipice, escarpment, roof, up a ladder, without the slightest concern. I had a g/f who couldn't even go near the windows in tall buildings because she was so frightened of heights - something I never understood.

And yet ...... I am petrified of jumping or diving into water, even from the edge of a swimming pool. I can swim, quite well, underwater too, and the depth of the water is irrelevant. Maybe someone can explain this. The only thing that comes to mind is that when I was at school I had a sadistic evil pig of a PE teacher who used to push us kids into the swimming pool if we didn't dive.

24th Feb 2013, 13:53
I would suggest it is not a fear of height or of falling....but fear of impacting the ground.

Thing to remember....the Rope will hold you....and if you "brake" you will stop whenever you want.....also the Belay Man can stop your descent as well.

As it is something new....a bit of apprehension is common and understandable....and after a few goes at it....it will be old hat and great fun.

Relax....enjoy it.

24th Feb 2013, 13:53
My fear is falling from a height.

It's the landing that does it for me.

Rather be Gardening
24th Feb 2013, 13:56
It's weird, isn't it? I'll quite happily abseil down from a height, but 'freeze' when climbing. Similarly, I really enjoy parasailing, gliding and flying (especially in small aircraft) but get queasy when standing in a building or on a terrace looking over a sheer drop. As for those nutties who stand on the edge of precipices or on top of overhanging rocks to have their photos taken .........

Can't explain the anomalies. What I would suggest is explain to your instructor that you have a fear of heights (it's very common) and they will have techniques to help you along safely. Might be worth going along to one of those indoor climbing walls to get used to the equipment and to get the feel of trusting the ropes etc.

Good luck - hope you have a great time. :ok:

24th Feb 2013, 15:05
Fear of things like heights, poisonous animals etc is a healthy primal instinct for humans. It does the same job as pain receptors, i.e. helps to prevent something bad from happening to the body.

An aeroplane is kitted out with various things in mind, one of which is aesthetics. When you're sat in an aircraft such as a PA28 or a 737, generally it's comfortable, warm, and you feel secure because you are surrounded by relatively modern technology and people chatting away. It's normality.

Stood on the edge of a 1,000' cliff, or about to abseil down the side of a building, or about to jump 50' into water, enters more into the unknown (for persons who don't practice it regularly). First of all, these are things we're all warned about as a child, don't do this, don't do that, don't talk to strangers etc. But how many times did your parents say to you, "Don't ever get on a plane, they're dangerous, do you understand me?" Plus, there's the perception of the type of people who operate these operations. Generally as late teens/early 20s adrenaline junkies who you're trusting to put some very low tech kit together that will look after your life. You may not know much about how the ropes are rigged, etc. It's scary, sure. You'll probably find the reality very different, and highly professional.

And coming back to feelings of security... When you've got an aircraft strapped to your backside, you're wearing a safety harness, sat on a seat, surrounded by walls, a ceiling, a floor, and you can close your eyes knowing you're as safe as if you keep them open. I think fear of heights stems from not having the same security, for instance, knowing you are in a position where the conclusion of whether you live or die could be made by you in less than a second, should you choose to jump over that railing, or if it fails, or if you take two steps to the left, etc.

I'm sure that it is an awareness of the amount of input required by ourselves to end our own lives in any given situation, that causes most of these adrenaline fueled fears.

Just my two pence!

24th Feb 2013, 15:25
I shit bricks if I go to any height with with no wings and seat and floor! :bored:

24th Feb 2013, 15:28
I was also afraid of heights.
Took up skydiving - jump 8 cured it.
Bit drastic maybe, but I've had others tell me it worked for them too.

24th Feb 2013, 15:31
Heights ? Terrified. Especially I can't drive along mountain roads, over bridges (have done the Tancarville Suspension Bridge many times, but left me parked on the other side soaked in sweat and shaking in fear; couldn't contemplate Millau Viaduct; always avoid Ja Jonquera motorway viaducts).

And like everyone else, in an aircraft the "local horizon phenonema" takes over: I'm on "mental ground level" and once the door is closed and the red ribbon put across, I feel fine.

Yes, I do arrange things in my life so I don't have to drive over heights.

We all have our little quirks: I remember a sky diving instructor saying to me: I don't know how you can walk mountain paths: I'd be terrified, could never do it.

24th Feb 2013, 16:03
I'm not fond of heights, I'll get onto my belly to look over a cliff edge but won't stand on it. I read somewhere that a surprising number of people have the urge (which most control obviously) to throw themselves off of high things.

I stayed on the 23rd floor of a hotel last year with a balcony. I was fine looking out and down but as soon as I looked up to try and see the rest of the height of the building I immediately became so dizzy I fell on the floor. I could see if I had toppled over the railing I would have been another unexplained death. I can stand outside and look up no problem. Weird.

24th Feb 2013, 16:24
Heights are a strange thing. On one day I can do over three floors on a ladder with no qualms and then run up a roof, on other days three metres are an issue. It's all in my head, depends on the way I feel on the day.

When on a hairyplane or helichopter you feel safe because you are enclosed and you can hear and feel you are moving. You are also sitting in something that vaguely resembles a comfortable seat. You feel "safe" because you are not so "exposed". It's why I feel so relaxed in cruise but tend to start to brick it on take off and landing as you know "when you are up there" all is ok.

When abseiling or climbing, however, you do not have that "cocoon", you can see everything. Same as being on a ladder or looking out the window on the observation deck of what is now the Willis Tower, you see too much.

The tip I give for the abseil or climb is to explain everything to the one who is doing the rope. He (or she) will have been there before so will know how to install in you the absolute trust you need to hear. It will be safe, and you WILL enjoy it as the adrenaline you need to get over the fear will give you such a high you WILL think "Again.... NOW!!!" because you will have "gotten over the fear" leading to such an emotional rush you will feel, possibly, nothing like the release you feel then since your fear of heights has just been kicked in the ass and you can say "I DID THAT" despite the fear of heights.

The bottom line is that someone will have to give you that reassurance, and provided that you are receptive and they can "say the right things", you will LOVE it.

You are concerned about the heights, I would have the brown trouser syndrome over the potholing. Tight spaces with no obvious exit, and all that. Strange for someone who has crawled under floors in houses, but there you go. The same thing would apply, however, IF I did what you are going to do.

Oh, TV, you nailed the reason for why you have the "thing" about water. You are big enough and old enough to realise that so you can confront that fear. Has worked for my PYT, with my coaching, she can now take a shower instead of only a bath because her Dad decided she could swim and threw her in the water. Took over 20 years to get over that, you can get over it too.......

flying lid
24th Feb 2013, 16:32
This'll help ?

Fred Dibnah How to erect a chimney scaffold - YouTube


24th Feb 2013, 16:50
Lid - You dont catch me that way. There's no way I'm going to click that little arrow :eek:

One day I was sitting in the back of a Whirlwind at about 1000' over the Hong Kong New Territories inbound to Kai Tak. It was a nice day and as I was secured by the strop I was happily sitting in the open doorway with my legs dangling, admiring the view. So far, so nonchalent.

As we neared Kai Tak and started flying over Kowloon's skyscrapers seemingly rising to meet us instead of open countryside it became a whole new experience. I crept back inside the aircraft and retreated to the far corner until we landed.

Totally illogical, I'd have been just as dead falling onto a hillside instead of the top of a highrise, but it just didn't feel that way.

Mr Chips
24th Feb 2013, 16:55
Flying I used to teach kids to abseil, and we had a line at 5 feet down called teh "smile line2 because at that point you realise that it is great fun and nothing to fear. Getting to the line just takes a deep breath and a change of underwear

Good luck - and enjoy it!

24th Feb 2013, 17:12
First time I rappelled off a cliff, I was scared shitless. That said, the screaming in my face Drill Instructor (US Army) scared me more. As you can imagine, I got over it.

Now I'm no longer afraid of heights, but I am afraid of widths.

24th Feb 2013, 17:19
Which, 11Fan, brings me back to the "talking to the person on the rope" so you can actually have "absolute trust".

You don't tend to get that option in Mil, you tend to get 'told' what to do. He's civvy, he needs options you never had.

The person(s) setting it up should be able to instil enough confidence, and the "5ft" concept from Mr Chips is PERFECT for instilling that confidence IF the organisers actually have the time to do so. Is up to them to make sure it works, not the person sliding down a rope.

24th Feb 2013, 17:34
I had a sadistic evil pig of a PE teacher

Ah, Table! Has there ever been a PE teacher who did/does not meet your description?

24th Feb 2013, 17:38
Funny thing heights, as a youngster I would think nothing of climbing up cliffs and rock stacks. During my yacht racing days again I used to be able to hand over hand up the shrouds to retrieve halyards which the 'cockpit crew' used to lose with monotonous regularity. As I've got older I sometimes have problems going up ladders now, it's a strange thing.
I had problems taking this piccie through the glass observation floor an awful long way up in the CN tower a few years ago.


24th Feb 2013, 17:51
I do not like heights.
me neither. Feel sick even when looking down a third-floor balcony. When we were invited to 'test' a new rope trail, I went just because it would have been rude to refuse, and was scared even of the thought of anyone climbing there. Determined to watch others having fun. But it started so low... on a slope, so you won't even notice when the ground 'disappears'... and you're in the tree-tops. And you're busy with your hands and feet...
and it's truly enjoyable! :)

24th Feb 2013, 17:57
Wish I still had the pics from what is now the Willis Tower (was the Sears Tower in 2005), people on the streets weren't big enough to call "ants". Your ears "popping" in the lift as you went up or down was fun too.

Wonderful view over Chi-Town and Lake Michigan from there but you were "enclosed". You need the wind in your face, or what the glass deck gives you

Don't look down: Terrifying view from glass box balcony jutting out from skyscraper's 103rd floor | Mail Online (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1196967/Dont-look-Terrifying-view-glass-box-balcony-jutting-skyscrapers-103rd-floor.html)

I want to go back...........

Loose rivets
24th Feb 2013, 17:59
I had trouble stopping my g-daughter jumping up and down on that same piece of glass. (Must have missed a page. The CNN tower picture.)

I used to be afraid of stepladders etc., but after doing heavy DIY for years walking along the tileless ridge of a two-story building now doesn't faze me at all. In fact, I used to take serious liberties. Big industrial ladder needed to be a couple of feet to the right, and I'd hop it along. Very unwise. I never did that thing of sliding down the ladder with me insoles as the brakes. To vivid an imagination. Hitting the ground with feet turned in would have taken out both ankles.

I was once over the Med with masses of skinny towering cu reaching up towards us. For the first time - like the skyscrapers mentioned above - I suddenly became aware of height. Sphincter moment.

Everything's fine! As the man said as he fell past the first floor.


24th Feb 2013, 22:52
Just wanted to thank everyone for their responses. I hope it is as you say, and I enjoy it.

Just to clarify something, the instructors will have a way of controlling my descent back to terra firma during the abseil, won't they? Actually, on climbing walks etched, how do you get down??

If you hear on the news about a girl frozen with fear mid climb or abseil, that'll be me :ok:

24th Feb 2013, 23:06

"Just to clarify something, the instructors will have a way of controlling my descent back to terra firma during the abseil, won't they?"


First and foremost, YOU will be able to control your descent.
I'll let the instructors explain it but it is easy and doesn't take
a lot of strength on your part.

Secondly, re the instructors being able to, SaSless summed it up (the bold part)

"Thing to remember....the Rope will hold you....and if you "brake" you will stop whenever you want.....also the Belay Man can stop your descent as well."

This is a person at the bottom of the descent who holds onto the rope
and can stop you from descending as though it was you doing it.
So IF you happened to let go of the rope (and so couldn't put the brakes
on yourself), they can and will do it for you.

Hope that allays any fears.

Good luck and enjoy. you will feel on top of the world
when you have done it, both because it is good fun and
because you have overcome your fear :ok:

24th Feb 2013, 23:48
Beaufort, that glass floor is acksherly located on the CN tower (named after Canadian National Railways) At 1850 feet AGL, it makes a great VFR reference point, located as it is a half mile north of Toronto City Centre airport. A couple of years ago, they opened a new attraction (or terror, depending on your POV), called the SkyWalk. This consists of an open walkway on the roof of the restaurant area, altitude 1250 AGL :eek: You are on a tether, of course, but you couldn't pay me enough to go out there! BTW they breathalyze you as part of the prep. Part of the fun, apparently, is encouraging customers to lean out over the unfenced parapet at a 45 deg. angle!! No thanks, but I'll stick to spins, stalls and spirals. I,m in that camp too.....perfectly comfortable in any sort of hairyplane, but Mr. Vertigo on a garden wall!

Lord Spandex Masher
24th Feb 2013, 23:51
Just do a forward abseil, you can see what's coming then.

25th Feb 2013, 00:41
...the screaming in my face Drill Instructor (US Army) scared me more.

There's only one thing scarier than heights and that's a 6ft7 RAAF Woof with a very shitty
disposition. I couldn't hit the side of a barn at 200 yards with a Lee Enfield and this bloke
screamed his guts out till I did. And running around the bullring with the same weapon at
arm's length helped to motivate me as well.

After 37 years I can still hear the bugger.... :uhoh:

"Slasher you horrible little shit! If you waste another f**king round by shootin' the dirt or
birds instead of the target you'll feel my size 13 boot fair up your arse till it bleeds! Now
gimme 10 (laps) around the bullring. MOVE IT SHITHEAD!"

25th Feb 2013, 04:27
Flying goggles: I really understand you.

I have been a fireman for a short time, a paratrooper for a few years, a pilot for more than 10 years, and heights never bothered me.

However in normal situations I am not confortable with heights.

I remember the first time as a kid I was standing at the top of the eiffel tower in a cold and windy weather: I had a weird feeling, that could be something like vertigo, even if I enjoyed the vue, I had to imagine what it would feel like if I had to jump from there. And it didn't feel nice.
More recently I was visiting a friend in Hongkong who is leaving in a very high tower, and the fact to stand on his balcony was making me a bit unconfortable.
A very high tower, but I am flying at really higher flight levels without any trouble!

Having some kind of vertigo like I have at times didn't give me any troubles with being a fireman, paratrooper or pilot.
Hope it helps.

25th Feb 2013, 04:46
Where I used to work we had a JLG boom lift. When a max height your feet would be 74 feet up. It was really no problem up close to say a 747 fin, but in the middle of open tarmac, you could drive the thing about at 0.5 mph, at max height! It took some getting used to, but the more time you spent up in it the easier it got. I didn't mind it at all.

However, with all the earthquakes we've had here in NZ, I'm not terribly comfortable in hi-rise buildings. The older I get the less comfortable I feel.


Erwin Schroedinger
25th Feb 2013, 05:41
That Dibnah video (which makes my legs tingle) reminds me of his reassuring words:

[FRED DIBNAH] 'Won fut rong, an itud bi aaaf a dae owt wit th'undertaker!' [/FRED DIBNAH].

Hope this helps. :E

Edited just to bring up the truly wonderful 'edited' thingy below. :rolleyes:

25th Feb 2013, 06:29
I'm OK in any aircraft - including open cockpit. However the balconies of tall buildings or open lattice structures are not pleasant at all. I remember as a four year old being terrified of climbing the quite modest steps up to the balcony in our village church.

It took a while to dispel these anxieties when I needed to start climbing my amateur radio towers (20 and 15 metres high) but I was able to do so by slowly working my way higher and enjoying the view as I went.

The Eiffel Tower was fine, but I only went to the second level. Perhaps the absolute beauty of the view obliterated the terror I might have otherwise had to deal with.

I will never ever climb the Sydney Harbor bridge (http://www.bridgeclimb.com/english/) - no way! :eek:

25th Feb 2013, 08:03
Schmoo you're quite correct, don't know where the extra 'N' came from, :O now corrected. I think I was there in 2007 and they were contemplating this 'Skywalk' thingie then. No thanks, not for me.:=

25th Feb 2013, 09:49
Well, I've found out there's no facing my fear on this overnight trip. Next week however, is a different story :)

Solid Rust Twotter
25th Feb 2013, 10:10
No problem with heights (altitude) from an aircraft or even standing in the door or on the ramp on run in. Neither when tethered for abseiling or free roping. Used to teach my studes that it was the perspective that gave them the willies, just as it does me when I stand on a cliff or a tall building without being kitted up. I'm unable to approach the window, and walk along the balcony of a block of flats with one hand dragging on the wall behind me or I'd freeze in place. In fact it's so bad, I can't even watch a movie with someone buggering about on a cliff edge, building or some other high structure. The feeling I get is that my wedding tackle wants to retract into my abdomen and it even causes pain, possibly from my willy getting trampled by my nuts in the stampede to safety.:ooh:

tony draper
25th Feb 2013, 10:23
I once worked with a engineer who was terrified of heights and being that we had to deal with overhead cable faults his choice of profession was a tad unwise,humanity being what it is everybody in the office and on the road tried to dump overhead work on him, and he had a million excuses for avoiding same, even on a flat roof with wall around he would crawl across on hands and knees.
Poor buggah,I have no fear whatsoever of heights or lows either,spiders,now they are a different kettle of pigs.:uhoh:

25th Feb 2013, 10:34
I remember a piece on Blue Peter when they were sitting by the open back end of a Hercules with the rear door flap open but with safety harness clipped to the floor. At the conclusion of the piece it was discovered that one of the harness clips was not actually clipped in at all - talk about false security.On this subject, have you seen the videos of the mad bastards who ride out of the rear doors of Hercules held on by the harness?
Not for me, I'm one of those who cannot walk on the glass floor at the Blackpool tower!

25th Feb 2013, 12:05
I had a dream once (more like a nightmare at the time though). I felt an overwhelming and irrepresive urge to launch myself into the air from a reasonable height. And so I did. And indeed found myself flying, if somewhat inexpertly. At a few hundred metres height, I soared quite excitedly and confidently, admiring the landscape unfolding effortlessly below me. A few minutes later, it dawned on me that at some stage I would also have to land, perhaps I was beginning to feel a little tired by then? And that's precisely when I felt the first stirring of fear rising inside me. I knew I was coming in too fast, where are the fecking air brakes I cried to myself, there was the initial shock followed by lots of tumbling and that's when the dream ended...

These days, I comfort myself in trying to comprehend any irrational fears of heights I might have, by simply understanding that the dream, was simply a long-buried memory, leftover from when I was a condor or other suitably large and majestic bird of prey of our present day (or even a pterosaur) and experiencing my first flight...

Alloa Akbar
25th Feb 2013, 12:18
FG - I did something similar many years ago at Cheddar Gorge in Somerset, I, like you am no big fan of heights, but on the day, I found abseiling down a rockface, and actually abseiling down inside a cave, great fun.. Really enjoyed it and for some reason when I was roped up and leaning back over the edge of the abseil, I had no fear whatsoever.. really weird.

I'm sure you will love it, don't forget to post and let us know how you go :ok:

B Fraser
25th Feb 2013, 12:27
I can perch on the edge of a balloon basket at any height or sit in my paraglider harness suspended by only the thinnest of kevlar lines while doing aeros over an alpine valley. Not a problem.

If I'm up a ladder painting the ceiling and the ladder wobbles then the clacker valve starts twitching like a rabbit's nose.


Lon More
25th Feb 2013, 12:35
It's not the idea of being high up that gets to me but more the sudden stop at the bottom.

Random SLF
25th Feb 2013, 12:58
I believed for years that I was afraid of heights, back against the walls going up open stairwells etc., once at the top I was able to look out of the windows no problem - took my first ever flight in an ASK 21 glider at Sutton Bank and sweated so much on take-off the pilot opened the air vents, once we were off the tow line I was fine and actually loved it! I've now realised that I'm scared of EDGES not heights and ladders, unfenced cliff tops and open or glass structures still give me butterflies. As long as I have a rope or handrail to grimly hang on to I can make it up (or down) eventually. Having said that I have never been on a rollercoaster or similar ride, and never will - my grandkids think I'm weird and they're probably right.

25th Feb 2013, 13:19
Here's something for those with an urge to jump from high places....


25th Feb 2013, 14:06
Used to be fine 30 years ago. Ladders, scaffolding, rooftops, cliffs, glass-floored observation decks, all fine. Now I think twice before putting on thick socks.

25th Feb 2013, 22:49
I decided to do the CN Tower Edgewalk as a fund raiser for the Vanessa Riddle Appeal. It was my first trip back to my home town in 23 yrs and talked an old school friend to go with me.

I had no idea what I'd be like once out on the platform but it was ok, the strange thing was walking out on the glass floor afterwards, I hesitated and felt a bit dizzy.

I'd post a pic but the red jumpsuit was not flattering! :{

26th Feb 2013, 12:32
Well, I'm back from my night away, and although there were no real heights involved, there was some work on an assault course that contained a couple of rope bridge type things.

Now, before I continue, I should point out, my username is a reflection on myself. I have shocking eyesight, not allowed to drive due to it it's that bad. This has a somewhat adverse impact on my balance and co-ordination. So when I was informed, at 10pm last night, that we were being blindfolded and had to form a chain to walk through the woods, you can imagine I wasn't exactly thrilled.

Anyway, we go round the course, and come to the first rope contraption - a single rope, with 2 ropes above it to use as handrails (I'm explaining this really badly, sorry!) You walked it like a tightrope, holding onto the ropes either side of you.

When you can't see, you feel higher up than you actually are, which I found very weird.

The second rope thing, was one you traversed sideways, grabbing onto ropes x distance apart, again, it felt a lot higher than it turned out to be, and was slightly unnerving.

The idea of this is you're either in a line, or as an individual, always being guided by someone who can see.

Trust is the name of the game, and I now feel like I can trust this group - which will be useful next week when they have to encourage me up a climbing wall :D

Was also told a story by one girl - she was doing a course at college to prepare for joining the Army (don't know the proper course name, sorry) and like me, does not like heights. She was on an activity day which involved doing a zip wire and she was really not sure she could do it. She got given a push by an oh so kind Army instructor.

Hopefully our instructors next week don't employ similar tactics :)

26th Feb 2013, 12:41

If you really want to get over any fear of high places, perhaps you can take up that lofty sport of rappelling?!!


Lots of fun.

26th Feb 2013, 12:47
Hopefully our instructors next week don't employ similar tactics

Don't worry, attitudes have changed in these enlightened modern times


26th Feb 2013, 13:11
A further example of the wierdness of acrophobia is that I, who won't drive over bridges, along mountain roads, walk cliff edge paths and so on, can happily walk out on a glass floor in an observation tower. Or go up in a cable car where half the floor was removed to permit a heavy load to be slung using a rope hooked to the suspension bracket under the ceiling. No worries ! But I could not go out on the observation walkway around the Empire State Building..... No logic to it.

Incidently: our beloved ginger cat Buster would happily walk along the edge of the terrace (60' drop down to 45 mountainside slope) but if you picked him up there he'd panic, fight, scratch and struggle. Pick him up a few feet away and he wouldn't react. To me this was a clear case of animal phobia: he felt out of control in someone's arms near a sheer drop that he could manage in his own mind when on his own.

tony draper
26th Feb 2013, 13:19
Great stuff.:ok:

26th Feb 2013, 13:23
Great stuff indeed, Tony D. However, whenever I try something like that I get hollered at by SWMBO!!!!

Great stuff part II:


tony draper
26th Feb 2013, 13:31
I had a pal who did time in the Paras,he told he found jumping from the tethered Balloon was more frightening than going out the back of a aircraft a lot further up,the ground was just featureless porridge below you he said but from the balloon you could see people and vehicles on the ground and it gave you scale,you realized how high up you were.

26th Feb 2013, 13:37
I believe it Tony. I had more problems (scared shitless) training on the Fort Benning jump tower, at the beginning, than at any other time I made a real jump. Just like your para pal said: it's a matter of scale!


26th Feb 2013, 13:56
When you can't see, you feel higher up than you actually are, which I found very weird.
We played a parlour game (with me as the much younger sibling as victim) where I was blindfolded and then lifted from the ground whilst standing on a teatray. After various swaying movements which included something solid being held on top of my my head (the ceiling?) I was told to jump (it was suggested that the 'aircraft' was about to crash IIRC). I thought that I was several feet up but when the blindfold was removed I was just a matter of inches AGL.

26th Feb 2013, 14:16
just a matter of inches

Brings to mind the shock to the system when descending stairs in the dark and there's one more step than you think. One less step can be just as traumatic !

26th Feb 2013, 16:43
had a pal who did time in the Paras,he told he found jumping from the tethered Balloon was more frightening than going out the back of a aircraftThat is the crucial difference. In order to be aware of how high you are you need an optical link to the ground.
So as a pilot I had no problem with (for example) turning upside down in an open cockpit. However, I cannot for the life of me stand on the edge of a cliff.
In a free balloon there is no real sensation of height; in a tethered balloon the cable vividly links you to terra firma.

26th Feb 2013, 19:18
I've got worse over the years. In the 1960s, climbing a 100 foot radio tower wasn't a problem - it was like a mini CH radar tower woth a platform and shed on top. These days, no way.

The other year in Kiwi, on the Taieri George railway, being allowed to walk over one or two bridges was a bit hair raising for me. Yet going over Pontscyllyte aqueduct with 2 inches of iron between the gap in boat railings and a river 100+ feet below wasn't a problem.

I guess it's case of 'Getting old is a bug*er, but the alternative is worse'.

26th Feb 2013, 19:28
Le chemin du Roi : le chemin le plus dangereux du monde (El Camino del Rey) - YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=UM_LwP_W5u8)

This is a path built for workers around a mountainside in Spain. It is now off limits as several people have fallen to their deaths, but people still attempt it.

B Fraser
26th Feb 2013, 21:24
That looks a bit like the Via Ferrata in the French Alps. It was too gusty to go running off the mountain so we climbed that instead. After the point of no return, there was a gorge crossing on two wires. I effed my way across i.e. shouted "fakkity fack fack fack" at every step as there was 500 foot of nothing under my boots. we then stopped for lunch on a vertical cliff face with just a harness and a single bolt between me and the next life. One guy dropped his sunglasses which disappeared before hitting the rocks somewhere below.

never again


27th Feb 2013, 13:00
B Fraser wrote:

never again

Why not? Sounds like a lot of fun. Plus, where else can you say "fakkity fack fack fack" with each step you take?!! :}

27th Feb 2013, 13:08
Although the below photo does not do the height of the bridge justice it gives one an idea of what some tourists will do to catch a better view of King Ludwig's famous "Schloss Neuschwanstein" castle in Bavaria. The bridge (Marienbruecke), which crosses a gorge, provides a very nice and panoramic view of the castle. Just don't look down!



Schloss: (from the bridge)


27th Feb 2013, 13:22
Bloody hell, RGB, that is one serious bit of fairytale castle. Great piccy; is it one of yours?

27th Feb 2013, 13:31

The picture of Schloss Neuschwanstein is not mine, per se. But having visited it so many times whilst living in the Vaterland (Muenchen) I have very similar photos. Actually, I visited the Schloss so many times I could probably draw up blueprints of the place blindfolded!!! Came with the turf anytime anyone visited me: "Can we go and see the castle? Huh? Can we? Can we?"

BTW Magnus, and in case you don't already know this, Schloss Neuschwanstein was built at the behest of Koenig Ludwig II of Bavaria, starting in 1891, for one of his favorite girlfriends.
Contrary to popular belief/myth King Ludwig II never married and Schloss Neuschwanstein was not built for a mistress. Just for a "favorite lady."

27th Feb 2013, 14:07
He was the mad one, wasn't he? I used to stay at a hotel named after him in Garching when I was at meetings with the European Southern Observatory people.

27th Feb 2013, 14:26
Is that an early control tower on the right?

eastern wiseguy
27th Feb 2013, 14:55
The scariest video you have ever watched in the name of science - YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&v=WeJc6f1q0_k&NR=1)

This makes me feel positively ill......:ooh:

27th Feb 2013, 15:01
I agree. I have yet to watch the whole video.

27th Feb 2013, 15:04
vulcanised you silly person, that's not an early control tower. That tower was for, and still is, creating contrail/chemtrails. The Bavarians are well aware of that.

Magnus: If you were in Garching then you weren't all that far from the Schloss. And, yes, Koenig Ludwig II of Bayern was a bit, shall we say, insane. (He is not to be confused with Koenig Ludwig I of Bayern who was not insane, was married to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen and brought us the very first Oktoberfest, thank you very much your highness.)


27th Feb 2013, 15:05
"and brought us the very first Oktoberfest, thank you very much your highness."

He should be made a Saint :O :ok:

27th Feb 2013, 15:07

I agree. Or Pope, since the Catholic church seems to be in need of one nowadays. Oh. Wait. Koenig Ludwig I has been dead for well over 100 years. On the other hand......:}

27th Feb 2013, 15:19

No, not Pope even if he was alive.
I have a very, very dim view of RC's
- and churches / religions in general.

Saint it must be :ok:

tony draper
27th Feb 2013, 15:23
My respect goes to the bloke who stuck that weather vane on top of that tower.

27th Feb 2013, 15:26

Many good climbers in Bavaria.

27th Feb 2013, 15:29

I did more climbing and rappelling in Bayern than I could shake a stick at. Including several times of lunacy doing the "Australian rappel."

On belay!!!!!

27th Feb 2013, 15:32

What is the "Australian Rappel" ?????????

Never heard of it.

Re this scared of heights thing, someone mentioned
forward rapelling on a previous page. I had no "real"
problem doing that off a 200 foot cliff and running
down the face to the ground. Weird.

27th Feb 2013, 15:34
You don't know what the "Australian rappel" is? You did it off a 200' cliff so you do know what it is. See, normal people rappel backwards. Leave it to the Ozzies to come up with something which takes drinking 33 gallons of Fosters to do!!!


Face first.

27th Feb 2013, 15:36

Ironic that I posted my little snippet about not having a problem
with face first.

Re Bavaria - I hope you also spent some time partaking in
blonde buxom beer wenches a la Oktoberfest :O

27th Feb 2013, 15:39

I spent a total of 10 Oktoberfests in Deutschland!

And always had a blond-haired buxom Maedchen with me.


27th Feb 2013, 22:54
A bloke I once knew was very proud of the fact that he was once a construction worker and used to ride the steel beams as they were craned up the top of the building under construction. No fear of heights for him.

However he refused point blank to go five feet down a ladder to a service pit to drop the engine oil out of a vehicle parked at ground level over the pit. He admitted that he simply couldn't handle being in a confined space and would freak out if he ever found himself in that situation. The terror in his eyes at the mere suggestion was enough. I went down and did it myself.

He probably wouldn't enjoy caving.

tony draper
28th Feb 2013, 20:51
Oh yer,:uhoh:
Extreme News, Videos, Reviews and Gossip - Gizmodo (http://gizmodo.com/extreme/)

1st Mar 2013, 02:42
The scariest video you have ever watched in the name of science - YouTube

Jesus you'd wanna have full faith in the blokes who built that tower, especially the top bit! :bored:

1st Mar 2013, 05:41
Super castle, rgbrock!
(I hate to ask that, with the romantic mood and all, but how's it heated?)

P.S that's for nuts, too:
El camino del rey 2010 - YouTube
old rusty rods, Jeezzz.

1st Mar 2013, 12:57
How's it heated, probes? It's not. When you visit Schloss Neuschwanstein in the winter one either freezes their balls off (men) or their boobs off (women).

The Germans, in their infinite sense of efficiency, have thrown a few space heaters around. But unfortunately space heaters in that monstrosity of a castle are about as effective as a lit match in the Arctic Circle.

1st Mar 2013, 13:58
a summer cottage, then? :p

1st Mar 2013, 14:01
I'm sure it was a fine summer cottage for all the women who Koenig Ludwig II had stashed there!

As for the winter? Well, although Ludwig II was never married he seemed to have fathered something like 99,327 kids.

Gee, I wonder why?!!!!

1st Mar 2013, 14:06
Fred Dibnah was wearing traditional safety gear: a flat cap and a tie. No hi-vis in sight. And no blooming cones to trip over around the bottom of the chimney either. What a guy!

tony draper
1st Mar 2013, 14:07
Didn't poor Ludvig get bumped off? one seems to vaguely recall something alone those lines,or at least was found dead in mysterious circumstances:uhoh:

1st Mar 2013, 14:14
Tony D:

Ludwig II "drowned" in Lake Starnberg. (Starnbergersee) under rather mysterious circumstances. He was with his personal physician - also found dead- when he went for a walk around the Lake. He had also ordered his aides not to accompany him on his excursion with said friend.

His death was originally ruled a suicide by drowning but an autopsy showed no signs of water in his lungs.

It is thought that he was murdered by his enemies. (Of which he had many.) Probably shot.

Below is a picture of his Residenz in Muenchen. I used to pass this by every day on my way to work. The photo does not give justice to the shear size of the place.


The inside of one of the halls:


Schloss Linderhof:


tony draper
1st Mar 2013, 14:35
So we not the only ones who bump off our Kings.:)

1st Mar 2013, 14:42
Nope, Tony D., Britain certainly does not have a sole license on bumping off Kings. (Ask the French as well!)

tony draper
1st Mar 2013, 14:55
Ah well they always went a bit over the top,no discrete red hot poker up the arse in a quiet room for them, drag em along in a horse and cart and do the deed in public.

1st Mar 2013, 15:00
Ah well, FSL, flamboyance is after all a froggy word.

1st Mar 2013, 15:04
Alloa Akbar
- I did something similar many years ago at Cheddar Gorge in Somerset.

When John ('Magpie') Williamson was running The Gliding Club of Victoria in Benalla he'd often regale the bar with tales of derring-do based on his thousands of hours amassed flying round the old country in gliders/sailplanes. One time he was near the Cheddar Gorge. On an impulse, and because the day was brilliant with thermals all about, he stuffed the nose down and flashed through the Gorge very fast, very low. (Presumably, if he'd stuffed up he could have dropped easily into some convenient field.
Some hours later when he got back home (Lasham?) he found a cop car containing cop waiting for him. Some drongo had got his number and put him in. Someone else had reported a UFO in the Gorge. A par in a local paper reported as much the next day. At least that was the gist of his story.

Another time he outlanded . . . . into a little cricket ground in Runnymede while a county game was in progress. Two fieldsmen helped push the bird back against the fence, then resumed play. Shortly after they broke for lunch, inviting their visitor to join them for drinks and cucumber sangers.

During his time in OZ he certainly forged many a lasting friendship.

But whether he ever suffered acrophobia, I cannot say.

1st Mar 2013, 15:18
flying lid,

Seriously, is that the best you could find ?

Try this


1st Mar 2013, 19:16
Nice, but so is this one!

We are not crazy... WE ARE AMAZING! - YouTube

1st Mar 2013, 19:20
As is:


1st Mar 2013, 19:25
As with many fears and phobias, it is completely irrational.

I'd agree, but is a fear of heights irrational ?

People die from falling from heights.

Get ya'self some on line CBT or take some beta blockers.:)

1st Mar 2013, 19:28
gingernut asked:

I'd agree, but is a fear of heights irrational ?

It is not irrational. And its physical origins lie within the middle ear.

tony draper
1st Mar 2013, 19:43
Once working above a municipal swimming pool happily scuttling back and forth along a walkway made of single scaffolding planks in the girders of the roof space never giving it a moment thought.
Came to a place where the suspended ceiling ten foot below the walkway had been removed,below that about forty foot drop down to the surface of the water had there been any water in the pool but there weren't,so another ten feet or so to the hard tiled bottom of the pool
Purely psychological,the plank was just as wide as before the polysyrene tile suspended ceiling below looked just as solid but one admits slowing down and paying more attention to where me feet were after that.

1st Mar 2013, 19:49

So why is it that some have a problem with heights and others
can scale a cliff freehand without a problem ?????

1st Mar 2013, 19:59

1st Mar 2013, 21:18
flying lid,

Seriously, is that the best you could find ?

Try this

see there's no way i could do that job.... i'd get all the way up there and then it would be 'oh bo11ocks, i've left me side cutters in the van' :*

8th Mar 2013, 15:24
Well, I thought I'd drag this thread up to let you know how I got on.

I can't believe how well I did. We did:

Tree climbing (whilst harnessed, obviously) - couldn't get to the top as I'm only 5ft 2 and the branches got too wide apart for me to reach. But, I got about 30 feet up and then climbed down to a point before abseiling the rest. "Just sit back into the harness" said the instructor, and actually doing that wasn't too difficult. I felt totally safe, and as she'd guided me up to the point I got to, the trust was there.

Jacob's Ladder - did not like this one bit. Far too wobbly, and could only get to the second rung. Also had a go at belaying with the instructor's help.

Crate Stacking - the other 2 activities were done on Wednesday, this was done yesterday. We did do some at our base on Wednesday, but I didn't go up then, too rattled from Jacob's Ladder still. But yesterday, I decided to give it a try. It was scary when the crates started wobbling, and they fell without warning once as we'd not built the towers right. That caused me to grab the rope I was harnessed to for dear life til I was lowered down. But, I got back up, we got all 20 crates stacked in 2 towers of 10, then my mates got to push them over with me stood on them. This time I was able to let go of the rope, it was great fun!

Climbing Wall - again, done yesterday. I had a point to prove to myself after not being able to get to the top of the tree the day before. We'd had the instructor who was belaying for archery earlier in the day, so the trust was there. He said just follow the hand and foot holds like a ladder, so I did. I didn't look down except at the nearest foot hold, and then I looked up and realized I was nearly at the top, so I pressed on and made it, much to the delight of my friends. Then abseiled back down, even had a go at doing little jumps, but smacked into the wall one time so have some nice bruises now.

So as you can see, I guess it was mind over matter. Want to know what did have me panicking?

Indoor Caving. I never thought I had a problem with small spaces but when you're crawling on your stomach, in the dark, I guess you can be proven wrong.

I had to take a break in each of the tunnels we did to get my breathing back under control, I seriously thought I was on the verge of hyperventilating or having some sort of panic attack. Not nice, but glad I gave it a go and rose to the challenge.